15 days ago, Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist hopped aboard a sail-powered yacht to begin her journey from the UK to the US. The 16 year old has now reached North Cove Marina at the southern tip of Manhattan, just in time to appear at the UN Climate Action Summit.
Thunberg aimed to travel to the event using an eco-friendly mode of transport, to avoid contributing to harmful carbon emissions. Her vow to avoid air travel has sparked plenty of media coverage and shone a light on the damage the overuse of planes is having on our environment.
Her choice of vehicle was the Malizia II, a 60ft monohull. Launched in 2015, the boat is 18.28m in length, with an upwind sail area of 290 and a downwind sail area of 490. The planing hull is equipped with a high volume bow which improves the sail boat’s speed and performance. It features a ‘tumblehome’ hull shape - this means that the beam at the sheer is below the maximum beam of the hull. This shape limits the beam of the deck, making the boat more lightweight. Other features include a reduced freeboard, a flat deck, open cockpit and foils rather than conventional rudders. The boat weighs 8 tonnes and runs with underwater turbines, causing no carbon emissions.
The boat travelled from Plymouth to New York over 15 days, tackling the 3000 mile stretch across the Atlantic. Although the journey was supposed to be shorter. Rough conditions slowed the boat’s progress as they encountered harsh weather fronts. The yacht had no shower or toilet and the party onboard survived on freeze-dried food. This was no easy feat for the 16 year old Nobel Prize nominee.
Greta Thunberg arrived at Coney Island in Brooklyn at 4am to allow the passengers to clear customs and immigration before heading to their final destination. The activist celebrated her travels with a series of tweets:
Land!! The lights of Long Island and New York City ahead. pic.twitter.com/OtDyQOWtF5— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) August 28, 2019
Sailing into New York. pic.twitter.com/SlC1IA8R0h— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) August 28, 2019 August 28, 2019
More than 200 people gathered in Manhattan in the rain on Wednesday to greet Greta and her team, many of whom have stood behind her in her Fridays for Future campaign. This is an initiative led by Thunberg to encourage students to skip school on Fridays to point a spotlight on the urgency of the climate crisis. This scheme was the inspiration behind hundreds of school strikes that happened across the world last spring. Whilst in New York, Greta plans to attend a Fridays for Future climate strike later in the week.
Greta will appear at the UN Climate Summit on September 23rd, before heading onto the COP25 climate conference in Chile in December.