3) A VOTE FOR YOUTH – Oct 30, 2022.
Sunday, and one week to go. A vote on our Smaragd and electric pod engine is a vote for the young generations. It is a vote for up-cycling – meaning saving resources and energy while cutting emissions. And a vote for our six missions: Fossil fuel-free, toxic-free, zero-waste, solar food, gender equality, and ocean artivism.
These are the alternatives we have tested to live under, learned from, been inspired by, and shared along the voyages. During five years, 7.660 nautical miles, 7 countries, and stops at more than 100 marinas. 45 young crew members from around the world. And one skipper from the generation that has been splurging global resources and burning fossil fuel for 50-100 years like there was no tomorrow.
Nobody knows how many millions of sailboats there are around the globe with fossil fuel engines installed. But we know that the lifecycle of a sailboat is in general 2-3 times longer than its engines. These millions of old-school engines need to be taken out of circulation sooner or later. Replaced by electric engines or be able to run on some 100% renewable fuel we haven’t invented or made available yet.
The good news is that there are innovative people in the business of electrification – not only for cars, trucks, and buses but also for sailboats and motorboats. And according to scientists the sun provides enough energy per hour that our global community of today needs per year. Oh, if we only could harvest it smart enough. One day we will.
So there is absolutely hope out there. A lot has moved forward since we started this mission five years ago.
All of our young crew members were not sailors before they stepped onboard our 34 ft up-cycled Smaragd. Many were young friends, and a few had never met us. Some traveled from the other side of the planet and hopped onboard. Some had planned it for weeks, some jumped on board a few hours after they heard about us the first time, and a few came on board via social media. Absolutely wonderful.
They came from five out of six continents. We had time to chat about anything, nothing and everything. Hopes, fears, future, habits, sustainability, relations, love, hate, racism, inequalities, bees, turtles, plastic bags, food, toxic-free cleaning, how to go to the bathroom without a bathroom, and how to bake fantastic banana-bread without fossil fuel, electricity, or even a fire.
We trawled for microplastics, measured seawater visibility, we visited veggie, lamb, and dairy farms, refused to buy food wrapped in plastic, we longboarded to zero waste stores far away from marinas. Our all-female racing crew competed in four major sail races around the coastline. We picked up plastics along the way and we cared for our phenomenal compost garden on the transom. And we created art that caught the attention everywhere we went.
We had fun but yeez, it was also quite complicated at times. Flunked logistics, no wind, covid, leaking boat, closed bridges, and thunderstorms. But it was always an exciting challenge and a sincere experiment. Not a holiday. Not a show-off judgmental we-are-better-than-you-voyage. Young people are smart enough to understand that it is about their life on this planet, and it can’t hurt to try and learn some new stuff.
Curiosity is truly the fountain of youth. It is so refreshing. We older ones should learn more from them. We should learn more from each other. They should learn more from us. We are all in the same boat. The climate crisis is banging on the door. Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something. You have heard and seen these quotes before and in your social media feeds. You are smart enough to know what is going on.
Our six missions hold on to lifestyle alternatives as good for life on land as on water. We hope to inspire you and others to go for them. Try them. The world doesn’t need a few climate fanatics like us. We need billions of people trying and failing, but never giving up on their transitions into smarter and more sustainable lifestyles.
Now back to the voting issue. Please vote for us this year. The up-cycling of millions of already existing sailboats from fossil fuel into electricity deserves to win for these reasons’ sake. Our eight nominee colleagues, and new, modern yacht projects are phenomenal as well, but they have the resources to compete and win this award for many years to come. We will vote for them then. It is a promise and we are excited to see what they will come up with.
A win for our up-cycling concept will make a great statement. It will hopefully inspire the boating industry to step up even more to fix the global fleet of already floating sailboats. We need better recycling possibilities for batteries, more innovative pod engines with better hydro-generation, and a better charge infrastructure with guaranteed green electricity in marinas. We need systems for the recycling of old engines. We hope to inspire them and all the boat owners to make the shift pretty much now. To grab the opportunity and be part of the solution instead of the problem.
Of course you don’t have to be a sailor to try up-cycling or a fossil fuel-free, toxic-free, zero-waste, solar food or gender-equal lifestyle. Or to create awareness for these kinds of issues through art. It is for everybody. It has been exhilaratingly exciting, and lots of fun and we have saved lots of money, resources, and time while doing it.
Please vote for the generations to come. Thank you!