I asked Sarah a few questions before she set sail.
I sailed from Cornwall to Ireland on a 100-year-old ketch called the Keewaydin with my son and some friends a couple of years ago. When I came home I kept saying to myself "I am a sailor!" On board there was talk about a group called the New Dawn Traders who are sailing goods from South America, mostly rum, chocolate and coffee. Fair trade and carbon neutral. Epic! When I got home and I looked them up and on their website was a post about eXXpedition from the vision behind it, Lucy Gilliam.
What do you know about the other members of the Ascension crew, and have you worked with any of them before?
I have met them all once. I was very nervous as they are mostly scientists and was expecting to feel out of my depth but they are 13 warm clear women with passion, commitment, and confidence.
What happens when you get to the other side of the Atlantic?
The boat goes onward to the Amazon and there will be talks,workshops, wreck dives, beach clean ups. I will be heading home to scoop up my son and hold him in a salty hug.
How long do you expect the journey to take?
It should take about 28 days.
A big part of what you are doing with eXXpedition Story is to create stories on the journey, to share in schools on your return. Do you anticipate there being space (and time) to share stories with the crew during the journey, as well?
Ooh I hope so, to tell them and to listen
When you get back, you are going to be sharing the stories with "as many young women as possible". Do you think it is also important that young men hear the stories?
eXXpedition Story seems to have two major motivations: raising awareness of ocean pollution, and inspiring young women. Is it possible to say which of these is the bigger impetus for you personally at this moment?
It feels the same to me. The way we treat our earth and oceans and the way we treat the feminine. As I deepen my understanding of it all I see the disempowerment that the masculine is shouldering too so it may be that it all integrates into one subject as my understand increases.
For five years you have been resident storyteller at SS Great Britain. It seems like that will have given you a lot of experience that will set you in good stead for this new journey. Can you tell us a bit about what it's like to be a storyteller on a ship? It sounds like an amazing job to have!
What do you think will be different about being the Storyteller on the Sea Dragon, compared to SS Great Britain?
On the SS Great Britain I am recreating a feeling of being out at sea. I wont need to do that on board the Sea Dragon!
Is this the longest sea journey you've ever been on? What was the longest you were on before this?
Yes the longest by far, i have only sailed for four days before.
Is there anything else you'd like to say about eXXpedition before you go?