David de Rothschild’s Plastic-Bottle Boat Approaches End of Voyage in Australia
By Greer Schott; Photograph by PLASTIKI
When Adventure first reported on David de Rothschild’s 8,000-nautical mile voyage on his plastic-bottle boat in 2008, we wondered: Was his noble goal–to raise awareness about the Eastern Garbage Patch by the sailing from San Francisco to Sydney on a boat made of 12,500 recycled plastic bottles–too lofty to accomplish?
The answer, it looks like, is no. Sailing into port at Mooloolaba, Queensland yesterday, de Rothschild’s Plastiki is on the final leg of its 127-day journey, on schedule to dock in Sydney on July 25th. Despite initial design challenges (de Rothschild insisted the bottles be featured prominently on the boat in their original form) and reports on Sunday that Plastiki sent out a call for assistance 200-nautical miles off of Australia, the crew insists they haven’t ever been in serious danger.
It’s been the opposite actually: the engineless boat requested an escort because winds weren’t strong enough for them to make progress to their scheduled port. Even so, it’s been “high dramas on the high seas,” says de Rothschild, and considering that even the Plastiki crew admits to the “unpredictable nature of the Plastiki’s sailing capabilities”–the boat can only jibe, never tack, and is extremely hard to sail–we’re pretty impressed.
- Nat Geo Expeditions