Rowing the Atlantic

Olly Hicks, Atlantic rower and record holder, speaks to Martyn Thornton, Atlantic Solo, who is taking part in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge 2020 about mentally and physically preparing for such an adventure. Discover more about the Yorkshireman who is taking on the gruelling 3,000 mile journey in conversation with the Arksen Foundation’s Executive Director who has taken on a number of rowing challenges in his time.

Follow his adventure here>>

Discover more about Martyn here>>

Arksen Sponsors Atlantic Solo

1 man. 1 boat. 3,000 miles of ocean. £50,000 for charity. 

Martyn Thornton certainly doesn’t do things by halves.  A 60 something businessman and part-time adventurer, this Yorkshireman is taking on “The Worlds Toughest Row”, in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, to raise money for the charity, HorseHead. 

The drive to test himself has always been in his blood. Whether it’s physical challenges (marathons, cycling, walking), career challenges (setting up several companies), emotional challenges (battling depression, training as a performance coach), or learning the violin at 56, Martyn has the desirable belief that he will always succeed. 

“Ive been asked loads of times why Im doing this and to be honest theres no earth shattering reason or drive to find myself” – quite simply it just resonates with a fundamental part of my character.”

– Martyn Thornton

Adventure isn’t something he’s new to either. In 2017 he hiked solo through the wilderness, from Mexico to Canada, along the Pacific Crest. A brutal 20 miles per day and 5 months later, Martyn completed the 2,667 mile challenge.

Martyn’s a strong believer that age is just a number. His desire to challenge himself through endurance events has led him to defy the conventions of society imposed on his age group. He has great aims of inspiring his generation and proving it’s never too late to have a passion. 

The Race

Under the team name ‘Atlantic Solo’, Martyn will be taking to the ocean this December in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. He’ll be rowing across the Atlantic Ocean from San Sebastian, La Gomera, in the Canary Isles (28oN 18oW), to Nelson’s Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua (17oN 61oW). A gruelling 3,000 mile journey, one which has seen more people successfully climb Mount Everest than cross the Atlantic in a rowing boat. 

Out on the ocean, Martyn will be completely self-sufficient. He will single-handedly propel his 24ft ocean rowing boat towards Antigua with no outside assistance, whilst facing a constant battle of fatigue, blisters, salt sores and sleep deprivation, due to two-hour shifts around the clock. 

The electricity for GPS navigation and communications will be powered by solar panels and freshwater supplied via an essential ‘water maker’, that makes seawater suitable and safe to drink and use for rehydrating food supplies. 

The race is sure to be a mental and physical test on Martyn’s endurance, especially whilst facing the raw and unforgiving elements of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Motivation

Despite the adventure and hardship the challenge presents, there is a major motivation behind his drive. Martyn has suffered with severe depression during moments of his life and wants to give back and repay the acts of kindness he received over the years. Often finding support and encouragement through exercise, therapy and coaching, Martyn is passionate about raising awareness and educating others on mental health issues, as well as the importance of looking after our minds. 

HorseHeard is a UK charity helping to improve the emotional health and wellbeing of children, young people, adults and veterans in need, through the powerful connection of horses. They work with groups and families with horses from local riding stables or welfare centres with experienced and qualified facilitators. They also provide a peer support programme that involves a mix of classroom-based work, practical activities and horse interaction. The charity successfully helps to develop individuals’ self-confidence, self-esteem, core life skills, the management of their emotional state as well as many others. 

Having worked with HorseHeard both professionally and personally, Martyn wholeheartedly believes that their work makes a substantial difference. A charity very close to his heart, Martyn aims to raise £50,000 for HorseHeard. 

The world record to cross the Atlantic solo in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is 31 days, with the longest over a 100 days. Martyn’s competitive spirit has him aiming to break the current record of solo male over 60 and inspire fellow baby-boomers that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.  

“I see myself as a conventional and ordinary man, who just happens to believe that you can do whatever you really want to – you just have to believe you can.”

– Martyn Thornton

Arksen is very proudly sponsoring Martyn on his race across the Atlantic. His drive to inspire others and sense of adventure are traits close to our heart and we can’t wait to see Martyn in action. 

Follow Martyn on Instagram to keep up to date with his preparations. 

You can also donate to Martyn’s Go Fund Me page here.

Discover another Atlantic rower, Olly Hicks and his past adventures here.

Explorer Vessel “Project Ocean” in Build

Milestone for Arksen as their first eco-conscious Explorer Vessel goes into production.

Built from the ground up to be capable and efficient for true off-grid adventures.

Arksen continue to drive market change, by facilitating more mindful and purposeful explorations.

Less than two years ago, Arksen unveiled their innovative vision for a new wave of sustainable marine adventure. The project has rapidly gained momentum and now their first Explorer Vessel, the Arksen 85 “Project Ocean”, has gone into production in the UK. The 85 model is the ‘flagship’ of the Arksen Explorer Series which also includes the 60 and 75, with larger models in the pipeline. 

“Project Ocean” in production at Isle of Wight shipyard

Arksen design and build boats with the ability to travel to less frequented surroundings. Combining performance and functionality, the vessels are built to be robust, reliable and efficient. Owners are given the capability, comfort, confidence and independence needed to take on an adventure of a lifetime.

Project Ocean will have four cabins accommodating up to 12 explorers including a full beam master suite with multi-purpose library / study / media room / children’s cabin. She has an efficient cruising speed of 9-11 knots, top speed of 14 knots and a maximum range of up to 7,000nm. “Project Ocean” has a full hybrid propulsion package and energy management system supplied by Praxis Automation Technology. Solar capacity onboard offers up to 7kW of zero-carbon electrical power. Onboard heating and ventilation systems use thermal reclaim for improved efficiency. 

The Arksen 85 is designed to offer stability in excess of MCA requirements for unlimited operation, with 180 degrees of positive stability in cruising trim. All Arksen vessels are designed with marine research in mind. Through the Arksen Foundation, owners are invited to pledge 10 percent of their vessels’ sea time to ocean-exploration projects, allowing scientists and researchers access to the oceans to seek a better understanding of the marine ecosystem.

Production begins on the Arksen 85 Explorer Vessel

Partnerships with UK South Coast businesses are helping to bring the project to life. World-renowned naval architecture and yacht design studio, Humphreys Yacht Design have delivered the exterior design and naval architecture whilst working closely with Chartwell Marine, who provided a complete structural engineering service to meet the high levels of additional robustness and efficiency required for a serious long-range explorer vessel. The first 85 started build earlier this month at Isle of Wight based Wight Shipyard Company, who have a wealth of knowledge spanning commercial, defence and superyacht projects. “Wight Shipyard Co has built a reputation for light-weight fuel-efficient vessels to reduce both costs for our customers and lower their carbon footprint.” commented COO, Jo Daly “We have been working alongside Arksen to develop a vessel built to the highest of standards that will become a model for the future.”

Circular economy principles have been adopted throughout; from designing out waste and keeping materials in use to minimising carbon footprint and resource efficiency. It’s an approach Arksen and their partners believe, more than ever, is an essential approach in working towards a sustainable marine future. Tom Humphreys, Co-Director of Humphreys Yacht Design, “Arksen’s dedication to researching and understanding our impact on the environment will be invaluable in helping to re-shape the development of leisure-vessel production in the motor yacht sector.”

“The efficient design, sustainable technologies and long-range capabilities of the Arksen fleet are more important than ever today. We think it’s very exciting, the right product at the right time.”

The Arksen 85 “Project Ocean” in production

The Arksen 85’s hull and superstructure are built in aluminium, supplied by Norway-based company Hydro, which contains recycled material and can again be recycled at the end of the vessel’s life. The hull design is highly efficient, leading to reduced fuel consumption which equates to lower running costs and lower emissions. The interior is created by multi-award winning Design Unlimited and will use a wide range of sustainable materials including many from recycled sources. Even the soft furnishings include fabrics created using recycled plastic bottles. Mark Tucker, Creative Director of Design Unlimited, “The Design Unlimited studio have created an interior that is dynamic, functional, attractive and sustainable in both the materials used and in its on-going functionality and versatility of use.”  

The team are expecting an 18-month build schedule, with sea trials planned for spring 2022. A large portion of the “Project Ocean” sea time will be donated to the Arksen Foundation.

First frames of “Project Ocean”

Arksen was founded by Technology Entrepreneur, Jasper Smith,

“We have been working closely with all our partners to design and build a vessel to be the best in class in efficiency and fuel economy and have gained a comprehensive understanding on the procurement process and supply chain for all the components that we will use throughout.” 

“To have the first Arksen 85 vessel in production is a big milestone in our journey and we look forward to having our first boat on the water in the near future.”

Arksen is built on three key elements; the Explorer Vessels, the Arksen Foundation and the Arksen Explorers’ Club. All owners are given exclusive membership to the Explorers’ Club, which offers tailor-made expeditions and training to make the most of their vessel and explore the remotest corners of the world.

Render of the Arksen 85 Explorer Vessel

The Arksen Foundation is a partner of the Yachts for Science program, alongside Boat International, Nekton Mission and the Ocean Family Foundation. It’s estimated the human race has only discovered 9% of the species living within the ocean and mapped a fraction of the ocean floor. The Yachts for Science program offers a platform designed to help marine scientists reach new depths of the ocean, by connecting the scientists with yachts to conduct research and conservation projects.

Arksen are also sponsors of the new ‘Yacht of the Year’ category at the Ocean Awards 2021 and Jasper Smith will sit on the judging panel. The award will acknowledge vessels, their owners and/or crew that have actively helped enhance the health of the ocean.

Meet the COO

Designer, builder and keen sailor of vessels – Ewan Hind has done it all. We caught up with Arksen’s Chief Operating Officer to discuss how he first got into the marine industry, sustainability and the need for respect towards our oceans, the impact of a pandemic as well as some of his envious past adventures. 

You’re a keen sailor. When did your love for the sea first arise?

Ewan Hind (EW): When I was young, the family moved to the west coast of Scotland and my parents ran a traditional sailing boat as a charter business. We sailed on the boat during the summers around the Hebrides, and we lived by the sea and spent our spare time messing around in dinghies. I was bitten by the bug early on!

The Scottish Hebrides where Ewan spent his childhood summers

With over 25 years of experience within the marine industry, you’ve been involved in the designing, building and sailing of vessels. How did you first get into the industry?

EW: I passed my Yachtmaster at 17 and spent every summer through my late teens sailing professionally, and volunteering with Sail Training organisations, before spending many years involved in sailing and sail training full time after graduation. I had dreams of being a yacht designer from my early teens and studied for a Masters degree in Naval Architecture at Southampton University, which was my route into designing and building boats. I’ve been lucky to be able to combine designing, building and time at sea on all sorts of boats during my career to date.

Marine conservation is at the heart of Arksen. Has the sustainability of the marine industry been something that has become more important to you over the years?

EW: Yes, absolutely. Having spent my formative years going to sea in a naturally sustainable way – on sailing boats, mostly wooden, and in beautiful, unspoilt places – leaving a light footprint was very natural. When my career took me into the large yacht world, I was shocked by some of the prevailing attitudes and lack of respect for the ocean environment. Over the last few years, there has certainly been a general shift in attitudes toward more sustainable operation, but there is certainly a long way to go. I hope that with Arksen, we can be part of leading that change.

Ewan Hind sailing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

How vital do you think it is for yacht companies to respect, understand their impact and protect the oceans. Do you think enough is being done in the industry?

EW: Positive change is certainly happening within the industry, but it is slow and more needs to happen. Much in the yachting sector revolves around wealthy owners – cash-rich, time-poor, with a focus on convenience and with habits ingrained over decades of consumption. Widespread, systemic change has to start where the money is, with a shift in attitudes from the people who pay the bills. There are many thoughtful owners investing in more sustainable yachts and operations, and the industry is responding with numerous innovations to facilitate this. But, at the moment, these innovations are grabbing headlines – a sign that they are not yet the norm. These innovations show what the direction of travel needs to be, and there is some momentum building. But the industry certainly needs to do more to guide owners in the right direction – to be more proactive rather than simply responsive – in order to accelerate change.

What are you most excited for, for the future of Arksen?

EW: I’m looking forward to helping owners plan incredible adventures in their Arksen vessels, facilitating research and conservation work aboard through Yachts for Science, and using our shared ownership programmes to make access to ocean adventures more achievable.

Ewan and his crew sailing in 2006

Many events have been put on hold this year due to COVID-19, including major boat shows such as Cannes Yachting Festival and Southampton International Boat Show. How do you think the yachting industry will fair with the disruption compared to other industries?

EW: It seems to be a mixed outlook for the marine industry. The uncertainty caused by the pandemic is certainly putting some plans on hold in the short term, but access to a boat provides a perfect opportunity for socially distanced fun and adventure and this is being recognised. The small boat sector, where stock is readily available to have and use now, is doing very well. In the longer term, I am hopeful that the changes in outlook and habits brought about by Covid-19, lockdown living, remote working and social distancing will encourage more people to buy and charter as a great way to have family time, undertake adventures in safety and comfort, and do so for longer periods, as remote working opportunities and faster connectivity at sea allow business’ to be conducted from anywhere.

Trends come and go, but where do you see the future of the marine industry heading? Are we all getting more adventurous?

EW: I believe so – being more adventurous and getting to less frequented places seems to be a long term trend in travel generally, not just the marine industry. Air travel is forecast to be depressed for another 2-3 years, making travel and exploration by boat the perfect way for people to get their adventure fix!

You’ve banked over 100,000 miles at sea over the years, which has been your best adventure to date?

EW: There are so many highlights in that time! The Clipper Round the World race was certainly one of these. Crossing the South Pacific from Panama to New Zealand via the Galapagos, Polynesia, Tonga and Fiji was another. But there is great adventure closer to home as well – trips to St Kilda, Norway and the Isles of Scilly also stand out as memorable.

Bryther, Isles of Scilly

Adventure can come at a cost, we find not everything always runs smoothly. What’s been one of your biggest challenges when on an expedition?

EW: When I set off on the Clipper Round the World race, my first priority was to bring everyone home safely. Fortunately, I managed to do this – the worst injury during the voyage was to myself! Crossing the North Pacific with my leg in a brace was a challenge as it very much limited my physical involvement on deck. However, my amazing crew stepped up, sailed brilliantly, and we won that leg.

You’ve ticked off many bucket list adventures including skippering in the gruelling biannual Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, what’s next for Ewan?

EW: I’m now married with two young sons, so over the next few years, I hope that my adventures will mostly be family affairs, as we introduce our boys to sailing, the oceans and adventurous travel.

A Simple Journey

Photo by Alex Glebov

“The sea represents a profound step change from the chaos and busyness of day-to-day life to understanding who you really are. I’ve learned that I’m probably not as complex as I thought I was. At its most basic, I think life is quite a simple journey.” – Jasper Smith

The Oceanographic Magazine sat down to speak with our founder Jasper Smith about his deep connection with this planet’s wild places, why the marine industry needs shaking up, and what roles sustainability and conservation will play in Arksen’s long-term plans.

Read the full article here>>

Discover more about Jasper’s past adventures here>>

Oceanographic Interview

A passion for minimalistic, human-powered expeditions has taken endurance athlete and ocean rower Olly Hicks to every continent and to every ocean. A world record-breaking adventurer, his brutal ocean crossings have taught him a little bit about solitude and survival. We sit down to find out a little more about the man behind the adventures.

Oceanographic Magazine

Read the full interview with Olly Hicks here>>>

Find out more about Olly Hicks here>>>

Adventure Indoors

Run out of ideas to keep the kids busy? Looking for a short break from the screen? Here are a collection of our favourite ideas the team have been trying out with their own families.

Colouring Challenge

Paint the sky red or the water purple, you can be as creative or accurate as you want to be. Give the Arksen 45 and 85 a new make over in your favourite colours.

Click here to download the A4 colouring in sheets.

Spot the Difference

Take a break and see if you can spot all eight differences in this image.

Useful Links

Here are some links to other assets our teams have found effective with keeping their families busy and engaged:

Free Audible Children’s books for all ages>>

Pretend to travel the world and visit museums online>>

National Geographic Kids Channel on YouTube>>

The Science Channel on YouTube>>

The Expedition Notebook>> brings all of the action from out in the field and on the water directly to your screen in this exciting and educational video series. Join Guy Harvey and his daughter Jessica as they travel the world to study and document the largest predators and most exotic wildlife on land and in the sea.

Epic Films for the Great Indoors>> from Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival.

Got more time to spare….?

More for the big kids, why not watch the latest episode in the Arksen Origins series here:

Have you already seen the Arksen film Return to the blue? Click here to watch it now.

Science & Philanthropy

Words by Jasper Smith, Arksen Founder – edited from the speech given at the Explorer Yachts Summit.

The ocean is by far the largest and least understood ecosystem on earth. Scientists believe that over 90% of all ocean species are yet to be discovered. Every second breath we take is generated by the ocean and it lies at the core of the earth’s stability, regulating our weather and absorbing carbon. We, as ocean explorers, have a duty to respect and protect it.

As James Hansen and Al Gore said almost 20 years ago, global warming is an inconvenient and terrible truth. The next 10 years are fundamental to the survival of life on earth as we know it today. Many say that we humans are hard-wired to self-destruct and perhaps we are, but if we don’t accept that premise, immediate and profound behavioural change is required; in the way that we build, operate and consume almost everything around us.

The unrelenting growth of CO2 emissions continues unabated. The rate of emissions is growing not decreasing – and that is happening despite the Paris Agreement and over $1 trillion of investment in carbon curbing initiatives. In the last 100 years, we have released more carbon into the atmosphere than in the previous 2,000 years.

If we carry on, business as usual, we are close to five degrees of warming by the end of the century. We may see over two meters of global sea level rising – the impact of which is hard to predict, but would result in the mass global migration of hundreds of millions of people and possible conflict and war as people struggle to relocate and find shelter and food.

The last five years have ranked as the five warmest for ocean heat. The ocean is absorbing heat 40% faster than previously thought. Between 30% and 60% of all coral reefs have died in the last 100 years. Coral bleaching has risen from 8% to 31% since the 80’s and a failure to achieve the Paris Agreement (2.5C to 3.1C of warming) will result in the near-total loss of coral reefs within 25 years. Not to mention that up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the marine ecosystem annually. This number is rising, not falling.

Time is running out. At the moment 92.6% of the world ocean is unprotected. 91% of all species unknown and 92% of the deep ocean remains unexplored. There is a massive shortage of funding and sea time for scientists to conduct research.

Philanthropy is perhaps the most powerful tool on the planet to help solve this issue.

Some of our greatest achievements have been delivered through philanthropy, and none more significant than the core science that sits behind the analysis of global warming, was funded and generated, initially at least, through scientific philanthropy 30 years ago.

Slowing the climate crisis requires immediate behavioural change but it also requires massive scientific investment and technical innovation. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 it has been estimated that it will cost $7 trillion. After government commitments, there is a $2.5 trillion funding gap.

The charitable sector raises about $410 billion per year and generates non-profit revenues of around $2 trillion. So, conceptually we have the funds, but only 3% of those funds are currently directed at environmental and climate science.

Philanthropy has been, and can be a powerful tool for change but, the ocean remains the least funded of all the Sustainable Development Goals, receiving less than 1% of philanthropic funding since 2009. Majority of which is coming from only 20 foundations.

My children were recently at the climate protests in London. They, and millions like them around the world, have done a better job at provoking change in the last 12 months than we have done in the last decade.

The level of change that we need can only be delivered by governments cooperating unilaterally and globally. But our children are doing a great job at stimulating the debate and communicating. They are a powerful catalyst for change. We should be universally proud of their achievements and rally behind their efforts.

One of the most positive impacts so far is that governments are engaging (the UK has recently declared that we are in a climate crisis and that its carbon target is ‘net zero’ greenhouse gases by 2050). But, let’s make no mistake there are some very significant challenges ahead – and this industry – (the marine industry) like all industries – but perhaps more so – needs to adopt profound behavioural change immediately.

As David Attenborough said, “What we did to save the whales, we must now do for all nature, and that is a communications challenge, as much as it is a scientific one.”

Looking out over the ocean it is impossible to ignore its connectedness; to land and to ourselves, to our wellbeing and that of the planet. As Richard Branson said, “There is no ocean B.” It is the foundation for all life on earth and how we use, understand and preserve the oceans over the next decade will determine the future of humanity over the next millennia or more.

Be part of the change

This is why we have set up the Arksen Foundation as a platform for research, conservation and creativity in support of:

Through our foundation we provide project funding, sea time on Arksen and associated vessels and media production, storytelling and marketing expertise to help research and science projects, education and exploration or sport with purpose. 

Our Foundation acts as the hub for our community, bonding owners and users, researchers and creatives through a common set of beliefs. We require all owners to sign up to at least 10% of their vessel’s sea time to be dedicated to the Arksen Foundation and the projects it supports.

Our vessels are not just about the hybrid systems, efficient hulls or solar capacity. Or about the lifecycle management of our yards and products or the new ownership model. It’s about creating a purpose to an owner’s experience through philanthropy and a contribution to science.

Our work is to change the existing paradigms of luxury travel, by facilitating more mindful explorations and ensuring collaboration between owners, scientists, ocean advocates and activists. It is changing the meaning of owning a boat from a self-serving endeavour to a powerful statement of intent to use these vessels to drive behavioural change.

As David Attenborough said “I’ve always believed that few people will protect the natural world, if they don’t first love and understand it.”

The good news. 

We are adventurers and explorers working with some of the most sophisticated people on the planet. We have time, and I hope, the motivation to drive the profound behavioural change required to win this battle.

There are wonderful signs of progress. A new report suggests that evolution may yet save our coral reefs, we can stem climate change and the global population is now awake and motivated. If we work together, we can raise philanthropic funding and provide a true research platform that will fundamentally improve our knowledge and empower better decision making.

Help us discover projects that will make a difference. Despite the challenges, there has never been a better time to act. We have 10 years.

Let me leave you with this wonderful quote from Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation.

“In the last century, philanthropy changed the world in ways many thought never possible. Our capacity to create transformative change has never been greater. We have more resources, more connections, more possibilities than ever before. And by leveraging the explosive capabilities of new technology, we have the power to ensure that diverse voices are included in solving the problems that humanity will face over the next 100 years. This is our opportunity, our obligation, our moment, and I have every confidence that together we will rise to meet it.”

References:

Our Shared Seas 2019 / CEA Consulting / Lucile Packard Foundation

Arksen become leaders in sustainability

Arksen has today announced its partnership with MarineShift360. The venture, delivering a new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool for the global marine industry, will see a collaboration between multiple businesses contributing valuable data from their materials and design processes to further develop the LCA tool ahead of its commercial release in late 2019.

Sustainability has been at the heart of Arksen’s ethos from the outset and this partnership displays their commitment to drive a new wave of sustainable adventure, research and exploration. By taking a combined approach that not only seeks to create exceptional products, built with their full lifecycle in mind, but also working closely with their community of owners to ensure the fleet is used to inspire a greater understanding of, and have a positive impact on, the ocean ecosystem through the support of projects funded by the Arksen Foundation.

Arksen joins marine industry businesses; Allen Brothers, Emkay Plastics, Multiplast, Princess Yachts, RS Sailing and Wessex Resins as the first seven companies to collaborate on the project.  

Motivated by consumer demand and expected changes to legislation, the marine industry is under the spotlight to make advances in closed-loop product design, moving away from the linear ‘take-make-waste’ approach and towards a circular economy. In collaboration with founding sponsor 11th Hour Racing, an international organisation that harnesses the power of sport to innovate change for the health of our oceans, MarineShift360 is actively developing its LCA tool to equip the industry with the means to understand product sustainability. 

The LCA tool quantifies the environmental impacts of a product’s full life cycle, from raw materials to disposal, ultimately allowing the user to make informed decisions at the design stage to mitigate such impacts. The pilot partners will work alongside MarineShift360 to tailor the tool to the unique needs of marine businesses in a bid to empower the wider industry to make smart choices within design and manufacturing processes. The project will continue to forge new partnerships to further enhance the performance of the tool, with the vision of creating a tool that is built by the industry, for the industry. 

Jasper Smith, CEO of Arksen commented on the partnership: “By reinventing the modern explorer vessel we are inspiring a new generation of sailor and encouraging them to facilitate research that will contribute to a more profound understanding of the ocean ecosystem. Sustainability and deep technology are at the very core of the Arksen business, two fundamentals that we share with MarineShift360, a venture that will empower marine professionals to make informed decisions on materials and design choices through thorough data analysis and owners to make purchase decisions based on product and environmental impact. We are excited to work with the team and to help lead a drive towards sustainable practices across the whole marine sector.” 

Todd McGuire, Program Director at 11th Hour Racing, founding sponsor of MarineShift360, says: “The new partners are already leaders in their respective fields, and joining this collaboration enables them to become leaders also in sustainability. There is no time like the present to adopt sustainability practices, both for business and environmental reasons, ensuring end-of-life considerations are embedded at the design stage. By gathering reliable data from the partners, MarineShift360 will develop a fully comprehensive database that supports a life cycle assessment tool tailored to the needs of the marine industry. Once complete, the tool will empower users to compare choices and investigate alternative materials that increase efficiency and reduce costs, leading to innovation in design – our ultimate goal for this project.”

Craig Simmons, Chief Technology Officer at Anthesis, a life cycle assessment expert who is acting as an advisor to MarineShift360, says: “Like all sectors, the marine industry needs to respond to the ‘triple whammy’ of increasingly eco-conscious consumers, the rising cost of raw materials, and a tougher regulatory environment.  Design innovation sits at the heart of this, and the new LCA tool will help businesses to make smarter design choices; making better use of resources, improving efficiency and better responding to market needs.”

To find out more about the tool and the exclusive benefits of becoming a Pilot Partner please visit: www.marineshiftt360.org  

All businesses in the marine industry are encouraged to provide immediate input by taking part in a questionnaire on the MarineShift360 website, which will help ensure the data and processes modelled are useful industry wide: https://marineshift360.org/questionnaire-form

Melting Traditions
Words and images by Nico Wills (Adventure & Research Consultant at Arksen)

Last year I had the privilege to spend some time up in Greenland, living on the fringes of the civilised world in a place where modern and old cultures clash. The Inuit way of life is in as much threat from the constant change in the Arctic climate as the wildlife is, but it is often less documented. The traditional use of dogs and sledges for transport of goods and people is under threat as warmer conditions make the process untenable. In a land where the only road exists within and stops on the edges of the village the degrading of these traditional routes is of major concern to the locals but less known in the outside world.

1. Stepping out on the ice I could see my team ahead. The musher, seal-skin clothing replaced by modern ski wear, ready and waiting. The dogs rested on the ice, oblivious to the cold. The Inuit still use dogs and sledges for hunting and transport, something they have done for thousands of years.

2. With the drivers unsure one steps out further onto the ice to test the route. Armed only with a long pole that has a foot long metal spike attached, he rams this repeatedly into the ice ahead of him, probing, testing. He concludes that the incoming Spring has done its work. The paths are too weak to continue. Returning we load up our kit, turn the sledges and head back to the village.

3. The Inuit still cover ground over ancient paths. Routes from and to village weave through valleys and mountains, over ice up the east coast of Greenland. Another year of unseasonably warm weather has meant that a month ahead of normal the teams may have to stop running their routes. The sledges sink up to the tops of their runners in the soft ice and snow, the dogs gainfully battling to drag us through the slushy mess.

4. The Inuit sledge and tools have not changed in centuries. Maybe some modern components help such as plastic on the runners, but otherwise, all is as of old — a wooden sledge, a seal rawhide whip and spiked pole to test the ice. Mushing is a physical undertaking. Rather than stoically standing at the back of the sledge the drivers are continually moving. From back to front they go, cajoling the dogs and the sledge to go where they need it, physically lifting and dragging both where required.

5. Further into the valleys, the going is harder and harder, the dogs fighting for every foot of ground gained. Stopping, the three team leaders rest in the sunshine. Overhead the sound of crashing water heralds yet another avalanche as sun-baked slopes collapse. Worried about the thickness of the ice the leaders are not sure whether heading further is safe or not.

6. On the edges of the village are the sledge teams — packs of huskies, tethered by chains and left out in the wind and snow. As I drew closer, the lead dog started a baleful howl of alert, soon picked up by the rest of the dogs.

7. Huskies truly are an incredible animal, the Greenland version being small but touch, its energy and enthusiasm boundless. Hardened against the cold they curl up to sleep in the snow. When extra heat is needed a scrum can sometimes occur as they pile on top of each other. They truly love to run, stray dogs left out from the team often joining in despite not being harnessed.

8. Heading home from the teams more dogs on sentry stand watch outside their owner’s homes. Unlike guard dogs back home these are used to ward off more significant threats. Also affected by the early ice melt, polar bears are frequent visitors to the village in search of food as their seal hunting seasons grow shorter. Locals have woken in the night to behemoth intruders inside their houses searching for extra morsels to tide them over.

9. At his merest sound, the dogs leap into frenzied action. Usually quiet and reserved my musher too comes alive when with his team, a constant stream of whistles and sounds guiding his dogs forward. Higher up the snow has melted fast, and the sticky mess slows the team as they struggle uphill. Their instinct is to turn for home. Deftly the musher flicks his whip left and right of them. Never touching but the threat guiding them back on the path.