The Blue Planet Odyssey is a unique, round-the-world cruising rally that 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. The rally 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 centers 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, and 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 or join the event at any point along its route. Blue Planet Odyssey will sail west-about around the world along the classic trade-wind route via the Panama Canal and Torres Strait. For those who prefer to sail a more challenging route, there will be the option of a northern route via the Northwest Passage or a southern route via Easter Island.
European participants will start from a port in Southern Europe in summer 2014 and after crossing the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean will continue to Panama and the Pacific Ocean. The event will be joined at certain points by participants who have started from New York, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Sydney, and Shanghai. Detours will be made along the main route to call at every one of the endangered islands: 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.
European Start: London (July 20, 2014) – Canary Islands (November) – Eastern Caribbean (December 2014) – San Blas – Panama (February 2015) – Galapagos – Marquesas – Tahiti (June 2015) – Tonga – [Tokelau – Tuvalu] – Fiji – Vanuatu – Great Barrier Reef – Torres Strait (October 2015) – Indonesia – Singapore – Thailand (January 2016) – Andaman Islands – Maldives – Mumbai (February) – United Arab Emirates – Oman – Red Sea – Suez Canal (April 2016) – Mediterranean – Gibraltar (August 2016).
African Start: Cape Town (December 2014) – St Helena – Eastern Caribbean (January 2015) – Panama
South American Start: Rio de Janeiro (December 2014) – Salvador da Bahia – Belém (Amazon) – Cayenne (French Guyana) – Eastern Caribbean – San Blas – Panama
North American Starts:
New York (October 2014) – Annapolis – Norfolk (November 2014) – Eastern Caribbean – San Blas – Panama (February 2015)
Miami (January 2015) – Havana – Belize – San Blas – Panama (February 2015)
San Francisco, Vancouver (April 2015) – San Francisco – Marquesas – Tahiti (June 2015)
San Francisco, Vancouver (August 2015) – Hawaii (October) – Marshall Islands – Micronesia – Japan – Shanghai (December 2015) – Hong Kong – Vietnam – Singapore (January 2016)
San Diego (November 2014) – Cabo San Lucas (February 2015) – [Galapagos] – Marquesas – Tahiti (June 2015)
Australian Start: Sydney (July 2015) – Great Barrier Reef – Torres Strait – Darwin – Indonesia – Singapore (January 2016)
Asian Start: Shanghai (December 2015) – Hong Kong – Vietnam – Singapore (January 2016)
Participants who wish to explore destinations that lie off the usual sailing routes may join one of the suggested detours and rejoin the main fleet at a later stage:
Northwest Passage route: Inverness (June 2014) – Shetland Islands – Spitsbergen (July 2014) – Iceland – Greenland – Northwest Passage (September 2014) – Hawaii – Marshall Islands (November) – Micronesia – Japan – Shanghai (December 2015) – Hong Kong – Vietnam – Singapore (January 2016)
Easter Island route: Galapagos – Easter Island (March 2015) – Pitcairn – Gambier Islands – Tuamotus – Tahiti (June 2015)
Having reached the Mediterranean, European participants will head for home, while boats bound for the US East Coast will continue westwards via the Azores and Bermuda. Boats bound for South America will return home via the Cape Verde Islands. As the most favorable route home for yachts from the US West Coast is via the Caribbean and Panama Canal, they can spend longer in the Mediterranean and cross the Atlantic from the Canary Islands in November. Boats returning to Asia will sail the same route to Panama and reach home via Micronesia or Hawaii.
The proposed route is planned to transit the North Indian Ocean to the Red Sea and Mediterranean but if the situation in that area is considered not to be safe, the route will be amended to reach the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Cape of Good Hope.
The Blue Planet Odyssey is the brainchild of Jimmy Cornell, the founder of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC). Now in its 27th year the ARC is the largest transocean event in the world. In the last 26 years Jimmy Cornell has run over 30 successful international rallies, among them five round the world events: the Hong Kong Challenge, Expo 98 round the world rally and Millennium Odyssey.
Jimmy Cornell will be giving talks and presentations about the Blue Planet Odyssey at upcoming U.S. boat shows:
Jan. 26, 2013 – Strictly Sail Chicago Boat Show
• Seattle Feb. 1, 2013 – Seattle Boat Show
• Miami Feb. 14-16, 2013 – Strictly Sail Miami Boat Show
• Oakland Apr. 13, 2013 – Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show