A new state of the art yacht, called Friends of the Earth, will set sail this week (w/c 12 June) from Cape Town, South Africa to highlight the need for national and international action on climate change.

12 June 2006

The yacht will begin sea trials before taking part in the one of the world’s most challenging solo races – the transatlantic La Route du Rhum – in October. The 2006 Route du Rhum will be the first international race for the Class 40 yacht.

British born skipper, Jonathan Crinion, will be sailing the high seas in support of Friends of the Earth’s climate campaign to highlight the need for national and international action on climate change.

Jonathan Crinion worked with Owen Clarke Design, the naval architects responsible for Ellen MacArthur’s victory in the 2000 Europe New Man Star Race, to develop a state of the art racing yacht and a showcase for some of the technological solutions to climate change. Environmentally friendly features include four solar panels which will power the yacht’s electrical equipment and a solar shower.

Jonathan Crinion said:

“The Route du Rhum is one of the world’s premier long distance races and I am thrilled to have the chance to sail against some of the best sailors in the world. I am equally thrilled to be sailing in support of Friends of the Earth’s climate campaign. It shows that the solutions to climate change already exist and there is still time to take action.”

Friends of the Earth Executive Director in the UK, Tony Juniper said:

“The ‘Friends of the Earth’ yacht will be using the power of the wind and sun to compete in the Route du Rhum. Wind and solar power are just two of the many solutions to climate change that already exist but which are being largely overlooked. That’s why in the UK our climate campaign is calling for the introduction of a climate change law which will commit the UK to making annual cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.”

The yacht’s maiden voyage will take it from Cape Town via the Azores to Falmouth in UK to finalise preparations ahead of La Route du Rhum which begins in St. Malo in France on Sunday 29th October 2006 and finishes at Pointe à Pitre in Guadeloupe. The competition marks the start of a two year race programme.

In the UK Friends of the Earth is calling for the Government to introduce a climate law that will commit it to cutting the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions by three per cent year on year. For more information go to www.thebigask.com


In the UK contact Anna Mitchell of Friends of the Earth on: +44 (0) 207 566 1664 or +44 (0) 207 566 1649 or email at annam@foe.co.uk

In France: Anne Bringault, Les Amis de la Terre France: Tel: +33 14851 1891 or emailcoordination@amisdelaterre.org

In the US : Lisa Grob, Friends of the Earth US: Tel: +1 202 222 0744 l or email:LGrob@foe.org

Pictures of the yacht and Jonathan Crinion are available fromhttp://www.foe.co.uk/resource/images/yacht_2006 .

For more information on climate change visit https://www.foei.org/climate


Features of ‘Friends of the Earth’ yacht:

  • The yacht is powered using energy from the wind and the sun – the only non renewable energy source is a lightweight diesel engine that is used to power the boat in and out of port.
  • All the navigation equipment, the auto pilot, lights, pump and the computer run off a bank of 12 volt batteries that are recharged using four solar panels – one on either side of the stern and two on top of the coach roof.
  • Owen Clarke Design designed a fast and efficient yacht. The hull foils have been designed to provide the least resistance when the yacht moves through the water while the sail configurations are designed to extract the maximum power from the wind.
  • As lighter yachts are faster and more efficient the yacht uses the least amount of material possible – it has no interior fit other than a box over the engine, a small navigation stable and four aluminium frame pipe cots.
  • There is no fridge on board to sap energy. Working with a nutritionist Jonathan Crinion has developed a tasty and healthy diet and menu plan that does not require refrigeration.
  • There is a solar shower – a simple black bag of water which is heated by the sun when hung from the boom on a sunny day.
  • All fittings are designed to be energy efficient, from the interior and navigation lights to the stove.
  • On board cleaners and soaps are all environmentally biodegradable.
  • The boat hull does not use any toxic antifouling to prevent algae growth – instead the boats hull will be regularly scrubbed.


Jonathan Crinion’s website is http://www.jonathancrinion.com 
Jonathan Crinion was born in Liverpool, England in 1953. He has cruised and raced all his life and has competed in numerous races including the Fastnet and Round the Island in the UK and many ‘round the cans’ races in, Canada, South Africa and the UK among many others. When he isn’t sailing Jonathan heads up his own industrial design company, Crinion Associates Ltd. He has won a number of awards for his work and in 1994 was chosen by International Design Magazine as one of the ‘International Design 40’, a selection of the world’s top 40 designers. Jonathan’s environmental designs include wind turbines for use on homes and yachts. Jonathan and his partner Stephanie have two daughters, Jennifer and Zoe.

La Route du Rhum

La Route du Rhum has a long and illustrious history with a reputation for being one of the toughest trans-Atlantic races. La Route du Rhum starts in St. Malo on 28th October 2006. The boats head into Biscay, which in October and November can present very tough conditions. The boats then turn south into the Atlantic on route to Guadeloupe – a distance of 3400 miles. The fleet will pass the Canaries and Cape Verde islands before tactically deciding whether to sail the shorter distance and try and negotiate the tricky Azores high pressure, or dive Deep South and pick up the south-east trades. Ellen MacArthur won the monohull class of the last Route du Rhum race in 2002.