Spring refit 2024

Better late than never – this years spring refit is almost finished and we hope to relaunch Proasis next week. The intense work of the past couple of month included the regular winter work such as bottom paint and minor general repairs/maintenance as well as three four major upgrade projects:

  • Two new bidirectional centerboards with internal cases in the leeward hull. The boards are set about 80 cm to each side of the middle of the hull. This allows to adjust the balance of the boat by adjusting them. Pulling up the aft one will make the boat turn upwind, pulling up the front one downwind and vice versa. We’ve already tried this on a WAM Proa in the Marshall Islands with great success and adopted it as standard design. For Proasis we expect a better upwind performance as well as an even better balance for singlehanded sailing.
  • A new solar array, wiring and a LiFePo battery. We replaced our old, crappy solar panels with something better and more durable and upgraded from a PWM solar charger to a Victron MPPT. Combined with a 1kWh LiFePo battery we hope to get a more powerful and long-lasting setup.
  • A new slip trolley. Proasis weights about 750kg and we have to move her about 250 m over a soft sand beach twice a year. Without any access for power vehicles thats quite a challenge. For this year have designed a trolley from galvanized steel with six huge balloon tires on ball bearings. Lets see how good that works.
  • Replacement of the beam lashings. Proasis is kept together by rope lashing around the beams and the hulls. Since we launched her for the first time we have never replaced or adjusted them so it was about time. We used the opportunity to carefully measure and realign the hulls and replace the old shock absorbers from rubber.

Marine litter in the Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands are located right on the edge of the great pacific garbage patch, a natural ocean gyre that accumulated enormous amounts of litter over the past couple of years. About 70% of the artificial debris that enters the ocean eventually sinks to the ground but the rest, mainly plastic, keeps floating around until it either brakes down to micro plastic or ends up on a shore. The great pacific garbage patch brings so much plastic to the shores of the Marshall Islands that it is sometimes hard to see the beach under the plastic.

A littered beach in Aur, a typical scene at the shore line

There are international standards (e.g. by UN and OSPAR) to measure the amount of pollution by conducting systematic beach cleanups: all litter within a certain stretch of beach is collected, sorted into categories, counted and weighed. Doing this on multiple beaches and over a longer period of time allows to track the origins of certain litter items and give valuable recommendations for stricter policies to politicians.

Plastic paradise in Majuro

Surprisingly we could not find any publication about the amount of beach litter in the Marshall Islands. Therefore Henrik conducted such a study on his own back in 2022. Since this was a purely voluntary effort it took a while to analyze all the data and write everything down but now we present you the first Baseline Study on Beach Litter in the Marshall Islands. This is still a very small study with limited data but at least its something. More research is urgently needed, it would be great to continue this work as part of a properly funded project.

A Vision is Turning into Reality

For centuries, the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) have been celebrated for their exceptional prowess in boat building and sailing. They regularly journeyed between atolls on expansive offshore canoes called Walap, some stretching up to 100 feet in length. Within the tranquil lagoons of their coral atolls, smaller outrigger canoe designs were used for tasks like food gathering and fishing. The NGO Waan Aelõñ in Majel (WAM) as part of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implemented Low Carbon Sea Transport project has revived the traditional knowledge and made it fit for today by merging it with contemporary technology. The new canoe designs offer much needed emission-free options for transportation and fishing. We have been supporting WAM and the Low Carbon Sea Transport project for the past 6 years and are very proud to see more and more of “our” yellow designs being used on the lagoons.

For more information check out the full article on www.changing-transport.org. This short movie shows the activities and achievements that took place at WAM in the past 6 years:

Video and article by GIZ Majuro.

Side Event at COP 28

Waan Aelon in Majel (WAM) and GIZ will present the Low Carbon Sea Transport Project in the Marshall Islands as a side event on the international climate conference COP28 in Dubai. The live stream starts 12/09/2023 | 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time):

https://www.international-climate-initiative.com/EVENT2531–1

See here for further information!

End of sailing season

Winter really kicked in recently so made the decision to use a lovely Sunday breeze and sail to our spot for the winter in Surendorf. It was a pleasant 4h sail in a light but freezing wind at -2°C. We actually ran into a couple of issues with our proa design because we never planned for ice building up here and there. Aside of making the deck slippery we initially couldn’t open the sliding hatch and fit the leeboard. The sheets and other ropes were stiff like sticks too, turning sailing into a hole new adventure.

Proasis is now on the hard for the next couple of months to protect her from the winter and to work on some improvements. Slipping her over the 200 m wide beach went smoothly, thanks to an electric winch and the support of our local sailing club.

Proa Meeting Flensburg

There are not many proas (boats with a long and a short hull) in Europe, let alone in Germany. It was a very pleasant surprise to see 5 of such rare craft sailing together for a meeting in Flensburg. Henrik sailed Proasis singlehanded up to Flensburg and was already greeted by smaller outrigger canoes when entering the fjord. The fleet spend a very nice weekend together, including sailing in nice warm summer weather, cold beer and camp fire. Hopefully there will be another meeting next year!