Introducing Helena Schneider’s ‘Freedom2be’ sustainability in boating project Part 1

Undertaking a (mainly) solo sailing voyage from Europe to the Caribbean in the name of environmental protection and sustainability, young German sailor, Helena Schneider, slipped her lines in December 2019 and set sail from Port Hamble in Southampton on the first leg of what will be a long and fascinating journey, that will eventually see Helena arriving in the Caribbean later on this year.

By providing ongoing product testing in a ‘real-life’ scenario, Helena’s journey seeks not only to raise greater awareness of the availability of sustainable antifouling products in boating, but to actively test and develop new and upcoming coatings technology, all at the same time.

And with a strong track record in sailing and an Atlantic crossing already under her belt, Helena’s significant practical experience, in using her own 31ft Hallberg-Rassy yacht, ‘Freedom 2be,’ as the ideal test-bed, was seen as invaluable research by a number of antifouling paint and coatings manufacturers, Teal and Mackrill included. 

Some antifouling products she’s testing have already been launched on to the open market. Other manufacturers have seen this more as an opportunity to gain valuable insight, before deciding whether to launch theirs.   

Subsequently, last summer, in having had the hull prepared and painted with a bunch of different antifoul coatings, Helena’s ‘patchwork quilt’ of a hull caused quite a stir, when it was eventually lifted back into the water at Port Hamble Marina at the end of last year.

Fast-forward two and a half months and now with Helena having sailed 300nm from the UK to where these pictures were taken in Brest, Northern France,  we’re more than pleased to report how well Teamac Antifoul D+ and A+ antifouls are keeping the nasties at bay.

Using just a wet microfibre cloth to clear away the slime before the photos were taken, the two different Teamac coatings are performing well, and apart from some anticipated growth close to the waterline, there are no other visible signs of weed or shell growth taking hold on the majority of the protected areas.  

This is the first of what we hope will be a series of blogs, with news and photo-updates of Helena’s Caribbean odyssey and how well she copes over the next few legs, including crossing the notorious Bay of Biscay and her eventual departure from Europe as she heads 3000nm across the ‘pond’.

Follow Helena on Facebook via Freedom2be_   

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