The Blue Planet Odyssey, a round the world sailing event aiming to raise awareness of the global effects of climate change, will be officially launched January 26, 2013 at the Strictly Sail Chicago Boat Show. The event is spearheaded by Jimmy Cornell, founder of the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers). Cornell has run over 30 successful international rallies including five round-the-world events.
Blue Planet Odyssey will have starts in every continent 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 program. 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, with starts planned on both coasts of the North American continent (New York and Miami, San Francisco and San Diego), a South American start from Rio de Janeiro, an African start from Cape Town, an Australian start from Sydney and an Asian start from Shanghai.
The Blue Planet Odyssey will sail westabout around the world along the classic trade wind route via the Panama Canal and Torres Strait. 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.