Atlantic crossing draws near


Arran sailor Sue Weaver prepares to battle pollution by undertaking the voyage of a lifetime.

Sue Weaver has been an enthusiastic sailor for years – but she’s about to take her pastime to a whole new level.

Voyages round Scotland’s coast and islands have given her great satisfaction, but she is now preparing to sail across the Atlantic as part of an all-female team researching and highlighting marine pollution.

Sue, who lives at Kildonan on the southern tip of Arran, will be one of 14 crew members sailing the yacht Sea Dragon from Lanzarote to Martinique. On their way they will be taking samples and making a film to highlight the harm done by plastics and chemicals, particularly those linked with rising rates of breast cancer.

She is a member of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust, known as COAST, and is raising sponsor money for the trust in the build-up to the journey, which is to start on 16 November. She is also raising funds to pay for filming equipment to be used on the journey.

Sue sailing Scillies

She says: “I have done a lot of sailing over the years. I’ve sailed to Orkney and to St Kilda a couple of times, but have no experience of anything like this. I’ve gazed west from St Kilda and thought ‘Maybe one day…’ and now it’s going to happen.“The yacht is twice the size I am used to, but we will have a strong, experienced crew. The conditions at this time of year should be warm and sunny, with a gentle trade wind blowing us westward and a nice rolling swell – but you never know.”

The project, called exxpedition 2014, has brought together a crew from all over the world, with some members chosen for their scientific background and others for their sailing skills. Sea Dragon, which is a steel-hulled yacht 22 metres long, was built for the 2000 Global Challenge Race and later converted into a research vessel with laboratory space and scientific equipment.

Sue, who spends much of her time planting trees on her seven-acre plot of land, is a keen environmental activist and her membership of COAST is part of this. She says: “The work that COAST is doing is amazing, and having got Marine Protected Area status will make a real difference to marine life in this area.”

Read more about Sue’s trip here.

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