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Meet Samuel McLennan, a Tassie local on a mission to make a difference through his project, Project Interrupt. He is building a sailing vessel made entirely of marine waste in Tasmania and sailing it from Hobart to Sydney on an epic journey to cause people and environments to increase in health and abundance. Discover new insights and become inspired by Project Interrupt and Samuel’s incredible quest.
If you would like to help donate to Project Interrupt and help Samuel reach his final destination
WE HEARD YOU HAVE A PRETTY EXCITING PROJECT ON THE GO. PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT IT.
I created Project Interrupt to interrupt how humans think, speak and listen about waste. Quite simply, internal garbage causes external garbage. And so I’m building a sailing vessel made of marine waste in Tasmania and sailing it from Hobart to Sydney. It challenges what people think is possible, and along the way, I’m causing conversations about responsibility, sustainability, mental health, creativity, the value of waste, and many more. The vessel and journey represent the principles that have helped get me and the project to where it is today, and feedback from engineers and boat people has been positive. I am definitely a little nervous about some things, but I will only know when it undergoes sea trials in the next few months.
WHAT’S THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THIS PROJECT, THE KEY OBJECTIVES AND THE END GOAL YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE?
I feel incredibly bad for the next generations of people coming through, as well as all the creatures - the planet is getting trashed! So, I’ve taken responsibility for all the waste and I’ll clean it up using all my skills, knowledge and resources. Nature is showing us that we’ve messed things up and the weather is going crazy because we’ve disrupted the natural cycles with our waste (e.g. plastic rubbish and pollution). The idea of building a sailing vessel entirely out of marine waste and doing the “impossible” journey not only showcases innovation and creativity, but also disrupts the way people think - I’m creating something incredibly valuable from what many see as useless, unimportant, and worthless.
Project Interrupt proves how a powerful mindset enables you to create whatever you want (e.g. incredible life experiences) when you have very little money and very poor resources.
CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH YOUR FIRST STEPS OF TAKING THE CRAFT INTO THE OCEAN? WHEN DO YOU START THE FIRST TRIALS?
As the creator and captain of this vessel, I am fully and ultimately responsible for its performance and any caused impacts. I’ve put all my knowledge, skills, experience and energy into building it (over 380 days as of this writing), and I’m feeling a mix of excitement and nerves as the sea trials approach. And I have support vessels and backup plans in case the unexpected happens. The stakes are high. It doesn’t work to transport the vessel by road - so I need to use a helicopter to get it from land to sea. I’m confident in my abilities and the vessel’s design. Still, I know that unexpected and unpredictable things can happen, and I must remain calm and centred if they do. You’re either winning, or you’re learning.
WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST CONCERNS ABOUT THIS VOYAGE?
My biggest fears are: 1. The balance of the vessel when it’s loaded up with all the gear; 2. Potentially breaking the rudder in bigger swells; 3. The wind pushing me onto a rocky, dangerous shore; and 4. The unknown and unexpected! Big ocean waves and wild conditions don’t really phase me - they’re nowhere near as heart-pounding as surfing large barrelling waves on shallow reefs. I’ll use my standard vigilance when looking at the weather predictions and my navigation route - choosing weather windows where the winds and swells push me to where I want to go.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR SAILING EXPERIENCES
I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on some superyachts in other parts of the world. When I worked on them we went through some decent storms and I had some good time (and incredible experiences) on the water - nearly a year sailing through the Mediterranean, crossing the Atlantic, the Caribbean and Bahamas and up the East coast of the US.
The most relevant experience would have to be the Sydney to Hobart crossing I did in 2009 (not the yacht race - just a yacht delivery). We got smashed in Bass Strait and we only found out how solid the storm had been when we arrived in Hobart four or five days later. It was named “The mother of all dust storms” and it dumped all this red dust on the East coast of Australia. Sydney woke up looking like a red planet and it smashed us as we crossed Bass Strait. I was on the helm for most of that night doing my best to keep us all alive and the best way for me to describe my experience is that it was like being on a 40ft windsurfer with nearly 90 knots of wind and around 50 foot waves. The story goes that my heel marks are permanently imprinted behind the helm from hanging on so tight that night…
HOW DOES KINGGEE’S WORKWEAR HOLD UP WHEN WORKING IN THESE CONDITIONS?
I am thrilled with the KingGee workwear I received for my project. The gear has been reliable and comfortable and stands up to the test of various weather conditions. Whether I am working on the vessel or collecting marine waste, I can trust in the durability of the clothing to keep me protected and comfortable. I have worn it for multiple days in a row without any issues, and it has held up well in rugged and challenging environments. The practicality and functionality of the clothing made it a great choice for my project
Stay tuned for more updates as we follow Samuel's journey with Project Interrupt and his adventure from Hobart to Sydney.
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