How risky is Greta Thunberg’s sailing expedition on board of La Vagabond?

Greta Thunberg sails back to Europe on La Vagabond to be at the climate summit in Madrid – but shortly after leaving the boat heads for a heavy storm.

Photocredits: Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg has taken a taste for it. After crossing the Atlantic from Plymouth (UK) to New York on a latest-generation Imoca (with Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann) to attend the United Nations Climate Conference, the world’s most famous young ecologist climbs aboard another sailboat.

But this time, forget about semi-flying racing boats equipped with foils and ocean sailors. This time, to cross the Atlantic from west to east without polluting the earth, Greta chose a very different boat. It is the catamaran “La Vagabonde” (an Outremer 45) of the Australian Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu, both famous for their Youtube channel “Sailing la Vagabonde” which has over one million followers.

The interesting sailing crew, supported by the experienced British skipper Nikki Henderson, met on the medium that made them all famous, the internet. After discovering that the World Climate Conference COP25 was moved from Chile to Madrid, Greta reaches out on Twitter to find a sailing passage over the Atlantic to avoid getting a flight (the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist refuses to fly due to the heavy carbon footprint of airplane travels). This call was answered by the two youtube vloggers who decided to throw overboard their plans and bring Greta back to Europe.

The trip will take about three weeks, if all goes as planned, which might allow Thunberg to arrive just in time for COP25, which starts December 2. Even with the time crunch, Thunberg did not want to take an airplane.

“I decided to sail to highlight the fact that you can’t live sustainably in today’s society,” Thunberg told The New York Times on Tuesday. “You have to go to the extreme.”

The motley crew left harbor four days ago with strong winds on the bow and not the most comfortable way ahead them. Crossing the ocean during its stormiest season bears many risks, and not everybody seems to see their choice as responsible, especially thinking about Elayna’s and Riley’s 11-month-old son, which is part of the expedition.

In the next few days, it will be extremely uncomfortable for the Vagabonde crew, as a low-pressure area is forming on the American East Coast which sucks cold air from the north and should reach up to nine wind speeds. The low-pressure area will charges it’s energy over the Gulf Stream, before it moves to the north at the weekend behind la Vagabonde so that the 16-meter catamaran might be spared the worst with a bit of luck.

Both Elayna and Greta have been seasick during their first day on the voyage, but both seem confident to have taken the right decision to face mother nature. If this risks are taken unnecessarily or not is difficult to say, but we wish all the best to the crew.

Fair winds La Vagabond

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One response to “How risky is Greta Thunberg’s sailing expedition on board of La Vagabond?”

  1. Jon Morris Avatar
    Jon Morris

    Cruising definitely becomes more risky when you have time constraints, Greta needs to be in Madrid on Dec 2nd. Ergo La Vagabond must leave even though the forecast is bad. Would they have sailed if they didn’t need to. I think not. However they are able sailors and their boat is well found and fairly new, so the risk, although greater, is well within their capabilities. Looks like the weather will be kind to them from now on.

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