The world watched closely this week as racing sailboat Malizia II, skippered by founder of Team Malizia Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann, set off on her Atlantic crossing with teen climate activist Greta Thunberg on board.
The 16-year-old, accompanied by her father Svante Thunberg and filmmaker Nathan Grossman, left Plymouth in the south of England at 3pm on Wednesday. With the logo “Unite behind the science” emblazoned on her black sailing gear and on the mainsail of the pioneering vessel, the teen activist embarked on what will be a roughly two-week journey at sea.
Thunberg has been invited to participate in the United Nations climate talks in September but she refuses to fly because aviation has such an enormous carbon footprint. She accepted a ride on the 18-metre Maliza II because it is outfitted with solar panels and underwater turbines that generate its own electricity.
The entire transatlantic crossing will be under sail, in line with Greta’s and the Malizia Team’s message of sustainability and environmental protection. The engines will only be used in the case of an emergency.
“I am full of admiration for Greta’s courage; she will never forget this adventure,” said Pierre Casiraghi, Vice-President of the Yacht Club of Monaco. “And what could be more beautiful and important for her than to opt for this crossing and to discover the dimension of the Atlantic Ocean which plays such a key role in our environment. It will be an historic crossing, a long one and definitely difficult at times.”
The interior of Malizia is very bare and optimised for high-speed offshore racing. “We have made no major alterations for the crossing, except for fitting curtains in front of the bunk and adding comfortable mattresses for better sleeping,” said Boris Herrmann. “Note that there is no toilet, no fixed shower, no cooking facilities or proper beds.”
For meals, Greta will be offered a choice of freeze-dried vacuum-packed vegan meals, which can be prepared in all weather conditions with minimum effort and minimum use of energy.
Malizia’s challenge, outside of delivering Greta safely to the United States, is to promote ocean science while inspiring the next generation with sailing adventures.
The name Malizia was chosen by Pierre Casiraghi and symbolises the Grimaldi family history and their deep connection to the ocean. It translates as “the wily one’’, a name that was given to Francesco Grimaldi in 1297 after he established the family dynasty.
“Given what Malizia represents for us in the Principality of Monaco, I’ve always wanted to give this name to a race boat,” said Pierre.