Round Britain 2017

eXXpedition Round Britain is a three part mission aboard S/V Sea Dragon, circumnavigating Great Britain in August/September 2017

The eXXpedition team will sail around the whole of the British Isles, sampling the waters for plastics and toxics as we go, according to the protocols developed by the 5 Gyres Institute. Starting from Plymouth on 7th August, we will sail into the heart of all four of Britain’s capital cities, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh and London, as well as to the Isle of Arran in the Clyde and Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides.

LEG 1 : Plymouth, via Cardiff and Belfast, to Arran (nr Glasgow) : 7th – 17th August
LEG 2 : Arran (nr Glasgow), via Stornoway, to Edinburgh : 17th – 26th August
LEG 3 : Edinburgh, via London, to Plymouth : 26th Aug – 5th Sep 

Want to be part of the Round Britain crew?

Please Apply Here!

 The crew contribution requirement is $3,990 per leg (if you are a UK citizen paying in GBP let us know and we will use the pre-Brexit exchange rate so you are not penalised because of current British politics!)

Our Mission

To explore the issue of plastics, chemicals, endocrine disruptors and carcinogens in our personal and global environment.

Following the previous eXXpeditions, Round Britain 2017 will be an all-women’s voyage, as we continue our quest to make the unseen seen, from the toxics in our bodies to the toxics in our seas.

Our Voyage

We embark from Plymouth, with the support of Richard Thompson, Professor of Marine Biology at Plymouth University and specialist in International Marine Litter research, to undertake the first continuous sampling, in one month, of all the waters around Britain, from polluted city waterways to the relatively pristine waters of the Minch and the Western Isles.

Sailing clockwise from Plymouth, we will round Lands End and make first landfall in Cardiff, home of the Welsh Assembly. Here we begin our shore side work with local people, holiday makers, media and politicians, conducting science workshops, beach cleans, media and creative events, according to the skills and interests of crew members.

From Cardiff we head north through the Irish Sea and over to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Our shore work will continue here in collaboration with local organisations, leaving after 2 days for the short hop to the Firth of Clyde, whose waters pour out of the heavy industrial city of Glasgow. We anchor off the Isle of Arran where local organisation COAST (Community of Arran Seabed Trust) will be welcoming hosts, enabling awareness-raising and scientific demonstrations to continue. Arran is also the end of the first leg/beginning of the second leg of the voyage.

Leaving the Clyde on August 18th, we will round the Mull of Kintyre and head through the beautiful waters of the West of Scotland, passing Mull, Ardnamurchan Point, the Small Isles and Skye to the Outer Hebrides and Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. Here we will work again with local people and holiday makers, school children and media in whatever creative ways we develop. Then follows the long passage across the North of the British Isles, around Cape Wrath and through the Pentland Firth, where the waters of the Atlantic and North Sea meet, then turning towards the South again, we eventually make landfall in Edinburgh, ancient capital city of Scotland and home of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood. EXXpedition shore work continues here over two days, while the second leg of the voyage finishes and the third begins.

From Edinburgh on August 27th we sail through the North Sea, continuing our sampling work as we go and preparing for the entrance into the Thames, through the Thames Barrier at Woolwich and into St Katherine’s Dock by Tower Bridge. As London starts its annual Thames Festival, our work will link with this, with the scientific data, with questions about our uses of plastics and the routes by which so many toxics, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, reach our seas – and our bodies.

Leaving London and rounding the South-eastern corner of Britain, we will enter the English Channel, to complete our discoveries of the pollution around our islands. The Channel is a busy seaway and this part of the voyage will be as challenging as any other as we head back to Plymouth. Our final day will allow us to work together onshore for the last time as we bring back the fruits and discoveries of the voyage, new thoughts and inspirations.

Why now?

As we plan this voyage, the problems of plastics – breaking down into microplastics – and toxics in the ocean are finally beginning to be acknowledged by politicians and media worldwide. Microbeads in toiletries, cosmetics and cleaning products, single-use packaging, plastic water bottles, nurdles, the many persistent organic pollutants (POPs) found in most everyday manufactures products – and much, much more are all being recognised as devastating in their effects of oceans, ecosystems, aquatic life, mammals – and us. So we are setting off to build on this growing awareness by publicising what is to be found in the waters closest to home, where we swim, surf, sail, snorkel and fish.

By sailing into the heart of our capital cities we wish to draw attention to the role each nation plays in its plastics and toxics policies and we want to meet politicians and local media. In Scotland we’ll be able to work with schoolchildren, who return in mid-August and everywhere we’ll be involving local and holidaying people in seeing the results of our trawls and engaging with these under-researched and under-talked about issues. We will be linking this sampling to narratives of ecosystem and personal health and the products we consume.

Our data will be fed into wider studies. Water samples will be collected and analysed for the presence of toxics and microplastics under the auspices of Dr Jenna Jambeck, University of Georgia, a leading authority on how/how much marine debris reaches the oceans worldwide and a crew member on eXXpedition Atlantic 2014.

Who can join the crew?

eXXpedition Round Britain 2017 is open to all women with a commitment to the idea of change in the way we treat our oceans and thus our own bodies: to women who are adventurers at heart and able to contribute with others towards a greater adventure whose outcomes will arise from our unique mix. There will be women from a range of ages and backgrounds including exploration, education, science, enterprise, the creative arts, psychology and technology.

Sailing experience is not required: there will be women with different levels of sailing experience and professional crew within each watch. All crew members will play their full part in the sailing of Sea Dragon and the skills needed to help bring this vessel around the British Isles and into port will be taught as we go.

  • To bring together an all-women crew – of sailors, scientists, artists, journalists, filmmakers, adventurers, psychologists and educators – to create a new Round Britain story about women in science, research, sailing and adventure.
  • To collect data, footage and findings to add to the worldwide data set of plastics and toxics in the ocean, and so help to bring about change.
  • To broaden awareness of the unseen -plastics and toxics/disease/women as changemakers – specifically in the capital cities, ports and harbours where we make landfall.
  • To engage there with local people, holiday-makers, media and politicians, giving information about the implications of ocean pollution, from making everyday choices to action at the political level for a cleaner, healthier environment.
Meet the crew:


Imogen Nash – Skipper

IMOGEN feels that being on the water is the most natural thing in the world. Her family are all great water lovers, and from a very early age she has loved being on boats, sailing and taking part in all kinds of other water sports. Growing up, Imogen learnt to dinghy sail in South Devon, UK. She was a competitive swimmer for 12 years, and learnt to wakeboard and waterski when she was just 10 years old.

In 2010 Imogen decided to take her love of the water to the next level and got her RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and Cruising Instructor tickets. Since then, she has primarily worked within sail training. Being onboard the Atlantic Rowers support yacht, numerous Atlantic crossings and sailing across the Pacific over the past couple of years has only grown Imogen’s passion for the world’s oceans and how important is to protect and spread awareness for current environmental issues.

Imogen is a self proclaimed sea addict, and in her spare time she loves to surf, dive and kite-surf – the true definition of a water baby! She was skipper for both eXXpedition Ascension and Amazon in 2015 from Senegal to Guyana.

sue weaver

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.


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.

Read more at,

anne baker

Anne Baker – Mission co-leader

ANNE is business strategist and seasoned sailor. Her story is like a three-legged stool. As a yachtmaster involved in sail training, mainly with all girl crews and with thousands of sea miles this trip, from a sailing perspective, is a dream chance to cross the Atlantic with an all women crew. Then there is the women’s health element; she has a niece, who is a teenage (female specific) cancer patient. For her being part of a team trying to understand in more detail how environmental and specifically ocean toxins affect women’s health is a wonderful learning opportunity to help support not only her family, but also her own health and those she works with through the female branches of several youth organisations, principally girl guides and scouts.  Her third leg comes from my recent agricultural studies during where she realized the effects of human intervention on the environment, both land and sea which highlighted the fine balance of the environmental and the impact of farming.

Gail Tudor

GAIL owns her own wedding videography business and has years of experience racing dinghies in Indonesia and small catamarans in the UK.  Gail has a real passion for the marine and coastal environment, particularly around her home in Cardigan Bay, Wales where human activities are threatening the coastal area which is a haven for marine wildlife. Gail has volunteered on dolphin surveys in Cardigan Bay and also volunteers at the Teifi Marsh Welsh Wildlife Centre.

Gail is looking forward to crewing on Round Britain 2017 as it will combine her passion for the great outdoors and marine conservation and will expand her experience at sea into yacht sailing. She is also hoping to use her creative skills in film-making and her social media experience to convey eXXpedition’s message and help to spread word to her local community and wider audience and encourage people to be pro-active about human health and the environment.

Dr Jessica van Horssen

JESSICA is a Senior Lecturer in North American History at Leeds Beckett University where she specialises in the history of environmental contamination and health. In her academic career, Jessica has published a number of pieces on the history of the Canadian asbestos industry and has a keen interest on the linkages between the environment and human health.

Jessica has experience on the water, from speedboats to canoes and kayaks and is now excited about extending this into yacht sailing. Jessica is excited to be part of the all-female crew on board RV Sea Dragon and is looking forward to integrating her academic expertise into the eXXpedition project on plastics, contamination and endocrine disruptors and to use this experience and the data collected in her own research.

Vanessa Stephenson

VANESSA is a Fish and Seafood Buyer at British grocery retailer, Waitrose and has over 30 years’ experience in the commercial retail sector.  Sustainability and the effects of human activities are a key part of this role and Vanessa hopes that eXXpedition will give her the opportunity to raise awareness of the damage humans are doing to the oceans and influence change.

Vanessa currently lives in Berkshire and has two sons, the eldest having recently graduated with a degree in Conservation Biology and Ecology and the youngest is currently studying Politics and International Relations at Birmingham University. Vanessa has some previous sailing experience, having been a member of a sailing club several years ago. She hopes to improve her skills during Leg 1 of Round Britain 2017 and challenge herself both physically and mentally on this exciting journey.

Deborah Maw – Biochemist & Environmental Artist

DEBORAH worked as a Biochemist in UK for a number of years before taking time out to travel the world. When she returned to the UK, Deborah moved to a small community in North Wales where she raised her children. Following this, Deborah went back to college where she studied for a Foundation Degree in Art and Design, specialising in sculpture and mixed media using waste plastic, particularly marine plastic debris. She has used this to teach environmental awareness through art, particularly in youth settings.

For the past 12 years, Deborah has been walking and camping the British coastal trails solo and photographing art from marine plastics. Deborah’s ambition is to travel around the whole British Isles, and eXXpedition will allow her to do this from the seas. Deborah hopes to learn more about the effects of marine pollution on human health, using surveys, assessing results and their implications, to incorporate into her work as a health therapist and incorporate marine pollution research into her work as an environmental artist and teacher. Deborah is passionate about learning to sail and will kick-start her education with a RYA Competent Crew sailing course in May to prepare for the exciting task of all three Round Britain 2017 legs!

Katie Turnbull – Artist

KATIE is an Australian born artist working across various media including video, installation and interactivity and app development. Katie is interested in the experience of time, the intangible and the natural environment and playing with contradictions within the act of seeing and looking. Katie explores this idea through the history of the moving image, psychology, computing, climate change and cosmology. She has a particular interest in the intersection of science art and is hoping to integrate her work and her experience with eXXpedition.

Katie lived on a riverboat that ran trips for tourists between the English cities of Bath and Bristol and therefore has experience on the water and general water safety training. She is now looking forward to expanding into the world of coastal sailing on board RV Sea Dragon with eXXpedition.


Ella and Amy Meek – eXXpedition Ambassadors

ELLA 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


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