The Build of a Traditional Wooden Circular Carriacou Sloop for Ocean Impact

Keeping traditional boatbuilding skills AND Ocean alive

Last year I fell in love. When exploring the Tobago Cays with my mermaid fins, a blue sailing boat sitting on anchor caught my attention. She made me curious and I swam up to her. I had a chat with the owner and learned her name was Beauty. She was built in Petite Martinique. After I saw the movie Vanishing Sail at the Grenada Sailing Week and learned more about the Caribbean tradition of boatbuilding. My curiousity made me set up basecamp in Windward Carriacou for a couple of months, to learn more about these ships and to work on book. With basic tools, little soulful sloops to large schooners have been built right on the beach. Then sailed with the purpose for trading, transport, and smuggling. Later, I was lucky enough to sail up one of the beauties for the West Indies Regatta to St. Barts where the sloops are united for a weekend of fun, adventure, and replicating the trading past.

The craftsmanship that passed down generations, is now threatened to disappear throughout the Caribbean region. Times are changing and the skills are getting lost. Youngsters go abroad and plastic molded ships and motorized cargo have taken over the scene, which is detrimental to the local identity, community, economy, and environment.  Plastic is not only threatening the ocean but also the traditions that bring life to the ocean. This 2018 season, it’s the love for the sloops, island culture and sea, and determination to keep it all alive, that brought me back to the Caribbean.

 ‘We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.’ – David Brower 

The build of a Carriacou sloop for Ocean Conservation

Determined to preserve the ocean and the legacy of the traditional wooden boatbuilding in the Caribbean, a new ship must be built. She will serve as a platform for ocean conservation projects, sailing between island communities with the purpose to increase ocean literacy, inspire and engage islanders to take action for a healthier ocean. The ship will be crafted by the young generation of local boat builders, with the use of local natural materials, knowledge, and resources. Student exchanges with boat building schools abroad help to optimize the sustainability aspects of the building process and accelerate ocean awareness and action, aiming for a zero waste footprint.

Phase #1 The build of the boat

Phase #2: Ocean Impact projects across the Caribbean region.

Phase #3: Thriving boat building and ocean impact projects in the Caribbean and beyond

The mission: to connect people to the sea!

Adventure has brought me awareness. That’s where it starts. From experience comes awareness. From that, comes caring. From caring comes action and leadership. We can only do good if we first hand experience the magic of the seas as well as the realities that the oceans are facing in the first place. The mission: to connect more people to the sea with sailing! Especially the islanders and youth. Ocean adventure can spark new insights and give one a new set of eyes. It makes us more conscious as consumers. It makes us stronger, more confident, resilient. It makes new leaders. Ocean leaders and change-makers! By providing opportunity, tools, knowledge, inspiration, and ownership, communities can then take action to bring ideas for a healthier ocean to life.

The current status

Almost enough funds have been raised to commission for the development of the model of the sloop. A foundation is being set up, grants are being applied for and videos are made to connect people to the ocean, document the journey and raise funds. Connections, passion, purpose, people, and leaders are present and ready. Your support will help to bring this project, the skills and finally the ocean back to life. We owe it to our children!

How can you Support?

Ways you can support:

  • Encourage the documentation of the journey by becoming a Patreon
  • Show encouragement with a 1 time donation via PayPal
  • Spread the word & Subscribe to Youtube, Share posts on Facebook, (Re) Tweet.
  • Contact me to get involved!

Funds are used to support the local boatbuilders, build the boat and create ocean impact content and programs to reach a wider audience and inform, educate and encourage for ocean action!

Read more…

As sailors, we are intricately connected to nature. Life at, or close to the sea provides a deep and lasting respect for nature because we are directly dependent on it. But the truth is, we are all dependent on our ocean. The ocean is the heart of the planet. It produces more than half of the oxygen we breathe, regulates our climate and is home to magnificent wildlife on earth. It gives us food, jobs, life, and joy. Without it, we cannot survive. It gives us everything and we are taking it out of balance as if we were the last generation on earth.

I am responsible for this. And you are too. I have ‘thrown away’ dozens of things in my life. But now I have learned, there is no ‘away.’ Every piece of plastic ever made is still out there in some form. I have eaten fish not knowing they are on the verge of extinction. We’re consuming and producing in ways that cannot be absorbed by nature. I have been ignorant. But not anymore. My ocean explorations have taught me about the magnitude of the challenges our ocean is facing and how urgently we need to fact them.

Climate change, overfishing, plastic pollution, and biodiversity change are threatening the sustainability of the ocean and Caribbean destinations. Development options are limited and with the already present and projected increase in extreme natural events, the islands only become more vulnerable. The Caribbean islands are on the frontline of dependency on the ocean and vulnerability to climate stressors and events. The good news, we all have the power within us to contribute to change for the good. Awareness is key but action is mandatory. We are all responsible for depleting life in the ocean and together we have a responsibility to bring it back to life.

We have to educate ourselves. Ask questions. Be curious. Choose wisely. Our greatest and most exciting individual power is the power of choice. To a large extent, we can choose what to eat, drink, wear, believe, say, do, create, and buy. Each choice comes with consequences, good or bad. We have to do our best with whatever choice we make to make it a good one for us and the ocean. Our choices help to plot new routes. Here’s my new route: the build of the next Carriacou sloop, to keep traditional skills and the ocean alive!  

Watch the trailer of Vanishing Sail to learn what it’s all about!

Follow the journey on Ocean Nomad TV