Monday, March 30, 2009

Launching a New World

For Immediate Release:

Information Contact: Dan McConnell 206-819-9211

64-foot Ocean Watch sailboat gets official launch for sea trials:

Historic Sailboat leaves May 31 for first-ever circumnavigation Around the Americas:

SEATTLE—On Tuesday, March 31at 12 noon, the sailing vessel Ocean Watch will be officially launched from Ballard’s Seaview East Boatyard to begin sea trials in Puget Sound. On May 31, the boat and crew will leave Shilshole Marina for the first-ever circumnavigation of the Americas through the Northwest Passage, around Cape Horn and back to Seattle in July, 2010.

This unique voyage, called Around the Americas, has two primary objectives:

1) Engage and educate citizens in North and South America about ocean health issues using science-driven, online education materials and shore-side activities.

2) Inspire and empower citizens to change their behavior to mitigate adverse effects on the health of our seas.

Seattle’s Pacific Science Center has launched Around the Americas in collaboration with non-profit Sailors for the Sea, inspired by David Rockefeller Jr.’s work on the Pew Ocean Commission, the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Lab, and the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean. The 13-month effort, with planned stops in 30 host ports, will build awareness about ocean health on an international scale,

Through most of April and May, Ocean Watch will be conducting sea trials around Puget Sound to get ready for the difficult west to east transit of the Northwest Passage. With a permanent crew of four, led by world-record-holding two-time solo circumnavigator Mark Schrader and NW Passage Sailor David Thoreson, along with an onboard educator and scientist, the steel-hulled, newly outfitted boat will be conducting a variety of ocean science research projects during the voyage. The sea trials will give the crew their first opportunity to work with the scientific equipment installed on board. Measurements and observations to be recorded during the voyage include sea ice coverage, seawater chemistry (including measurements of salinity, temperature, pH), aerosols, and cloud cover.

Noted conservationist David Rockefeller, Jr. said today, “Individuals can play an important role in protecting and improving the health of our oceans, whether they live in a seaside town or in the Midwest or the pampas. We need to mobilize the citizens of the Americas to take action to protect our fragile oceans. Our life on land is dependent on the health of our seas. It is this message that is being carried on Ocean Watch around the Americas.”

This multi-million dollar Around the Americas awareness effort has currently received major support from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, the Osberg Family Foundation, and more.

Fundraising efforts are continuing and tax deductible donations in the name of Around the Americas can be sent to Pacific Science Center, 200 Second Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109-4895 or Sailors for the Sea, 56 Commercial Wharf East
Boston, MA 02110