If you were in Gotland, a popular island vacation destination off the coast of Sweden, on the morning of July 3, your holiday might have been interrupted by a startling sight: a tiny island of trash approaching shore with people aboard. It was, in fact, a sailboat made from plastic waste, ghost nets and driftwood collected from the Baltic Sea. The boat, aptly named Trash-Tiki, had made a 90-mile open water crossing from Trosa on the mainland of Sweden to the island. The crew of three, Sören Kjellqvist, Glenn Mattsing and Joakim Odelberg, set out with the aim of raising awareness about the harmful impact of trash in our oceans.
“Last summer me and Sören rowed across the Barents Sea and landed on Björnön, one of the world’s most remote islands. The first thing that met us was the coastline full of plastic and that’s when the idea was born for this project,” Mattsing says. Though Sweden is considered one of the most sustainable nations in the world, the crew of Trash-Tiki thinks it’s essential that they direct their efforts to the oceans as well.
The boat itself is made from garbage lashed together into a platform with a mast rigged in the middle and a tent for shelter. They assembled it during Allt för sjön, Sweden’s largest boat show, to raise awareness for the cause. They then tested it for three months before setting off for the island. The crew, who rightly consider themselves adventurers, faced rough conditions and gusts of up to 20kts. Despite the strong wind, they averaged just half a knot of boatspeed and took four days to reach Gotland. The voyage now complete, the team hopes that they’ve sent a strong message to politicians, demanding a reduction of plastic usage and cleaning up of the oceans.
For more on this project, visit subtechsports.com/trash-tiki