Kirsty Young from Duns was one of ten women chosen from over ten thousand applicants to set sail on leg one of eXXpedition Round the World from Sutton Harbour in Plymouth earlier this month.
eXXpedition Round the World is an all-female sailing voyage and research mission that will see three hundred women circumnavigating the world, conducting cutting edge research into plastic pollution whilst celebrating women in STEM, exploration and sailing.
SV TravelEdge set sail from Sutton Harbour in Plymouth and is due to sail thirty eight thousand nautical miles, culminating back in London in 2021.
Kirsty’s leg was estimated to take nine days sailing 1200 nautical miles from Plymouth across the Atlantic Ocean to Saó Miguel in the Azores.
After battling through storms that caused damage to both the boat and sails the voyage took nearly thirteen days and covered a total of 1617 nautical miles.
Kirsty, 26, who has no previous sailing experience described the voyage as the most challenging thing she has experienced.
She said: “It was the first time I have been on a boat so knew it was going to be a challenge, however, I definitely underestimated the enormity of the task and just how vast and unforgiving the Atlantic Ocean can be.
“It was not just a physical challenge to sail the boat in the treacherous weather and storms we were faced with but a huge mental one to stay optimistic and carry on whist it felt like the world was against us.
“Being adaptable is a skill I’ve never fully appreciated until this voyage and it was certainly put it to the test as the ocean state changed so fast and often.”
Despite the conditions the crew of 10 novice sailors undertook the science research required.
“We were expecting to find very little plastic due to our location and the choppy conditions. However, we were all shocked when our first sample contained 88 pieces of micro-plastic. It’s made me realise the severity of the situation, a cleanup of the ocean isn’t a solution, it’s too far gone. We need to focus on ways to stop plastic getting into the ocean at the source and start to refuse single use plastics completely which is understandably easier said than done.” stated Kirsty.
The world voyage and research is being funded partly funded by the crew sailing on each leg and it was a challenge Kirsty to raise the money in such a short space of time to take part in the eXXpedition, “I would like to take the opportunity to thank friends, family and colleagues who have supported me and put up with my relentless fundraising and preparation on the lead up to the voyage.”
For more information or to track the rest of the eXXpedition Round the World: www.exxpedition.com/expedition/round-the-world/