Meet the eXXpedition Core Crew
These are our inspiring expedition leaders who bring their extensive experience and specialist knowledge to our eXXpedition journeys.
Emily Penn – Co-Founder
EMILY is an oceans advocate, skipper and artist who has extensive exploration experience in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. She is a graduate of Cambridge University with a degree in Sustainable Architecture; and Director of global organisation Pangaea Explorations; and the first and youngest woman to be awarded the international Yachtmaster of the Year. Emily rounded the planet on the biofuelled Earthrace boat; spent 6 months living on a tiny Tongan island organising the largest ever community led rubbish clean-up; and discovered previously unknown oceanic gyres – huge areas of plastic pollution accumulation.
An experienced public speaker, Emily has spoken around the world at conferences, universities and global companies about her adventures and issues relating to our oceans, human mindset and future society.
You can find more information on Emily’s projects at www.emilypenn.co.uk.
Lucy Gilliam – Co-Founder
LUCY spends all her time on the water whether she is sailing with eXXpedition across the Atlantic or home with her family living on her sailing barge.
Lucy has a background as an Environmental Scientist with a BSc (1st), in Biological Sciences and a Phd in Microbial Ecology & Soil Science before creating a new life for herself combining her love of sailing, science and building environmental awareness for the plight of our oceans.
Lucy founded eXXpedition with Emily Penn in 2014 and sailed on the very first eXXpedition, racing across the Atlantic from Lanzarote to Martinique. Lucy has sailed all her life, is an experienced Yacht racer and has crossed the Atlantic many times.
Lucy is mission leader for Caribbean 2017 with aim to develop a greater understanding of how plastic pollution generated on land connects with plastic found in our seas, and to explore what community based innovations could be developed to tackle the problem. Lucy will follow the voyage on land for Round Britain supporting the crew and interacting with the public in each port stopover.
Sue Weaver – Mission Co-Leader
SUE is an ecotherapist, activist and lover of the sea, mother and grandmother.
Born in London, she moved as a single mother to Cambridge. Here she trained as a psychotherapist, before eventually escaping the South East for rural Wales, a 75 acre farm of exquisite conservation land and an NHS post in Swansea.
Sue began sailing almost by accident in her twenties when she discovered that she could cook in a galley in the fiercest storm. Actual sailing skills came later, and with them the joys of sailing offshore, where the peace and isolation of the ocean, views of mountains, immersion in the elements, encounters with whales and dolphins all drew her to the beautiful waters of the West of Scotland and the island where she now lives.
Crewing on the first eXXpedition Atlantic 2014 brought together her activist experience, ecological awareness and passion to restore our connections with the natural world, and introduced her to an amazing group of diverse, powerful and creative women. She has long held a dream of circumnavigating the British Isles, and is excited at the possibility of doing this with an all-women Sea Dragon crew.
Sue will be on board all 3 legs of Round Britain and overseeing activities in Belfast, Arran, Stornaway and Edinburgh.
Anne Baker – Mission co-leader
ANNE is a seasoned sailor with experience of the human elements business change programme. Her story is like a three-legged stool; the first as a yachtmaster involved in sail training with mainly all girl crews. Anne took the helm as 2nd mate on the first eXXpedition, Atlantic 2014 and now has thousands of sea miles under her belt.
The second leg is the women’s health element; Anne has a niece, who is a four-year post surgery teenage (female specific) cancer patient. Being part of a team trying to understand how environmental, specifically ocean toxins affect women’s health is wonderful and has given the opportunity to learn how to help support not only her family, but also her own health. Anne also spreads this message to those she works with through the female branches of several youth organisations, principally girl guides and scouts.
Her third leg comes from agricultural studies during which she realised the effects of human intervention on the environment, both land and sea which highlighted the fine balance between the environment and the impact of farming.
Anne will be on board leg 2 of Round Britain and overseeing activities in Plymouth, Cardiff and London.
Diana Papoulias – Science Advisor
DIANA is an aquatic toxicologist and fish biologist.
For 30 years, she researched how contaminants affect the health of fish and amphibians for the U.S. Geological Survey. The focus of her research has been on the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on reproduction. In 2014, she retired from the government and joined the non-profit E-Tech International to train indigenous people in Peru’s Amazon Basin to monitor their homelands for environmental contamination caused by the petroleum industry.
Diana sailed with eXXpedition Atlantic 2014 and took on the role as Science Mission Lead for eXXpedition Ascension 2015, Amazon 2015, and Caribbean 2017. She lives with her husband and springer spaniel on a farm in mid-Missouri.
Diana will be on board leg 3 of Round Britain and overseeing all scientific activities.
Diane – Skipper
DIANE is a professional Skipper, Racer and Instructor. She is Royal Yachting Association accredited as an Ocean Yachtmaster commercially endorsed, a Sail Canada Instructor in Cruising, Racing, VHF and Navigation and a World Sailing Offshore Personal Survival Instructor. Diane’s career has spanned over 70,000 miles throughout Lake Ontario, the Atlantic and Southern Ocean, Irish Sea, Bay of Biscay, Caribbean Islands and East coast of the United States. Whether in a Mini 650, a Clipper 70 or a Volvo 60, Diane has taught or raced on it. Her students and race teams have varied from single handed, double handed and fully crewed teams. When Diane is not on the water, she can often be found volunteering with various committees on Lake Ontario and with Sail Canada endeavouring to drive the sport of sailing to great new levels.
Holly Vint – First Mate
A few years ago HOLLY finally ran away to sea, after following the path most travelled to university, and she hasn’t looked back since! Having never sailed before, an amazing opportunity to sail across the Bay of Biscay with a youth sail training charity came up during her first year. Following on from that awesome voyage she was hooked, and threw herself into as many experiences as possible; first by volunteering, then getting qualified, and eventually working full time for a similar charity based in the North East of England, providing young people from all backgrounds with valuable life and social skills through sailing.
With a need to see more of the world and a love of ocean voyages, Holly now works on adventurous offshore expedition vessels in some pretty cool parts of the world. Her appreciation for the urgency to help protect the oceans sailors love was sparked when she was deckhand for the Ascension and Amazon eXXpeditions in 2015, and she’s really excited to continue this on future eXXpedition trips, this time as mate. Holly is a commercially endorsed Yachtmaster Ocean and Cruising Instructor.
Kat Law – Deckhand
KAT began sailing as a small child as crew for her father in dingys and this slowly progressed to family holidays on chartered yachts. She got her first taste of ocean adventures in 2008 on board a tall ship through the Tall Ships Youth Trust, which ignited a great sense of adventure and a desire to further explore the oceans. This inspired her to take on her greatest challenge to date – the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 2015/16. Following this global circumnavigation, Kat gained her Day Skipper qualification alongside her current job in academic publishing.
Joining Round Britain is Kat’s next step towards a career in sailing and leaving the desk behind forever. She is also interested in finding out more about the impact of plastics in our environment, and learning from the amazing, intelligent ladies on-board Sea Dragon for this pioneering journey.
Ella and Amy Meek – eXXpedition Ambassadors
ELLA (11) and AMY (13) have spent the last two years travelling and learning around the UK and parts of Europe (in a caravan and now motorhome) on what they call an EdVenture – a potent mix of education of adventure. Out of the school ‘system’ and therefore free to follow their passions, the girls have developed their understanding of single-use plastics, including micro-plastics, and their impact on the environment. Inspired by the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development, Amy and Ella are now actively working to encourage others to reduce their consumption of single-use plastic, and why this is important.
The girls, keen sailors themselves, are excited about the opportunity to support the Round Britain 2017 expedition – albeit in a land-based capacity – during which they will be organising local beach cleans, giving talks and interviews, as well as hosting an interactive ‘Water Table’ exhibit (water and plastic-related information, activities and challenges) which they hope shore-side visitors will enjoy.
Read more about their Global Goals-inspired project, Clear Plastic UK, here http://www.dotrythisathome.com/category/clear-plastic/