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Exclusive ASA Interview With Boyan Slat! (part 1)

Sailors Called Upon to Help With Ocean Clean Up!

ASA caught up for an interview with Dutchman Boyan Slat, Founder of The Ocean Cleanup. Slat is an amazing young guy who, at 19, announced he had a solid plan to clean the world’s oceans of harmful plastic pollution faster and more efficiently than any have proposed before. In 2012, the skinny longhaired teenager spoke on a TED Talk stage of a plan that would harness the existing tendencies of the ocean and, in essence, coral the garbage for a manageable and cost-effective removal. 

Fast-forward a year and half later and the ambitious environmentalist has begun the operation. Last year he published a feasibility report that confirmed his concept indeed had legs. From there, he has formed a team, raised funds and is now creating pilot phases that will actually test his theories in the real world.

Part of the process involves more accurately understanding just how much waste is out there and that’s where sailors come in. Slat is organizing what they’re calling the Mega Expedition. – up to 50 vessels will cross the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in parallel, in what will be the largest ocean research expedition in history. They have yet to sign up 50 boats, but he is confident that he will reach that goal before August.

ASA:  What is the Mega Expedition? It’s not a clean up effort, but more of a research expedition, correct?

Slat: The Mega Expedition isn’t to clean up the oceans – it’s to determine how much plastic is in the ocean. Using computer models we determined we would be able to clean up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10-years time using a single 100-kilometer system. The question however is how much, exactly, is half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Is it 100,000 tons, is it 1-million tons; is it 10-million tons? Nobody really knows. There have been many estimates about how much is out there, but they vary. This is quite important for us to know for primarily two reasons. One of them is economic. If there are ten times the amount of kilos [than we thought] in the ocean to extract, obviously the cost per kilo (to extract)  goes down almost to a factor of ten considering that the plastic we extract we will reuse and recycle. That’s quite important for the business model. Although it doesn’t fully rely on it, it would make things easier.

The second reason is – to design the extraction equipment, to scale them correctly, we need to know if they have to process a ton of plastic or ten tons per hour…things like that. So that’s why we came up with this thing called the Mega Expedition. It’s a project taking place in August of this year. Using 50 sailboats, we will cross the great Pacific Garbage Patch in parallel. We’ll do more measurements in the course of three weeks than have been collected in the past 40-years combined. This should enable us to give an accurate estimate of the plastics in the ocean.

ASA: How is the Transpac [race from LA to Hawaii} involved in this?

Slat: Yes – many boats are participating –  not all of them because some are being shipped back, but most of them will be. It will be the boats that are doing the delivery voyage back to Los Angeles. Since there is a lot of motoring being done anyway, we can use those vessels to go through the more southern latitudes. Our research area is 25-north – up to 40 north. It will allow us to cover three and a half million square-kilometers. The important thing is that the vessels leave around the same time, this will provide us with a high resolution snap shot of what’s in the ocean. What organizations like NOAA and some other non-profits do is they go out to the ocean take a few measurements, come back and repeat the same thing year after year. There are problems with that. For instance, the patch is moving around. If you take a measurement of one spot and come back a week later, you would get an entirely different reading. Therefore it’s important to get a lot of measurements in a very short time and the only way we felt that was possible was doing the Mega Expedition.

What kind of contraptions are these boats affixed with?

Slat: There are two types of measurements they will be doing. One of them is called a surface troll, which is a net that is 60 centimeters wide and 15-centimeters deep – this basically skims the surface of the water. It’s attached to the spinnaker pole or to the stern of the vessel. By doing six one hour trolls per day, we will be able to quantify and study the distribution of the smaller particles (millimeter and centimeter size ranges).

The second type is a net we developed for larger objects in coordination with a smart phone app [for even larger things]. They can log the big objects that they encounter. That way we can count the biggest stuff as well.

Is the Mega Expedition is open to anyone?

Slat: Yes. I highly invite anyone with an ocean-going boat to join on this adventure.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the Boyan Slat interview!

 

 

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He Owes It All to a Garbage Bag

Outstanding Instructor Spotlight

Outstanding Instructor Steve Klump

Few men can credit a garbage bag for leading them towards the career of their dreams, but Steve Klump does just that.

“I became instantly hooked on sailing through an ‘ah-ha’ moment while canoeing downwind in Everglades National Park using a garbage bag as a sail,” Steve says of the inspiration. “From that day forward I progressed through all sorts of sailing craft.”

Always an outdoorsman, Klump is a former Ranger with the National Park Service where he spent many an afternoon hiking in the serenity of the deep woods and mountains. Today, he still finds that peace and serenity, but these days it’s upon the gorgeous waters of the Puget Sound.

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Ocean Cleanup Mega Expedition

The Ocean Cleanup Mega Expedition

As sailors we should all support efforts to protect our oceans and keep them clean. The Ocean Cleanup Mega Expedition, which will involve sailboats returning from Hawaii after the Transpac, will collect more plastic measurements in three weeks than have been collected in the past 40 years combined. This project is part of The Ocean Cleanup​ – a non profit foundation, pioneered by a 19 year old from The Netherlands, that is developing technologies to extract, prevent and intercept plastic pollution.

Click through for a video and the official press release
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Black Rock Sailing School

Fair Winds and at Least Two Cup Holders!

Outstanding Instructor Spotlight

Paul SullivanBlack Rock Sailing School’s twenty-four-year-old ASA Sailing Instructor Paul Sullivan caught the sailing bug young, sailing his Sunfish around the small lake of his hometown. A self-described sailing addict, Sullivan lived for sailing.

As his skilled progressed he raced in high school and college but after countless bruises on his knees and shins, the young sailaholic started to appreciate boats with a bit more room and comfort.

“I had outgrown the Vanguard 420 and all the knee and shin bumping associated with it,” Sullivan says. “I left the world of roll tacks and team racing to enjoy the good life, establishing my new mantra; I will only sail a boat with at least two cup-holders.”

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Outstanding Instructor - Matthew Holt

Living the Dream!

Outstanding Instructor Spotlight

There are a lucky few people in this world who get to live their life just as they had hoped – ASA sailing instructor at Sunsail BVI, Matthew Holt, or Big Red as he is also known, is one of these people.

Matthew teaches sailing in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the British Virgin Islands and fully understands and appreciates how fortunate a person he is. BVI, consisting of four main islands and over 50 smaller islands, is truly an incredible cruising ground for sailors who seek out the idyllic.

“I consider myself very lucky to call the British Virgin Islands home. As a boy, I dreamed of getting paid to take people sailing,” Holt says. “Now I do.”

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On-Board Sailing Workshop Partnership

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SailTime North America , Beneteau America, The American Sailing Association partner together to introduce new Sailors to the Beneteau ASA First 22 at the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show.

April 3, 2015 (Annapolis, MD) – SailTime Group LLC, the world’s largest boat membership company, announced a partnership with Beneteau America, and the American Sailing Association to conduct an On-Board Sailing Workshop at the 2015 Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show April 24th through April 26th.

The registered students will get to participate in a 30 minute in-class basic briefing followed by a 90 minute on water intro to sailing lesson. This clinic has been developed by the American Sailing Association and is part of their Small Boat Workshop for New Sailor Series.

Designed for the beginning sailor, this clinic will be taught on the new ASA First 22, which is manufactured by Beneteau America in Marion, SC. The ASA First 22 is a result of collaboration between Beneteau America and the American Sailing Association and was specifically designed for teaching ASA courses.
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Graham Landy / Red Bull Youth America’s Cup

Interview with ‘College Sailor of the Year’ Graham Landy

College Sailor of the Year, Graham Landy began sailing mostly out of convenience; Norfolk Yacht and Country Club was nearby and had a reputable summer camp for children. However, his talent on the water quickly emerged and in relatively short order he began sailing an Optimist as a member of the US National Team. Landy soon moved on to the 420, winning the Youth Championship, Orange Bowl Regatta, and International 420 North Americans.

As a junior at Yale College he captured the coveted College Sailor of the Year title and has branched out into the larger racing community as well. Landy competed in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup 2013 as a tactician, finished third at the Youth Match Race Worlds this past summer and was part of the winning team at the Melges 32 Worlds.
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Strictly Sail Pacific

Join ASA at the Strictly Sail Pacific​ boatshow April 9-12, 2015 and sail on our new ASA First 22 by Beneteau​ as part of the Discover Sailing​ “New Boat Introductions” – a FREE 45 minute sail on the Bay with an experienced Skipper.

Register Online

The Discover Sailing Product Introductions
are all the way at the bottom of the ticket page

Be sure to come by our booth, #818, and say hello if you’re at the show!

Strictly Sail Pacific

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New Sailor Workshops @ Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show

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ASAs exciting new workshop is back, this time at the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show.

Taught by instructors from Sailtime this workshop is designed exclusively with new sailors in mind. It begins with a 30-minute interactive educational seminar where you will learn the very basics of sailing. You will then board the ASA First 22, the American Sailing Association’s new training sailboat, for an in-depth 90-minute sailing lesson. This New Sailor Workshop is designed to educate, excite and equip those with little to no sailing experience with the basic skills needed to begin sailing.

Course fee is $35 and includes admission to the boat show. With only four classes per day holding a maximum of four slots each, availability is extremely limited. Advance registration is highly recommended, so sign up today!

Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show
at the City Dock & Harbor Annapolis, Maryland April 24-26
Register Online