Ship made of plastic bottles completes trans-Pacific voyage

Way back in March we told you about the Plastiki, a ship made almost entirely out of plastic bottles, that was setting out from San Francisco to complete a crossing of the Pacific Ocean. The plan was for the ship, and her crew, to sail to Sydney, Australia, by way of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, in an effort to raise awareness of the impact that we are having on the Earth’s environment, most notably the oceans. Yesterday, after spending 128 days at sea, and covering more than 8300 nautical miles, the Plastiki sailed into Sydney Harbor, completing her voyage at last.

The ship is the brain child of explorer and environmentalist David de Rothschild, who came up with the idea to build a boat out of plastic bottles more than four years ago. At times, de Rothschild, who is the founder of Adventure Ecology, wondered if he would ever see his dream become reality, but eventually construction of the boat commenced, and the project began to take shape. When it was finally finished, the Plastiki had more than 12,500 bottles incorporated into its hull, not to mention a host of other environmentally friendly gadgets like solar panels and wind generators, added to its final design.

One of the main missions of the expedition was to visit the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge collection of garbage that has accumulated in a single place in the Pacific Ocean. The GPGP is estimated to be larger than the state of Texas and continuing to grow all the time, as more and more waste is dumped into the ocean and ends up deposited in this strange gyre. The Patch is a testament to the damage that is being done to the environment and was quite a sobering sight to the crew of the ship.

Joining de Rothschild on the voyage were Skipper Jo Royle, Co-Skipper David Thomson, and the rest of the crew which consisted of Olav Heyerdahl, Graham Hill, Luca Babini, Matthew Grey, Max Jourdan, Singeli Agnew and Vern Moen. Well done crew!

[Photo credit: The Plastiki via Flickr]

Ship made of plastic bottles sets sail for Australia

It has been more than a year since we mentioned David de Rothschild and his Plastiki Expedition. At the time, he was putting the finishing touches on his ship, the Plastiki, which is made out of more than 12,000 recycled bottles, and preparing to set sale from San Francisco to Australia. Unfortunately, due to a series of setbacks, that journey didn’t get underway as scheduled, but with those obstacles out of the way, de Rothschild and his crew set out last week on their voyage at last.

The journey is expected to take roughly 100 days to complete, finishing up in Sydney, with a stop over at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch while en route. This patch is a huge area of accumulated garbage, much of it made out of plastic, that is believed to be at least the size of Texas. One of the goals of the project is to raise awareness of the amount of plastic trash we are accumulating and what it is doing to the environment, and to that end, de Rothschild and his crew are hoping that by visiting the Garbage Patch, they’ll help to maker others aware of its existence.

The environmentally friendly expedition doesn’t end with the design and con remarkable ship. On board the Pastiki, the crew uses wind and trailing propeller turbines, bicycle generators and solar panels to create electricity to power an array of technological devices, including computers, GPS navigation systems, and satellite communications devices.

You can follow along with the journey on the Plastiki website and track the progress of the catamaran itself. As of this writing, they have traveled approximately 750 nautical miles, but with more than 10,000 more to go, there is plenty of adventure ahead. You can also follow the voyage on Twitter at @Plastiki.

Turn plastic bottles into a boat: One guy’s quest to sail the ocean

If a boat can be made out of Popsicle sticks to be sea-worthy, why not a boat of two-liter plastic bottles? In San Francisco, not too far from Fisherman’s Wharf, David de Rothschild, environmentalist and adventurer is doing just that. He is in the process of lashing together 12,000 to 16,000 plastic bottles filled with dry ice powder in order to create two hulls for a sail boat that can travel the 11,000 miles between California and Australia.

It’s not like the sailboat named Plastiki will look like a whole mess of soda bottles bobbing on in the ocean either. A woven plastic mesh-like material will be stretched over the hulls and heated to fuse them together making the hulls and the cabin, big enough to sleep four, water tight.

During the journey, two wind turbines and solar panels will provide the juice for the batteries needed to run the computers, a GPS system and a phone. This endeavor is de Rothchild’s way of drawing attention to the need for clean, renewable energy and not make products that go to waste.

After the journey scheduled to begin in April, the plan is to recycle the boat. If the economy doesn’t perk up, who knows, maybe there will be a bunch of people looking to make sailboats out of plastic bottles. [via]