Tuesday, July 27, 2010 Longest
voyage by a boat made of plastic bottles - Plastiki
sets world record
SYDNEY, Australia -- The Plastiki, a 60-foot
(18-meter) catamaran constructed from 12500 recycled plastic
bottles (project head: environmental adventurer David de Rothschild)
reached Sydney harbour after a four-month, 8000-nautical-mile
(15,000-kilometre) voyage across the Pacific Ocean , setting the world record for the Longest
voyage by a boat made of plastic bottles. Photo: The Plastiki, a boat made out
of 12,500 recycled plastic bottles, sails on Sydney Harbour
voyage by a boat made of plastic bottles. (enlarge
"It's totally overwhelming," said project
head David de Rothschild, the banking scion and environmentalist.
"We're so excited to be here."
Plastiki, which takes its name from Norwegian explorer
Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition from South America
to Polynesia on a raft of balsa husks, set off from San Francisco
The boat, whose six crew members
included Heyerdahl's grandson Olav, travelled through a waste-strewn
area of the north Pacific and stopped in the Line Islands,
Western Samoa and New Caledonia before leaving for Australia.
The Plastiki's bottles are lashed
to pontoons and held together with recyclable plastic and
glue made from cashew nut husks and sugar cane, while its
sails are also made from recycled plastic.
The crew relied on renewable energy
-including solar panels, wind and propeller turbines and bicycle-powered
electricity generators -and used water recycled from urine.
The idea was hatched after
de Rothschild was left "dumbfounded" by a United Nations report
into marine ecosystems and biodiversity, and the realization
"there are just these amazing human fingerprints all over
And although he said the impact of the
voyage had exceeded his expectations, the amount of degrading
plastic floating in the ocean had confirmed the scale of the
"Here you are in the middle of nowhere
seeing ... these plastic items. They photo-degrade, get smaller
and smaller, until they end up getting ingested by fish,"
which are then eaten by people, de Rothschild said.