Around the Americas - the First Circumnavigation

It’s a long way back to Seattle
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Just when I thought that every sailing first had been accomplished, the first circumnavigation of the Americas is in now the planning stages!

Two non-profit organizations are cooperating and now in preparation for an epic circumnavigation of North and South America. The project is aimed at building awareness for ocean preservation, and has been generously underwritten initially by The Tiffany & Co. Foundation.


The two renowned non-profit organizations, Sailors for the Sea ( http://www.sailorsforthesea.org) and the Pacific Science Center ( http://www.pacsci.org), today announced a one-year environmental sailing expedition and circumnavigation around-the-Americas, with the title 'Around the Americas Sailing Expedition and Awareness Campaign.

To launch this education-based voyage and awareness project, Sailors for the Sea, a national organization co-founded by David Rockefeller, Jr. that educates and empowers the boating community to protect and restore our oceans and coastal waters, has partnered with the Pacific Science Center, a Seattle-based science foundation and nationally recognized leader in informal science and environment education.

'North and South America are surrounded by a large, complex, and frighteningly fragile ocean environment -- and these oceans are changing in large part as a result of human activity,' said Rockefeller, president of the board, Sailors for the Sea founder, and member of the Pew Ocean Commission. 'The goal of this expedition is to build broad awareness among everyday citizens of the precipitous changes occurring throughout the world's oceans and the impact these changes have on various ecosystems and human life.'

Around the Americas is an education-focused effort intended to bolster awareness of the ocean environment and to mobilize public support for local and national conservation programs. The oceans of North and South America are changing rapidly: fish stocks and other marine creatures are vanishing; acidity is rising; and the melting of the Arctic and Antarctic ice is raising the sea level and threatening low-lying areas. The world's oceans are at serious risk.

Mark Shrader, in racing mode on Reinrag2
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This never-before-accomplished voyage, captained by renowned ocean sailor Mark Schrader and supported by science partner the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory ( http://www.apl.washington.edu/about_apl-uw/about_apl-uw.php), will begin in Seattle in May 2009, with the crew traveling north through the formerly icebound Northwest Passage and continuing along the coast, making 30 ports-of-call throughout the Americas before returning to Seattle in Spring 2010.

'Around the Americas is unlike any sailing adventure I've ever captained, as we'll leverage its dramatic nature to bring public attention to something so utterly important,' said Commander Schrader, the project's director who will preside over the boat. 'This voyage will bring audiences throughout many parts of the world in direct contact with the health of our oceans through scientific observation and evaluation. Our goal is to provide a platform for scientists, researchers and educators to bring the urgency of the issues into the forefront for regular folks.'

Together with key partners like initial underwriter The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, Sailors for the Sea and the Pacific Science Center will provide direct access to the project's progress through educational feeds to classrooms, after-school programs and homes. Media events at key ports of call will feature scientific experts discussing the relationship between larger patterns of global climate change and the impact on local ocean environments.

About Sailors for the Sea
Founded in 2004 and based in Boston, Mass., Sailors for the Sea is an action-oriented, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing education, programs and resources to motivate and empower sailors and other boaters to preserve, protect, and enjoy the harbors, bays and oceans upon which they sail. For more information on or to participate in any of the Sailors for the Sea programs, or to become a member and support the organization, visit http://www.sailorsforthesea.org.

About Pacific Science Center
Pacific Science Center ( http://www.pacificsciencecenter.org) is an independent, not-for-profit educational institution that inspires lifelong interest in science, math and technology by engaging diverse communities through interactive and innovative exhibits and programs in every county of Washington state and beyond.