Don't think there's much power in the wind? I defy anyone to say that standing here on the deck of the Rainbow Warrior as she heels over at 14 degrees, 838 tonnes of steel moving at 12.8 knots on only four sails, the masts singing as she dolphins through the waves. There's unimaginable power in that wind.
Yesterday, as we transited from Hamburg to Amsterdam, we passed a stunning testimony to just how much power the wind can make: The Princess Amalia Wind Farm, 60 giant wind turbines standing in the North Sea with a capacity of more than 120 megawatts of pure clean energy. That's roughly enough to power around 35,000 US households -- and as much as double that number of Dutch households, which consume quite a bit less. Princess Amalia is only one of several North Sea wind farms that the Netherlands has put in place to try and reach their carbon reduction targets.
At the moment, this capacity is only the tip of the iceberg. We can expect offshore power in Europe to reach at least 40 gigawatts by 2020 under current plans.
Executive Director Kumi Naidoo was on board for our tour of the windmills, and along with our New Hands on Deck, Pablo and Harmony, we looked out on these incredible symbols of hope for the future and could not imagine how anyone could consider these eyesores.
Especially as we'd just come from the REAL eyesore the day previous as the Warrior took her first action against a coal-fired power plant being constructed in Eemshaven despite opposition from local communities, wildlife groups, fisherman, and the owner of a health spa on a downwind island where lung ailments are treated. Oh, and there's also a small matter of a high court ruling saying their permits aren't in order.
The wind has been our friend here aboard the Rainbow Warrior, with Neptune granting us our wish for a good solid breeze to test our new sail rig. "Will a Force 7 gusting to Force 8 do?" asked Neptune. "That'll do," said the crew. And the wind did blow. Pots flew in the galley, a few of us went sliding across the office which sloped downhill from port to starboard. Here's a pretty rough video shot with my iPhone to give you an idea what it was like in the mess that night.
The sails performed brilliantly. We kept the Fisher furled (it's a light wind sail) but we had the inner jib, the outer jib, the Main Staysail and the Mainsail out. Our beautiful ship was leaping through the waves, every single member of the crew had smiles on their faces, and the masts themselves were singing.
Before I went to bed, I tweeted a good night from the middle of the North Sea, saying I was heading off to sleep in a bouncy castle, AKA my bunk way up forward on the Rainbow Warrior. I can't describe what a lovely feeling it is to have your bed toss you gently into the air, as if you were a child, and catch you with a rolling softness as you hear the waves break across the bow. Next morning, I saw that a supporter had tweeted back "I think I own your bunk." And indeed, bunks were one of the items supporters could buy in our e-store, where you could purchase a cleat, a bolt, a piece of sail, a reverse-osmosis fresh water maker, a communications dome, a fast boat launching crane, a porthole, a shower head, a clock, or any of a dozen things I'm looking at right now from the spacious, video-conferencing equipped campaign office I'm sitting in at the moment. To every one of you, Thank You. To those who funded a square meter of sail, you did brilliantly yesterday.
This vessel is not only a testament to what sustainable shipping should look like, it's the flagship of the Energy [R]evolution.
Keep up to date on the Maiden voyage by "Liking" the New Hands on Deck Facebook page.Catch our web video series "Stories from the Rainbow Warrior" and see the maiden voyage through the eyes of our newest activists, the New Hands on Deck follow their updates onFacebook and Twitter and Flickr.