The racing sailboat Malizia will cross the Atlantic soon with Greta Thunberg, her father Svante Thunberg, filmmaker Nathan Grossman, founder of Team Malizia Pierre Casiraghi and skipper Boris Herrmann. Before their departure Boris & Pierre responded to some of the many questions that have been asked regards conditions for this crossing.
How is Team Malizia involved in environmental protection?
Team Malizia and its associated Malizia Ocean Challenge is based on three main pillars: sailing, science and education. During all our sailing trips and races, we contribute actively to ocean research and study the impact of climate change on marine environments by measuring ocean CO2 and other sea surface data with our on-board laboratory. The results are published and are available to scientists and public. In this context, we run an extensive and well-structured education programme engaging thousands of school children every year and drawing attention to the importance of environmental and ocean protection, the impact of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the world’s oceans. Team Malizia have recently joined the UN-initiative “Sports for Climate Action” proving once more the team’s serious commitment when it comes to environmental responsibility, reducing climate impact and active climate protection. Finally, we recycle our used sails, avoid using plastic and run a completely paperless campaign. We have processed a carbon footprint assessment of our team, which is currently being verified and will be subsequently published.
Is Team Malizia going to use the boat’s engine during the crossing?
Malizia carries an emergency combustion engine on board in accordance with the IMOCA Class Rule 2019 V.1.1, number C.6.1 (a): “A motor […] shall be permanently installed, permanently attached to the boat and not moved”. This is a safety measure prescribed by the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA). During the normal season we use the engine only to a minimum extent, namely, to safely approach and leave the dock and marinas.
Now, for Greta’s transatlantic trip, the engine will not be used at all so as to be consistent with Greta’s as well as Team Malizia’s message of sustainability and environmental protection. In fact, the engine will be officially sealed before setting off for the crossing. Although the engine will stay turned off at all times, it will remain fully operational and ready to use in case of an emergency situation, in order to respect the IMOCA Class Rule. The safety of crew and boat is always of prime importance for us.
Will Malizia II be accompanied by other support vessels during the crossing?
We will not have any support vessels travelling with us or accompanying us at sea during the crossing. At the start and finish, we will have Torqeedo RIBs powered by electric engines to assist us during docking manoeuvres as well as to tow Malizia out of and back into port.
Malizia’s cruising speed is well above 16 knots, the distance from the UK to New York is over 3000 nautical miles long and we will be sailing non-stop over two weeks time in the sea area of the North Atlantic Ocean, making it very difficult if not impossible for a power-driven vessel to travel with us.
How is the electricity needed to run all the boat’s systems generated?
Malizia is equipped with a state-of-the-art 1,3kW solar system (see here for more information) and additionally with two hydro-generators, which are permanently installed on the stern of the boat and were specifically designed for IMOCA 60 racing yachts. With these two independently working systems, we generate more electricity than we actually need on board. Both energy sources allow us to run all the systems and electronics on board continuously – navigation instruments, autopilots, watermakers as well as our SubCtech ocean laboratory. So, we will be able to complete the transatlantic trip fully emission free.
Has Team Malizia received financial support particularly for taking Greta on board?
We as Team Malizia have not received any additional funding to do the transatlantic crossing and we have not asked Greta including her team to pay for it. We have decided to offer our services sailing from the UK to New York without use of fossil fuels and dedicate our time and attention to this transatlantic trip. We fully support Greta’s cause and message. Team Malizia are a relatively small team with 5 to 8 specialists working full time at different race periods and we have one of the smaller budgets in the IMOCA class. Additionally, it has to be noted that Team Malizia lease the German-registered boat named Malizia II, an IMOCA 60, which has been purchased 2nd hand by a German owner back in 2016. The boat was originally built in 2015 by Multiplast in Vannes / France.
Is the transatlantic crossing really zero carbon, given that Greta will be sailing on board a 60ft carbon fibre racing yacht?
The leading French sailing magazine Voiles et Voiliers has recently asked the heads of Multiplast boatyard and CDK Technologies about the environmental impact when building an IMOCA 60. To build this type of race boat, 3 tons of carbon fibre, moulds for hull and deck, a number of construction materials and various resins (baked at 120° during the construction process) are needed. Both boatyards are well aware of the resulting and indisputable environmental impact during boat construction and therefore attach great importance on a sustainable building process: Moulds are built with recycled dry carbon fibre and reused for building the hulls and decks of several new boats – not just one, old carbon fibre material is turned into powder and reused in resins for further construction, all sorts of construction materials are recycled and reused on new boats, in addition to continually pursuing sustainable developments in the boat building domain, notably the use of natural fibres. In the end, once constructed, an IMOCA works with the wind, reducing its carbon footprint with every mile sailed.
Has Malizia II been specifically modified for the upcoming transatlantic trip?
The interior of Malizia is very bare and fully optimised for high-speed offshore racing. This includes keeping the weight of the boat and all its equipment down to a minimum. We have made no major alterations in view of the trip to New York except for fitting curtains in front of the bunk as well as adding comfortable mattresses for better sleeping. Note that there are no toilet, fixed shower, cooking facilities and proper beds. The boat’s interior is characterised by lack of comfort. Greta and her team are fully aware of the living conditions to be expected on board.
How safe is the Atlantic crossing with Team Malizia?
First of all, Malizia will be skippered by team founder and experienced sailor Pierre Casiraghi and professional, world-class sailor Boris Herrmann, who has already sailed around the world three times and has completed countless transatlantic crossings, including training passages as well as transat races on board Malizia. During the entire time of the crossing with Greta and the crew, we will be having some of the most experienced and best prepared shore support teams accompanying and monitoring the journey around the clock from land. All persons and teams involved in the trip have been planning the crossing for many months with utmost care and attention. Malizia is a fully equipped, perfectly maintained, safe and reliable racing boat, which is officially registered in the IMOCA class and consequently operates in accordance with the strict IMOCA Class Rules. Earlier this season, the boat underwent rigorous and extensive testing of its entire structure, rigging, appendices and on-board components as prescribed by the class guidelines.
How will Greta’s meals look like on board?
Greta will be eating a variety of freeze-dried and vacuum-packed vegan meals on the boat, which can be prepared in all weather conditions with minimum effort and minimum use of energy.
Will we be able to follow Malizia and Greta’s trip?
Yes you will be able to follow the trip live from both our websites, on a live tracker which will give you lots of other information along the way.