Summer 2019 Update and FAQ on whats been going on !
Let’s start with an apology to our current fleet members, and also all those who have been waiting for a website reply. You might be wondering what’s been happening with the project and where on earth we have we been! - well below is a quick FAQ that will hopefully answer all of those questions!
You initially launched last July with; BBC Breakfast TV, BBC Newsround TV, BBC online NEWS and multiple other online news outlets covering the project - What was the impact of this?
It was simply incredible! ...... the response was much bigger than we ever expected and that was both a good and a bad thing! To do the project justice, to do this properly we were going to need more help and more resource!
We had initially planned a Beta development fleet of perhaps a dozen boats and we now had a high caliber Beta fleet of over eighty boats spread globally. BBC news is truly a bill board for global news outlets and the story absolutely went global, with boats from every Ocean and many of the popular cruising areas signing up and wanting to get involved!
We have been wondering what is going on - why the period of radio silence?
Just as we were signing up new fleet members and responding to the huge media interest generated last summer, we also began to be repeatedly approached by a potential buyer for our Humphreys Custom 40 ft. Long story short, we really didn’t want to sell her but we discussed it with our team. The group conclusion was that it could be an opportunity to put some additional funding into the project and perhaps switch to an even more capable lead vessel in the process.
In the end it was a highly protracted and very painful exercise, which we won't bore you with! Suffice to say we are very pleased it's all over now!
We are so excited to be back up and running again! With a new energy and a new lead vessel. We know the project will now be even more impactful thanks to the expanded project structure we are creating right now! The public interest and support from cruisers, environmentalists and scientists for what we are doing has grown hugely in the last year. We are so excited to share this journey with you as the project gets properly under way!
Where have you been?
It is safe to say that moving homes is one of the most complex things we do in life. However, moving floating homes we can honestly say is way more complex again! (Especially when the boat you find is on the other side of the planet!) The sale of our boat and search for a new boat did rather become all encompassing and until it was all sorted and we were on a firmer footing to move the project forwards, we have been by necessity, a little bit quiet! Thanks again to the Paul the broker, John and Nikki the previous owners, John the surveyor and the amazing marina staff in Malaysia for making the purchase of our new boat an absolute pleasure! Full story on that process soon.
Why change boats ?
We had someone who really wanted our last boat and we had hoped that selling it would be an opportunity to further fund the project and potentially switch to a more capable Fleet Science development platform. In the end it was very protracted and painful process, but we are through it now. We are really enjoying refitting the new boat, getting her ready to host scientists, journalists and environmentalists.
Tell us about the new boat - Why choose a catamaran this time around?
We have sailed extensively on both Monohulls and Catamarans and we very much enjoy sailing both! On the search for a floating home the first time around, a Cat was actually our first choice, however we really struggled to find what we wanted at that time of searching. When the Humphreys Custom 40 Monohull ‘Alisara’ came up for sale, she was just too good a yacht to miss out on in that moment. The universe always has a plan!, if we hadn’t have owned and sold Alisara, we wouldn’t have found the Custom built Catamaran we have now! so at the moment it all feels very much like it was meant to be!
Moving to a catamaran we can; more easily host scientists, environmentalists, journalists and have a potentially greater impact as the lead vessel for the project. BTW we aren’t in any way saying that it’s not doable to be part of the fleet if you own a monohull! it’s just that for us, this time around, it made more sense to move aboard a cat. The extra deck space also makes it easier to prepare and deploy research equipment and at seven meters wide she is a safe and stable platform for us all to work from.
Having lifting daggerboards, lifting outboards engines and kick up rudders means we can now safely dry out entirely and get back afloat in just half a meter of water! This means we can access extremely shallow coastal waters, which are seldom visited by researchers and represent some of the most vulnerable marine habitats on the planet.
The Schionning Cosmos design, has narrow easily driven hull forms and lifting dagger boards. She sails really well to windward and she can make way in very little breeze. Fast, comfortable and safe she is an ideal extended cruising vessel with many Cosmos’ having successfully taken couples and families around the world.
Why go for a custom built boat again?
Having now lived aboard a yacht full time for a few years, we have developed a much firmer view on whats actually needed in a long term live aboard and that really helped and steered us in our search for a new floating home. Our new Catamaran was custom built specifically for a couple cruising long term with space to host up to four visitors very comfortably, so an absolutely ideal fit !
The new Given Time ( Yes we kept the name! ) is a Schionning 1160 cosmos design. She is stretched to 1190 in our case and is also made a little wider at 7 meters rather than the standard designed 6.7 meters - so with the bow sprit fitted she is actually over 13 meters or 42ft long. Photos HERE.
She was yard built using; West Epoxy, Durakore strip planking, Duflex panels for bulkheads and fit out. She was built by professionals, to a great standard and better still she was built by that boatbuilder, for his own long term use! Many thousands of man hours went into her production and John started buying parts to build her in 2005 with her first launching in 2011. She has been laid up for 4 years, so was only actually only cruised for 4 years. She needs a little TLC having been laid up for so long, but having been so well built and well looked after, none of the work to come is too major or difficult. So it’s routine work up maintenance for a cruiser of this age, such as; standing rigging, running rigging ,engine servicing, new solar panels and this mini refit will set her up to go back in the water, good to go for many years to come! We really cannot wait!
What’s going on with the project ?
The project is very much back on track! We have been busy having meetings that will accelerate the project! We are so excited to share the details of the new partnerships and resources very soon! Watch this space!
We have been working closely with our lead science advisor, Dr Steve Simpson, to plan out and film a selection of videos outlining the types of data you as members of the fleet can collect with our upcoming series of step by step ‘how to’ video guides.
The first of these “How To” videos is on fish dissection. With Dr Steve and Ben Williams one of Dr Steve’s marine biology masters students staring! So for when you catch a fish on passage, this video will explain the dissection process in full and outline the highly valuable data you can easily collect from the fish. That data set these dissections produce is critical to understanding local ocean health. Easy and quick to do and the great news is you still get to eat the fish as normal afterwards!
We were recently lucky enough to be able to film Ben creating the Fleet Science fish dissection instructional video in one of Exeter University’s fantastic science labs! This video is the first to form part of the multiple high quality marine research resources that will be made available to all fleet members.
What is happening with the fleet science app.?
The Fleet Science App got to the prototype stage thanks to the great work by the teams from Amsterdam University, Institute of informatics! thanks again to all those involved! The key to bringing it to maturity and making it available free to all isn’t actually the app development itself. Rather it is the back haul of data and the storage resource required for the huge amount of imagery, audio and video files that the fleet will all be generating. We are in talks with multiple potential hosting partners. We are determined to preserve a true open source, citizen science resource for anyone to access! Be that a scientist, an environmentalist , a journalist or better still a science teacher! More news on this to follow as we meet with potential partners. Do please get in touch if think you yourself, or an organisation you are working with could help with the Fleet Science project!
Again, sorry for the radio silence and we hope you now understand just a little of the good reasons for it!
Moving forward we will be reporting project updates more often and sharing refit progress on our new boat as we prepare it as the lead vessel for the Given Time Fleet Science Mission!
We are excited to have you on board and a big hello to those who have just joined the fleet!
Fair winds and following seas.
All the best,
Conor and Sarah x
Please check out our social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter - @svgiventime
Interested in how you can help and thinking of joining? Please get in touch via the contact us page.
Article by our Partner Red Paddle Co.
Thanks to our fantastic partner, Red Paddle Co. for the "Behind the Seas" article on their website, link below:
Our Red Paddle Co SUP's allow us to enter really shallow waters silently and with minimum impact to collect samples and monitor marine noise in a way that would not have otherwise been possible.
These shallow estuaries are some of the most at risk and vulnerable waters and some of the least explored because of their shallow nature!
Already used with our Lead Scientist Dr Steve Simpson in our filming with BBC Newsround and BBC Online, they have already proved themselves as invaluable tools!
The boards also give us a route to getting around in a more sustainable way when cruising!
Thanks again Red Paddle Co!
Conor and Sarah
FLEET CALL UP: SAILORS, ROWERS, PADDLE BOARDERS, KAYAKERS, DIVERS, FISHERMAN, SWIMMERS – WATER SPORTS PEOPLE OF ALL FLAVOURS!
Anyone spending time on the water can make a huge difference to the data we can collect as a fleet! – It's always been the plan to reach out to all those that spend time on the water. Even people walking their dogs on a beach will be able to use the App to record what they see!
So if you enjoy water sports of any kind or just a brisk walk on your local beach! then you can still join the fleet – we would love to hear from you! Please get in touch!
The BBC coverage is making laps of the planet! The articles are being copied/syndicated worldwide and the net effect is more and more long term live aboard sailing boats are getting in touch wanting to join the fleet and help science!
From families wanting to make their circumnavigation more meaningful (and to help with home educating their children), to retired scientists eager to keep doing worthwhile science, to couples hungry for adventure but wanting to their trip to be more than just a lap around the planet (like us!) to those crews that just want to help because the ocean is their home! - Thanks so much to all of you for getting in touch!!
It’s been a bonkers couple of weeks and we will be getting back to you very shortly to capture specific data about you, your vessel and your intended cruising plans. The plan is to provide a basic set of observational science we would like you to collect while the science team led by Dr Steve develop more formal data sets which will include basic equipment!
To those who have been in touch - Welcome to the Fleet!
It’s one of the joys of being in a remote anchorage to be able to chat with and trade with sustainable fishing families. It may be for some fishing hooks, fuel, a T shirt, cans of food, sugar or sometimes simply a bit of cash. The key here is these families are fishing locally and what’s in their catch tells a vital story about fish stock in that local area. Asking them what they catch now compared to what their fathers/mothers/grandfathers/grandmothers used to catch provides vital information about the migration of marine life and the changing of ocean conditions.
As we build up a tool kit of equipment and the app to automate the collection of data and make it as easy as possible for the fleet to collect unique and valuable data sets – we still want them to start thinking about interesting things they can record.
One off ocean events and long term sailors: Those who make the oceans their home are many times more likely to see “one off ocean events” than a marine ecologist – who may wait a lifetime to see just one!
These could be mass spawning events, mass migrations or even floating Whale Poo 💩 (yes really, this rich mix of nutrients in the poop is the start of a complex cascade effect that sustains the oceans!) –collecting some of this Poo will be one of our ultimate data sets.
These one off ocean events, basically something that has you saying “Blimey I’ve never seen that before” should be quickly followed by grabbing your camera to take a picture, some video and to make a note of the time, date and GPS. These one off ocean events are super rare and they tell a story about the health of our oceans that are a key part of the ecology puzzle.
Sadly these may also be coming across a mass of manmade material, such as plastic – again getting close enough to get a good picture to ground truth that man made material with the date time and GPS will fuel the development of the next generation of orbital satellite devices that will be able to help us track and measure the man made material on our oceans. Remember we will eventually need a way to find it so we can clear it up!
To have the opportunity to talk about the project on a BBC breakfast prime time slot was hugely valuable and given that these issues are going to take us generations to fix also having time on BBC Newsround and BBC Newsround Digital to reach out to children was simply fantastic! The education and outreach elements of the project are fundamental to what we are trying to achieve! So being able to reach out to the next generation who will ultimately inherit these problems and be the one to fix them - that was a really powerful opportunity and one we grabbed at wholeheartedly!
I give away my age by saying I remember a time before the interwebs where John Craven on BBC Newsround updated the younger generation on what was happening in the world and it was a great way as a child to get a feel for global issues – Followed by the team on BBC Blue Peter and I still miss tomorrows world !
** BBC Newsround's Ricky interviewing Dr Steve on our RED paddle boards **
Thanks again to BBC Newsround's Ricky Boleto, Laura the BBC Producer and the film crew for listening to our story and being such a great crew on Given Time for the day! You are welcome back any time! Caribbean next time yes?
L-R: Dr Steve Simpson (Exeter Uni), Richard Knight (Mettle PR), Jon Amos (BBC News)
We were lucky enough to have Jon Amos – BBC Science correspondent on board for a day to talk with ourselves and Dr Steve about the state of our oceans, our project and the huge challenge we as a team have taken on.
It was great to have him on board for the day and you can see the fantastic article he wrote here on BBC News: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44661953
Jon was able to see first-hand how we are uniquely placed to help the science community – A sailing yachts ability to run silent provides unique opportunities for collecting truly valuable sound data and the fact that long term sailors go to places research boats will just never reach!
It’s a true pleasure to talk with someone so knowledgeable about science and the issues that face humanity and we look forward to updating Jon with progress in the coming months!
It’s fair to say that the BBC is totally the notice board for the world when it comes to interesting news! So to have our story told, with links and details of what we are doing as a team, as a project and have that shared on the BBC here right at the start was simply fantastic! To get the amazing response that we did just validates all our efforts to date and makes us all the more driven to make a real difference with this project and the Fleet Science Mission.
The net effect has been to get the project off to a truly great start with some simply game changing coverage on BBC Breakfast News, BBC Newsround and BBC News online. Our BBC News online story was retweeted by BBC News twitter accounts to 9.4 Million followers, the effect of which we are still seeing every day.
We have been blown away by the amazing response we have had from cruisers spread all over the world and we will soon be getting them to start collecting basic data as part of a beta programme to aid the development of the App, portal and database.
Dr Steve and the team at Exeter have already started looking in more detail at what could be easily provided to each vessel to supercharge the kinds of data collected and allow truly unique and valuable data sets to start to be produced on a global scale!
The steps to get the App operational and the supporting online portal and database will take us a little longer! The sheer size of the database and the cost to get the app, online portal and database completed has to be met – So we are talking to potential partners that can help us get the app to a Beta state and have the infrastructure to store what is likely to be a huge amount of sound and video files – making everything accessible to the public especially school children and the science community in a way that makes it valuable for all - this is not a small task! So watch this space for updates!
BBC News Online Article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44661953
BBC Newsround: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/44668624