T1 Ocean Crossing Entry #1: High Spirits & Preparation

And they’re off…

The time has finally come for Trilogy’s SECOND of three totally epic ocean crossings to bring our new boats home, and all within a year’s timeframe! Here on island, Trilogy IV has been happily settling in to her new Maui home, officially running our Discover Lana’i snorkel trips, the Captain’s Sunset Dinner sails, and daily Whale Watches, out of Lahaina Harbor since February! With her safe passage, we now look toward April and the brand new Trilogy I, setting sail at this very moment from St. Croix and making waves toward the Panama Canal. For the next 4-6 weeks, follow our “T1” Trilogy crossing team which we’ve entrusted to bring our new steed home to us…



Captain James (Jim) Whipple is a seasoned delivery captain with over a decade of experience as a Captain and has been building, maintaining and crewing on boats for even longer. His home port is Scarborough, Maine and was our head delivery Captain for Trilogy III, the first leg of our Trilogy IV voyage in September, and now our head Trilogy I delivery Captain! Jim has become an honorary Trilogy team member and we just love his perpetually happy-go-lucky personality. Along with Captain Jim will be four of our own stellar Trilogy team members…

Captain Nick O (also known as Nick Boston), has been with Trilogy since October 2012, and is the Captain of Record for our Trilogy V vessel. When not at the wheel, you can find Nick hiking, camping, or enjoying a tasty meal at Three’s Bar - his fave restaurant here on the island, and one we’re sure he’ll be missing during the long ocean trek!

Next up is Tyler, a First Mate and part of the Trilogy ohana since February 2016. Always a fan of the water, Tyler has also worked as a whitewater guide prior to joining our team, and even snorkels in his favorite place here on island - Mala Wharf - when not snorkeling for his day job, so we knew he was a perfect fit to spend 6 weeks out at sea!

Bringing her perpetually positive vibes to the mix is our First Mate Kuki’i, fondly known as Kooks! Serving those mouth-watering Mom Coon cinnamon rolls one minute and expertly hoisting the Trilogy sails the next, she’s been a part of our team since 2016. Kuki’i’s self-proclaimed favorite place is out on the ocean any and all days, so we knew she was a natural fit for this stellar ocean voyage!

And rounding out our crossing team is Trilogy Captain Rich, who has lived and loved an active and simple life here on the North shore of Maui for the past 25 years. Often spotted with a warm cup of tea in-hand, Rich is an avid waterman, accidental yogi, and brings his two years of Trilogy charm and sweet English accent to the team - a perfect addition!

So now that introductions have been made, we cannot WAIT for you all to follow along as our ohana embarks on their 5,000 mile journey from the Caribbean Sea through the Panama Canal and on to the long haul across the Pacific Ocean. While we’re over-the-moon excited about the arrival of our new Trilogy I, we are so stoked to let you all in on something else we’ve been cooking up… our Conservation Director, Magen Schifiliti, has spearheaded the development of our very own manta trawl this year! And just in time for the trip, the trawl pieces were delivered and assembled, complete with crew training on how to successfully operate a trawl under sail. With this new conservation-friendly piece of the puzzle, our crossing crew will be able to conduct trawls in the middle of the Pacific, gathering data to add to the Global Plastic Pollution Database! A little more on that, from Magen:

Manta Trawling 101


Our Trilogy team will be using a device called a Manta Trawl during this year’s crossing in order to sample microplastics found in the Pacific. Debuting on the ocean crossing of Trilogy I, we’ve had this little guy especially made just for US! This means that not only can we participate and contribute to the micro-plastic data collection to find a solution for single-use plastics, but now we can, as a local Maui company, continue to sample the island waters we sail in year-round.

So how exactly is a sample collected? The manta device is approximately 4 feet wide and 10 feet long and will be deployed behind the catamaran and dragged through the water, collecting a surface sample as it goes. Just as a manta stingray filters plankton out of the water, the manta trawl will collect a surface sample of ocean water - and everything in it - down to 1mm in size. The crew will then be looking for microplastic pieces among the sample, which equates to plastic smaller than 5mm in size. As we’re sure you’ve heard us mention before, microplastics are the biggest concern in the global plastic epidemic because they look like plankton (ie: FOOD)! As unsuspecting sea creatures and organisms eat the plastic bits in search for a tasty meal, the microplastics start to bioaccumulate up the food chain until it reaches the world’s top predators (psst! that includes us humans). At this level, the amount of microplastics in the tissues and stomachs of organisms are actively being proven to have harmful effects.

On our crossing from St. Croix to Maui, the Trilogy crew will collect a microplastic sample as often as possible in both the Caribbean and the North Pacific ocean. To do this, however, they will have to slow the boat down to 3 knots and drag the manta for at least an hour in order to have a viable sample collected. After this sample is analyzed onboard, the data will then be logged and sent to 5 Gyres, a non-profit organization with the mission to empower action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, education, and adventure. In 2012, 5 Gyres and scientists estimated there are 5.25 TRILLION pieces of microplastic floating in the world’s oceans!! The data that Trilogy collects will be added into the Global Plastic Pollution Database, contributing valuable information to an ongoing search for a solution.

SO! We’ve met our crew, we’ve heard about their adventure-bound delivery of the new Trilogy 1, and we’ve read about our exciting citizen science addition to this year’s crossing… now let’s hear what they’ve been up to the last few days!

getting ready IN ST. CROIX, with Cpt RICH!

Everything is going pretty smooth here, and we’re all enjoying the relaxing Saint Croix vibe.  We have been here for the last few days getting the boat ready for her crossing, and are happy to say that the beds are in, supplies are onboard, and most importantly, the morale is through the roof… of course, our temporary mansion’s bi-coastal view and epic pool hasn’t hurt, either! We’re happy to report that the Trilogy 1 is in tip-top shape, and on top of everyone’s good spirits, the forecast is looking AWESOME - downwind all the way to Panama!! Captain Jim, the head Captain hired by Trilogy for this April’s journey, is super cool, very direct and firmly in control of the passage planning. On this type of journey, it’s crucial to always know where your Captain stands, and we are all really looking forward to learning from him these next few weeks.

Trilogy’s Captain Nick has also been very relaxed… I think he's enjoying the “Crew” role for a change! Tyler is his usual, highly organized self, and also shooting lots of video. One snag: today he decided to fly his drone 2 miles out to sea but didn’t have enough battery for the return flight. So as we speak Nick, Kuki'i, Tyler, and Jim are out searching for it, having taken down the coordinates - we hope to come back with good news in the next update! ;) Kooks is providing some positive, youthful energy within the team, and I (of course) am making the tea! All in all the teamwork has been excellent. Gabe, Trilogy’s recently named President, is here as well, having made the long trip to St. Croix to assure we have everything we need before we leave for our adventure. We will be having a dry boat on the passage, and also music-free, except from 4-6pm which will be our daily "Happy Hour" (minus the booze). We leave tomorrow and I'm looking forward to the simple boat life ahead of us for the next month!  I’ll be checking in again in Panama with an update on how Nick, Tyler, Kuki'i, and I handled our first few days out in the open ocean.


And with that, they’re off! Our crew set sail yesterday, Monday April 8th, with their heads and spirits high, their sails even higher, and the Panama Canal firmly within their sights. Stay tuned for more…

Written by Cyndie Ellis, with Rich Foster & Magen Schifiliti.