Plastiki Arrives in Sydney

Plastiki’s journey goers from trash to triumph. A catamaran descriptively named Plastiki and constructed from 12,500 recycled plastic bottles, completed a 4-month journey across the Pacific Ocean meant to raise awareness about plastic waste.  It is...

28th July 2010.
By Zuzana Prochazka

Plastiki’s journey goers from trash to triumph.

A catamaran descriptively named Plastiki and constructed from 12,500 recycled plastic bottles, completed a 4-month journey across the Pacific Ocean meant to raise awareness about plastic waste.  It is estimated that nearly 8,000 bottles were used in the US during Plastiki’s voyage.

The 60-foot boat and its six crew set sail March 20 from San Francisco and endured 8,000 nautical miles at sea, battling 70 knot winds, hundred degree temperatures, and torn sails.  After a stops along the way at various South Pacific islands including Kiribati and Samoa, Plastiki docked Monday at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney Harbor.
Expedition leader David de Rothschild, 31, mounted the effort after he read a United Nations report in 2006 that said plastic related pollution threatened the world’s oceans. Plastiki was named for the 1947 Kon-Tiki raft sailed across the Pacific by explorer Thor Heyerdahl and is fully recyclable.  It was powered by solar panels and wind and trailing hydro generators.  Rain catchment and urine to water recovery systems were also aboard. 

The boat is almost entirely made up of bottles, which are held together with an organic glue made of sugarcane and cashews and the mast is recycled aluminum irrigation pipe.
The voyage took 128 days during which the crew lived in a cabin just 20 feet by 15 feet, ate dehydrated and canned food and some fresh vegetables they grew in their on-board garden, and took saltwater showers.  The boat weighs 12 tons and travels at an average speed of 5 knots – being able to only gybe, not tack.

Female skipper Jo Royle was the only woman aboard and was ready for a glass of wine as she told reporters in Sydney. 

Plastiki was originally meant to be recycled at the end of its voyage but now the crew are considering saving it and using to educate people about the power of recycling. 

Photos by Associated Press.


About the author:

Zuzana Prochazka

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Zuzana Prochazka is a writer and photographer who freelances for a dozen boating magazines and websites. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Zuzana has cruised, chartered and skippered flotillas in many parts of the world and serves as a presenter on charter destinations and topics. She is the Chair of the New Product Awards committee, judging innovative boats and gear at NMMA and NMEA shows, and currently serves as immediate past president of Boating Writers International. She contributes to Boats.com and YachtWorld.com, and also blogs regularly on her boat review site, TalkoftheDock.com.
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