Sailing for Science

Acting on studies showing that ocean ecosystems are seriously threatened, a pair of non-profit organizations are collaborating on a one-year circumnavigation of the Americas aimed at building awareness of the ocean environment.

Boston-based Sailors for the Sea, co-founded by David Rockefeller Jr, is dedicated to providing education and resources to boaters to preserve coastal environments. The Pacific Science Center in Seattle is a museum committed to raising understanding of the natural world.

With support from the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory, the “Around the Americas Sailing Expedition and Awareness Campaign” project aims to publicize the plight of the world’s oceans.

The project director is experienced blue-water sailor Mark Schrader, who will captain a 64-foot cutter on the 13-month voyage that is scheduled to get under way in May 2009 . The crew will head north from Seattle through the notorious Northwest Passage – now, thanks to climate change, largely free of ice – and circumnavigate north and South America in a clockwise direction. The crew of four will be joined by scientists and observers.

“This voyage will bring audiences in many parts of the world in direct contact with the health of our oceans through scientific scientific observation and evaluation,” said Schrader.

There will be educational feeds to schools and homes, and media events at each of the 30 ports of call.

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