Today, a ship will set sail with a crew of students from TU/e, WUR, UU and UMC Utrecht. Their motto: ‘All hands on deck for the SDGs’. The voyage has been shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the student sailors will only pass along the Dutch coast instead of the entire Atlantic coast of Europe. But the learning experience will be just as valuable as preparation for their future international expeditions. The crew members will issue daily reports on their experiences. You can follow them via blogs and vlogs at the Sailing for Impact website.

About Sailing for Impact

Sailing for Impact is an idea by Utrecht lecturer Peter Linde, and was made possible by the alliance. “It stands for completing a meaningful final graduation assignment”, says Peter Linde. “A sailing boat is an effective and sustainable vehicle for connecting people, ideas and places. The ship and her crew will literally sail through the transition. Learning in, and from, nature can be an important source of inspiration. The crew is extremely dependent on one another, and will work together to sail the vessel and to arrive at an interdisciplinary, overarching narrative about the sailing expedition as a vital part and catalyst for education innovation.”

Original plan

The original plan was for an eight-week sailing expedition along the Atlantic and Baltic coasts, with 15 Master’s students from TUe, WUR, UU and UMC Utrecht. The students have been intensively involved in the preparation since last September. But despite all of the precautions taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19, in late March the decision was made that the expedition would not take place this year. Linde: “That was a massive disappointment, of course. The good news is that the crew stuck together, despite the bad news. The crew met every week online to support one another in setting up and conducting their individual final research projects.”

Sailing voyage 21 to 27 June

Now that the control measures have been lifted, they have planned another voyage for the period 21-27 June. “By staying within the confines of the Ijsselmeer and the Wadden Sea, we can comply with the guidelines issued by the government and the universities. We’ll also abide by the coronavirus protocols for chartered sailing vessels. The journey will enable us to complete the project that been working on together since September, and to complete it in style.”

Further programme

The ship and crew will visit the NIOZ on the island of Texel and the Nautical College in Enkhuizen.  The students will meet the Sea Ranger Service in Den Helder and conclude the voyage with a joint programme  on the island of Pampus with the Pampus Foundation and the business network with the ambition of making the island completely circular and taking it ‘off the grid’. Along the way, some academic supervisors from WUR and UU will come aboard to work and sail together with the crew. The closing assembly will explore the contours of the upcoming Sailing for Impact expeditions.