General Info

The Blue Planet Odyssey is a round the world sailing event aiming to raise awareness of the global effects of climate change. The event is spearheaded by Jimmy Cornell, founder of the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) and organiser of several other successful international sailing rallies including five round the world events.

Blue Planet Odyssey Route Map- Click to enlarge
Blue Planet Odyssey Route Map
Click to enlarge and download map

Aim: to raise awareness of the global effects of climate change.

The Blue Planet Odyssey is a round the world sailing event aimed at raising awareness of the global effects of climate change by calling at some of the most endangered islands: San Blas Islands in the Atlantic Ocean; Tuvalu, Tokelau, Tuamotus, Micronesia, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean; the Maldive and Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.

This global sailing event will also endeavour to highlight the effects of climate change on the Arctic icecap, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Galapagos Islands, all of which lie on the Blue Planet Odyssey route.

The route of the Blue Planet Odyssey has been chosen to take advantage of the most favourable weather conditions and to pass through some of the most attractive cruising areas in the world. The route also includes stops or detours to some of the areas where the effects of climate change are already affecting the lives of their populations.

In line with the overall aim of the Blue Planet Odyssey, participants are expected to take an active part in some of the projects associated with the event.

Scientific programmes

As the route will pass through some of the least travelled parts of the oceans, arrangements are being made with oceanographic institutes and research centres to use this unique opportunity to receive environmental data gathered by participants.

Blue Planet Odyssey participants are invited to take part in the following scientific data gathering projects in partnership with scientists around the world:

  • JCOMMOPS (the joint technical commission of the World Meteorological Organization and Intergovernmental Oceanographic  Commission of UNESCO). Participants will send back automated meteorological data and deploy Argo floats.
  • NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA). Participants will deploy drifter buoys in areas not frequented by commercial shipping to gather information on ocean currents, sea surface temperature, atmospheric pressure, winds and salinity.
  • Observations of sea birds and other marine wildlife for Cornell University’s Ornithology eBird database.
  • Logging of marine debris for NOAA’s marine debris program.
  • The global marine plankton study run by Plymouth University, UK, gathering data using the Secchi disk and mobile phone app.

See also: The Blue Planet Odyssey scientific program

Educational programmes

The Blue Planet Odyssey will reach out to children worldwide by way of a comprehensive educational programme. Participants will be encouraged to get their local schools actively involved in following the progress of the Blue Planet Odyssey, while schools on the Blue Planet Odyssey route will also have the opportunity to communicate with each other.

There will be several families with school age children sailing in the Blue Planet Odyssey, which will give pupils in participating schools a unique opportunity to discover what is it like to sail around the world as a child and visit some of the most remote and endangered parts of our planet.

The Blue Planet Odyssey website, social media and other accessible technology such as Skype will be used to maximise contacts between schools, as well as providing windows to the places visited. For example, in Guadeloupe a ‘virtual classroom’ will be set up with the local aquarium which is doing vital conservation work for marine wildlife.

Up to date information on the Blue Planet Odyssey’s progress around the world will be available in a number of forms: via the website and social media, from video ‘viewsletters’ uploaded to the internet, as well as regular electronic newsletters. Schools will be able to follow the participating boats online as each boat will be fitted with a tracker device for automatic updates on their positions.

Resources will be provided to enable pupils to learn about the places visited by the Blue Planet Odyssey, and to discover why climate change is a real threat to those places, from the coral reefs of the Caribbean and low-lying atolls in the Pacific to the Arctic wilderness of the North West Passage.

Support and resources will also be provided for participants as they set up links with schools in their own countries.

Community projects

At some of the stops along the route of the Blue Planet Odyssey participants with specialist skills will be asked to take part in local projects and carry out essential repair and maintenance work.

In the endangered islands, sailors will take part in community projects such as building or installing wind and solar powered desalination plants. Participants with experience in IT and communications will train or give advice to local schools, hospitals or cooperatives on start-up or ongoing projects.

Starts

Participants in this global event will be able to start from a port on their own continent or join the event at the nearest point along its route.

Blue Planet Odyssey will sail westabout around the world along the classic trade wind route via the Panama Canal and Torres Strait. For those who prefer to sail a more challenging route, there will be the option of a northern route via the Northwest Passage or a southern route via Easter Island.

European participants sailing the Southern Route will start from London in July 2014. On the way to the Canary Islands they will stop at several ports before crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean before continuing to Panama and the Pacific Ocean.

The main route of the Blue Planet Odyssey will be joined at certain points by participants who have started from New York, Miami, Vancouver, San Francisco, San Diego, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Sydney or Shanghai.

Detours will be made along the main route to call at endangered islands in every ocean: the San Blas Islands will be visited en route to Panama, while the Galapagos and Tuamotus will be stops on the route to Tahiti. Tokelau and Tuvalu will be incorporated into a detour from Tahiti to Fiji. The Andaman and Maldive Islands will be visited during the crossing of the North Indian Ocean, while the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Micronesia will be stopovers on the westbound route from Hawaii.

Feeder rallies

European Feeder Rallies - 2014Participants in the Blue Planet Odyssey, as well as other sailors interested in the event, will be invited to join feeder rallies from some of the most remote ports in Europe and sail in company to the London start.

Such starts are planned for Tromsö, in the far north of Norway, and St Petersburg, at the eastern extremity of the Baltic Sea.

Another feeder rally will start at Sevastopol in the Black Sea and Venice in the Adriatic Sea. They will be  joined by other boats along their way through the Mediterranean to Gibraltar, where they will merge with the fleet that had sailed from London.

These feeder rallies are being set up in cooperation with local cruising associations and will add a special dimension to the Blue Planet Odyssey. It is hoped that similar feeder rallies will be staged to the starts of the Blue Planet Odyssey on other continents.

Routes

See Blue Planet Odyssey Route and Schedule

Entries

The Blue Planet Odyssey is open to sailing monohulled and multihulled yachts with a minimum length of 40 ft (12.19 m).  The maximum length of multihulls is 60 ft (18.29 m).

All measurements are based on the length on deck and do not include bowsprits, pulpits, self-steering gears or externally hung rudders.

At the discretion of the organisers, yachts which do not fit into the above description may join the Blue Planet Odyssey if it is considered that their participation would contribute to the objectives of the event or that it may be beneficial for practical considerations.

Jimmy Cornell

The Blue Planet Odyssey is the brainchild of Jimmy Cornell, the founder of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). Now in its 27th year the ARC is the largest transocean event in the world. In the last 26 years Jimmy Cornell has run over 30 successful international rallies, among them five round the world events: including the Hong Kong Challenge, Expo 98 round the world rally and Millennium Odyssey.

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