Table of Contents

  1. Research Charter
  2. Research vs Sailing?
  3. More Information
Photo by Kristoffer Brink Jonsson
Photo by Kristoffer Brink Jonsson

Research Charter

Now that we’re living on our boat, we are pursuing ways to become ethical sailors and reducing our use of plastics. On board, we also have reduced streaming access.

So while enroute from California to Florida, I thought perhaps one way to still have access to relevant and timely content was to see what other podcasts I could access whenever we did have Wi-Fi.

Based on the recommendations from the Sailing and Cruising Facebook group, I decided to check out “On the Wind” presented by 59 North and in particular the episodes chronicling Matt Rutherford and Nicole Trenholm’s research activities. These fall into the following topics.

  1. Microplastics - plastics that end up in the ocean are churned by the waves until they are ground into minute sizes that are eaten by fish. What are the implications to us as we also eat the fish that are ingesting these microplastics? According to an article from Ecowatch, it takes only 6 hours before billions of tiny particles spread through a scallops intestines, lodging in its kidneys, gills and muscles. This is enough knowledge to give pause the next time I place an order for scallops at a restaurant.

  2. Citizen science - Sailing SV Delos also got into the action by participating in this research project tracking fish along the Atlantic Ocean to help scientists study migration patterns. I also came across another research project launching in 2021 in the Caribbean that we could participate in through Women Who Sail.

  3. Climate change - cruising around the coasts of Greenland, ORP took measurements of warm water flows below the cooler waters. The data they are gathering will help scientists understand its impact on melting glaciers.

  4. Glacier ocean mapping - one of the more intruiging expeditions will be undertaken in the next few years aboard their new vessel currently being refit in Annapolis. She happens to also be a schooner.


Research vs Sailing?

I am both intrigued and inspired by the work being done by ORP. The idea that cruisers can collect data and information for science to better understand climate change for example is kinda cool.

Sailing under these auspices has its drawbacks however. Sometimes, they have to slow down and sacrifice average daily miles in order to collect better data. Sometimes, it means motoring for days instead of sailing.

Still, it is worth noodling over to see if there is something we can do in this effort, after all s/v Rachel J Slocum is certainly capable of these voyages to uncharted waters, and the knowledge can be had for a fraction of the cost of typical research science expeditions.


More Information

If you have an opportunity, check out the Ocean Research Project website or the Cruising World article which goes further into the life and work of Matt Rutherford.

If you would like to delve deeper into our adventure as it unfolds, please consider joining the Serenade Wind Crew. Our sister site provides more information on what it means to be part of the crew, unlock the pirate’s booty, and receive other exclusive access and benefits.The first 50 members have a gift waiting.