COP25 starts this Monday in Madrid and the activist, Greta Thunberg, continues his long journey to arrive on time and attend conferences. The activist announced on Sunday that she will arrive in Lisbon on Tuesday, from where she will leave for the summit. Its main objective is to be able to participate in the march for the weather – framed in the student strikes that she started more than a year ago, Fridays for Future – that will take place in the Spanish capital on Friday, December 6.
The interest of Greta Thunberg that his trip from the United States to Spain was as sustainable as possible made him refuse to ride by plane or commercial ships, so he is crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a catamaran called The Vagabonde, offered by Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu, a couple of influencers Australians who, along with their 11 month old baby (Lenny), travel the world and record your adventures to upload to YouTube. This boat has a diesel engine that is not used constantly, as it also has sails and solar panels to be more ecological.
The inclement weather typical of this time of year has turned the trip into a complicated journey and in which they have been forced to overcome several storms of great strength. "La Vagabonde has seen more wind than ever on this trip," Elayna Carausu, one of the owners of the catamaran, said on the seventh day of travel.
Day 6. Sunshine sailing north of Bermuda! Had some rough weather but very happy and comfortable onboard La Vagabonde. Now heading for the Azores. pic.twitter.com/kH0FCvDFYE
– Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) November 18, 2019
Thunberg left Virginia (USA) on November 13, 20 days ago, and during this time they have had to face gusts of wind between 40 and 50 knots (between 75 and 90 kilometers per hour) and six meter waves, as they have been informing crew members through social networks. Carausu said that one night they were in the middle of a thunderstorm but, in that same publication, he assured that everything had happened and they were well.
The main problem involved in this trip is that the routes from America to Europe are usually made in other months of the year. Marcos Pérez, Galician navigator who has made trips through the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and has competed at European level, considers that traveling to Europe at this time is unusual.
"Generally, in the middle or the end of November, when hurricanes begin to disappear, it is when you go to America. Then you pass the time of hurricanes or tropical storms to come from winter from there to summer from here. To do otherwise is to go bit against the tide, "he tells EL ESPAÑOL.
Despite the dangers that such a trip can have, Pérez says that Thunberg is in good hands since both Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu have at least four years of experience, the time they have been going around the world, "and they will have lived many situations to face this challenge." They also have the help of Nikki Henderson, a British professional navigator who offered to accompany them on the trip.
In total, six people are on board the La Vagonde since Svante Thunberg, Greta's father, accompanies her. Neither Greta nor Svante have much experience in navigation although they already made a similar tour in August, when they attended the UN Climate Summit in New York.
In this sense, Marcos Pérez emphasizes that the most important thing is "to have the courage and motivation to make a trip of this type". "The person must know what the sea is. In the sea there is nowhere to hold on, there is nothing, It is a hostile environment to function. On that, day to day is work. You can distribute the functions as the guards, who makes the food … You must reach a pleasant coexistence, "he says.
A comfortable but slower ship
The Vagabonde is a "luxury" boat compared to Malizia II, the racing sailboat with which Greta Thunberg arrived in New York, since it is larger (it is 48 feet long – about 15 meters long -) and has several cabins and a common lounge. But, without a doubt, what makes it more habitable is the fact that it has a bathroom, something that was not in Malizia II.
The road from Plymouth (United Kingdom) to New York lasted 14 days, but this time Thunberg is going to take 21 (if your goal of arriving on Tuesday is met). One of the reasons is the difference of the boats. Although La Vagabonde can reach a great speed, there is no comparison with Malizia II which, as Marcos Pérez says, "is a ship around the world that reaches vertigo speeds. The catamaran is not like a racing sailboat. "
There is also wind difference. "From Spain to the Caribbean you have east winds, trade winds, which go to the Caribbean and then return to Europe from the north. What you are looking for is to always be pushed behind to get speed."
The problem is that during much of the trip, La Vagabonde has not had high-intensity winds that come from the stern – behind the ship – which has slowed the trip. This way, Greta Thunberg goes against the clock to get to the Summit in Madrid on time and, above all, on the march for the weather next Friday.
However, in recent days they have taken favorable winds, which has allowed it to announce its early arrival in the Portuguese capital. "We are proud to say that at dusk we broke the speed record from La Vagabonde and we reached 23.8 knots (44 km / h)! "Nikki Henderson wrote on Facebook, in one of his daily updates about the trip.
600 km from Lisbon to Madrid
Once disembarking in Lisbon, Greta Thunberg will have to embark on a path of something over 600 kilometers to the capital of Spain. To make this last stage as sustainable as possible, the Junta de Extremadura put at your disposal an electric car, which has generated controversy because some platforms fighting for the preservation of the Extremaduran natural environment fear the commissioning of a lithium mine in Cáceres.
In case Thunberg accepts this offer, his journey will last about 12 hours more, due to the route he would have to follow to go through charging points, but that is another story.