Jimmy Cornell's new venture: The Blue Planet Odyssey

Our Blue Planet - now it’s a rally, spearheaded by Jimmy Cornell to raise awareness of climate change
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The Blue Planet Odyssey, a round the world sailing event (to start in 2015 in Australia) aiming to raise awareness of the global effects of climate change, will be officially launched December 15, 2012 at the Paris Boat Show. The event is spearheaded by Jimmy Cornell, founder of the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers). Cornell has run over 30 successful international sailing rallies including five round the world events.

Jimmy Cornell at a recent boat show - and he just keeps writing
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Blue Planet Odyssey will have a start on every continent as well as Australia and its route will call at some of the most threatened islands in every ocean: Tuvalu, Tokelau, Tuamotus, San Blas, Maldives, Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall, and Andaman Islands. This global sailing event will also highlight the effects of climate change on the Arctic icecap, the Great Barrier Reef, and nature reserves such as the Galapagos Islands.

At every stop at those endangered places, the sailors will take part in community projects such as building wind and solar powered desalination plants. Participants with specialist skills will take part in local projects and carry out essential repair and maintenance work.

The event will reach out to children worldwide by way of a comprehensive educational programme. Books and educational material will be delivered to places en route where local schools will be offered the opportunity to be twinned with schools in the country of origin of the participants.

As the route will pass through some of the least travelled parts of the oceans, arrangements are being made for oceanographic institutes and research centres to use this unique opportunity to receive environmental data gathered by participants. Throughout their voyage, the sailors will take seawater samples and make measurements to test for acidification, pollution, the depletion of the plankton population, changes in temperature and salinity to compare to previous data.

Participants in this global event will be able to start and finish from a port on their own continent or join the event at any 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 will start from a port in Southern Europe in summer 2014 and after crossing the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean will continue to Panama and the Pacific Ocean. The event will be joined at certain points by participants who have started from New York, Miami, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Sydney and 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 Tonga to Samoa and on to Vanuatu. 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.

Australian Start:
Sydney (July 2015) – Great Barrier Reef – Torres Strait – Darwin – Indonesia – Singapore (January 2016)

European Start:
Port TBA (August 2014) – Canary Islands (November) – Eastern Caribbean (December 2014) – San Blas – Panama (February 2015) – Galapagos – Marquesas – Tahiti (June 2015) – Tonga – [Tokelau – Tuvalu] - Fiji – Vanuatu – Great Barrier Reef – Torres Strait (October 2015) – Indonesia – Singapore – Thailand (January 2016) – Andaman Islands – Maldives – Mumbai (February) – United Arab Emirates - Oman – Red Sea – Suez Canal (April 2016) – Mediterranean – Gibraltar (August 2016).

African Start:
Cape Town (December 2014) – St Helena – Eastern Caribbean (January 2015) - Panama

South American Start:
Rio de Janeiro (December 2014) – Salvador da Bahia – Belém (Amazon) – Cayenne (French Guyana) - Eastern Caribbean – San Blas – Panama

North American Starts:
New York (October 2014) – Annapolis – Norfolk (November 2014) – Eastern Caribbean – San Blas – Panama (February 2015)
Miami (January 2015) – Havana – Belize – San Blas – Panama
San Diego (November 2014) – Mexico (November - January 2015) – [Galapagos (February)] – Marquesas – Tahiti (June 2015)
San Francisco (April 2015) – Marquesas – Tahiti (June 2015) Hawaii (October) – Marshall Islands – Micronesia – Japan – Shanghai (December 2015) – Hong Kong – Vietnam - Singapore (January 2016)

Asian Start:
Shanghai (December 2015) – Hong Kong – Vietnam – Singapore (January 2016)
Participants who wish to explore destinations that lie off the usual sailing routes may join one of the suggested detours and rejoin the main fleet at a later stage:

Northwest Passage start I (2014):
Oslo (June 2014) – Bergen - Lofoten – Tromsö - Spitsbergen– Iceland – Greenland – Northwest Passage (September 2014) – Vancouver – San Francisco – San Diego (October) - Mexico (November - January 2015) – Galapagos (February 2015) – Tahiti (June 2015)

Northwest Passage start II (2015):
Oslo (June 2015) – Bergen - Lofoten – Tromsö – Spitsbergen (July) – Iceland – Greenland – Northwest Passage (August - September 2015) – Hawaii (October) – Micronesia – Japan – Shanghai (December 2015) – Hong Kong – Vietnam - Singapore (January 2016)

Easter Island route:
Galapagos – Easter Island (March 2015) – Pitcairn – Gambier Islands - Tuamotus – Tahiti (June 2015)

Having reached the Mediterranean, European participants will head for home, while boats bound for the US East Coast will continue westwards via the Azores and Bermuda. Boats bound for South America will return home via the Cape Verde Islands.

As the most favourable route home for yachts from the US West Coast is via the Caribbean and Panama Canal, they can spend longer in the Mediterranean and cross the Atlantic from the Canary Islands in November. Boats returning to Asia will sail the same route to Panama and reach home via Micronesia or Hawaii.

The proposed route is planned to transit the North Indian Ocean to the Red Sea and Mediterranean but if the situation in that area is considered not to be safe, the route will be amended to reach the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Cape of Good Hope.

The Blue Planet Odyssey will be officially launched at the Paris boat show on Saturday 15 December 2012. A comprehensive information pack will be available on www.blueplanetodyssey.com after the official launch.

Background:
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, including five round the world events, such as the Hong Kong Challenge, Expo 98 round the world rally and Millennium Odyssey.

The Hong Kong Challenge (1996-1997) started in London and was the first round the world race to reach the Pacific via the Panama Canal. The event marked the historic moment of the return of Hong Kong to China.

The Expo 98 round the world rally (1997-1998) was sponsored by the Global Exhibition Expo 98 and the 36 participating yachts carried around the world its message 'the oceans, a heritage for the future'. The rally started in Lisbon and finished in the Portuguese capital on the day of the opening of Expo 98.

The Millennium Odyssey (1998-2000) is the largest round the world sailing event to date and celebrated the dawn of a new millennium by carrying around the world a symbolic flame which had been lit at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in August 1998. Each of the 50 participating yachts carried on board a millennium lamp whose flame was delivered to 32 countries in every continent including Antarctica. The Millennium Odyssey finished in Rome at
Easter 2000 when the flame was handed over to Pope John Paul II.

For more information and news on Blue Planet Odyssey, visit www.blueplanetodyssey.com or email bpo@cornellsailing.com.