How climate friendly is our journey?

Date: 16.03.2024
Geographical Position: 32°58.0′ N 058°21.8′ W
Etmal: 221 nm
Total: 9015 nm
Ship: Regina Maris

Ten countries and countless stops; a climate-friendly six-month sailing trip around the world. That’s what Ocean College advertises.

Dating up to today, we’ve learned plenty, be it real-life experiences or the dos and don’ts while handling sails. As Ocean College advertises being a climate-friendly journey, we’ve discussed multiple times whether or not this is actually true. Nearing the end, our last stop only a few days away, let’s reflect on the impact we’ve had on the world around us…

Our Engine

As mentioned earlier, and quite obvious, we are a sailing ship. Most people would conclude that our primary form of gaining traction would be sailing, which is quite climate-friendly.

Sadly we’ve motored or „motorsailed“ also depending on the wind conditions, in total around 25% of the whole route until now. The problem with motoring is the amount of fuel required for our engine.

The Regina Maris, like many other older sailing vessels, uses a diesel engine. Every hour, our engine uses up to 60 liters of diesel. Not only does the engine require fuel, but the generator, which we need to have electricity on board, also needs diesel to work. Something which allows us to save quite a lot of fuel is our battery.

The battery, which we use roughly for 10 hours daily, allows us to turn off our generator, which in turn reduces our emissions by quite a bit.

Garbage disposal

Everyone of us is used to sorting garbage. Paper and cardboard belong in the blue bin, plastic in yellow, and organic waste in the compost. On board, it’s not quite as simple: We don’t really sort trash. Everything that isn’t plastic goes overboard.

This includes glass, cardboard, paper and food waste. The plastic is stored in garbage bags on our dinghy and then disposed of on shore. A challenge is the disposal ashore. Most of the countries we’ve visited don’t sort their garbage and burn it or dispose of it in garbage plants.

Schülerinnen beim Beachcleanup

This is not in any shape or form environmentally friendly. Something which could not have been prevented was the fastening of our dinghy ripping. This caused many full bags of plastic and waste to tumble into the Atlantic.

Pests and algae? No thank you!

Our ship is made mostly of metal, which in itself is sturdy, yet not completely indestructible. Rust is a big problem alongside small animals like snails and shells or algae. To avoid the ship needing countless repairs every year, the bottom of the ship is painted with a special red paint which is slightly poisonous, which keeps nature from “attacking” the hull of the ship.

In theory, it’s a great solution for a very serious problem, yet it’s far from perfect. The paint gets worn down through waves and sand, splintering off into the ocean thus poisoning it.


Before we started our journey, we were given a list full of necessities, which focused on being climate-friendly, recommending eco-friendly alternatives such as metal water bottles, bamboo toothbrushes, and period underwear and cups. All of these items are great!

They each contribute a bit to making our world a better place. Shoe organizers are something you fundamentally need for this trip. Most of them are made out of plastic and bought for this trip. After we’re all back home, most of us will struggle finding use for it and discard it someplace which is anything but good for the environment.

A great way to save money and storage space is to lend/gift/sell your organizer to someone looking to participate in one of the upcoming voyages (the one I brought is hand-made and it’s super duper functional and I love it (thanks again, Sophia)).


We are far from perfect. The garbage incident could have been avoided if we had replaced the fastening earlier and the hours motoring are definitely not ideal, but I find that most things are sadly out of our control.

We can’t control the wind and we can’t wait out calms as we have a schedule to keep and the garbage flying overboard was a honest mistake.

Many of us bought our equipment second hand or opted for the more eco-friendly alternative (example: bamboo toothbrushes, a hard piece of soap, wooden brushes, etc). Many of the remote islands we’ve visited are only accessible via small planes (excluding ships) which use amounts of fuel, especially if we take into consideration that we are nearly 50 people.

Our impact, how we can reduce our garbage and protect our planet, are topics often discussed. We talk about our imperfections and what we can improve during different pathway presentations and the following discussion time, which allows us to learn and improve, which I find invaluable. Overall, I can say that there is still lots of stuff we can improve, but we’re definitely on the right path.

Regina Maris auf hoher See

What happened today?

Rain, clouds, sun, and even more rain. Today the weather seemed as if it couldn’t decide between freezing us to death or giving us a free premium sunburn package. The good thing about rain? It usually comes with wind, which allowed us to set up a new speed record while under sail: 11.1 knots. (YAY). The rest of the day was spent in school, learning about differential quotients under Ben and flying through the air (literally) as the Reggi sails across the North Atlantic.

Sources: Luisa’s Pathway Presentation, Luisa, Kilian, and Jakob


Lilia: Liebe Sophia, ich kann Dir nicht oft genug für Deine ganzen tollen Tipps, die Du mir mit auf die Reise gegeben hast, danken <3

Jule: Viel Erfolg, Do ! 🙂 <3

Joshua: Soooooooo, das ist das letzte Mal, dass ich mich daran erinnern muss, jemanden zu grüßen. Wuhu! Aber jetzt zurück zum Thema: Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, meine lieblings Vollfostin Jette, feier‘ schön mit Deinen Freunden und ganz vielen Geschenken!

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