The first members of our all-female crew are set for a plastic pollution circumnavigation

The eXXpedition Round the World voyage, which sets sail from Sutton Harbour, Plymouth, UK on October 8th 2019, will sail for two years through some of the most important and diverse marine environments on the planet. This includes crossing four of the five oceanic gyres, where ocean plastic is known to accumulate, and the Arctic on board 73ft sailing vessel S.V. TravelEdge.

Under the directorship of award-winning ocean advocate Emily Penn, 300 women will join the research vessel as crew for over 30 voyage legs to journey more than 38,000 nautical miles, studying microplastics and toxics in our ocean. Beyond contributing to cutting-edge scientific research, the mission aims to celebrate women in STEM, exploration and sailing while creating a powerful global network of ambassadors. They then use their experience at-sea when back on dry land as leaders in their respective fields, helping to end the flow of plastics into our ocean.

Since plans for the mission were announced last December, almost 10,000 women from around the world have applied to take part in the voyage.

Half of the 300 places have since been allocated. Participants are aged between 18 and 57, and represent over 30 nationalities. Their diverse backgrounds include scientists, community leaders, academics, artists, filmmakers, business women, psychologists, doctors, actors, ocean activists and sustainability professionals, and novice as well as experienced sailors. Bursary places are available and designed to increase diversity on board and maximise eXXpedition’s collective impact.


You’re invited – Come and wave us off!
Tuesday 8th October 2019, 2pm

The eXXpedition Plymouth to Azores crew will be leaving our hosts Sutton Harbour and you can join us to cheer them on, as they head out for sailing, citizen science and outreach!

The best view will be Outside Cap’n Jaspers,
18 The Barbican, Plymouth, PL1 2LS Plymouth, UK


Click here to find out more about our first voyage from Plymouth to the Azores with Rothy’s


Mission Director Emily Penn, co-founder of eXXpedition, says:

“The plastic pollution challenge our ocean faces is a global one and it will take an inspired army of passionate, skilled and experienced people to tackle it.

Our eXXpedition Round the World mission is a unique opportunity to build a comprehensive picture of the state of our seas, while conducting much needed research that will inform practical and effective solutions to ocean pollution.

We are starting our Round the World voyage with an amazing crew of inspirational women and some fantastic partners who help to make the dream of such an ambitious project a reality. Many great organisations are supporting our journey and share our vision of tackling ocean plastic through scientific research and empowering changemakers.”


A Cutting-Edge Science Programme

The eXXpedition Round the World science programme is being led by Dr. Winnie Courtene-Jones, eXXpedition Science Lead, University of Plymouth. It has been developed with ocean plastic experts  Professor Richard Thompson OBE, Head of the International Marine Litter Research Unit at the University of Plymouth, and Professor Jenna Jambeck, Associate Professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia, and is supported by the eXXpedition Science Advisory Board which includes a mix of leading academics and industry representatives, including Dr Daniel Schwaab, TOMRA Senior Vice-President for Circular Economy Strategy.

The science programme will carry out research at sea and on land. Researchers will look at the global distribution of (micro)plastics, from their sources on land to their dispersal and accumulation within the worlds’ ocean. The programme is expected to provide novel insights into the extent and characteristics of plastics not only in surface waters, but within the upper water column and in subtidal sediments of more than 35 countries.

Research conducted during the mission has been designed to advance a better understanding of the plastics issue as a whole and to work with industry to pinpoint solutions and policy at a global level by addressing knowledge-gaps and delivering evidence to inform effective solutions.


Professor Richard Thompson OBE, Head of the International Marine Litter Research Unit, says:

“In recent years, tackling the plastics in our oceans has become one of our most high-profile environmental challenges. It is crucial that we use innovative and informed means to develop a greater understanding of the issue’s global scale, and to identify ways to address it.

This collaboration will undoubtedly help achieve that, and we are delighted to be working with eXXpedition to generate new knowledge and interest in this important area.”


The Round the World route 2019 – 2021:

Plymouth, UK – Azores – North Atlantic Gyre – Antigua – Bonaire – Aruba – San Blas – Panama – Galapagos – Easter Island – South Pacific Gyre – Tahiti – Cook Islands – Tonga – Fiji – Vanuatu – Cairns – Darwin – Perth – Indian Ocean Gyre – Mauritius – Cape Town – South Atlantic Gyre – Recife – Fernando de Noronha – Grenada – St Lucia – Bermuda – North Atlantic Gyre – Halifax – Labrador – Disko Bay – Nuuk – Iceland – Lofoten – Oslo – London, UK.

Apply to sail with us


Who is sailing from Plymouth to the Azores?

  • Emily Penn – UK, Mission Director
    Instagram: @missemilypenn, Twitter: @emilypenn
  • Anna Strang – UK, Skipper
  • Maggie Kerr – Australia, First Mate
  • Sophie Dingwall – UK, Deck Hand
  • Kirana Agustina – Indonesia, Post-graduate Student, IMO Developing Nations Bursary Participant
  • Aarathi Arumugam – Malaysia, Business Woman
  • Natalie Fox – UK, Surf and Yoga Instructor
  • Breezy Grenier – USA, Marine Educator
  • Sonja Jakić – Croatia, Mechanical Engineering Student and Sailor
  • Ann Jenkins –  Canada, Founder and Director, Asociación Playa Patrol
  • Marcia Reinauer – USA, Documentary Filmmaker and Photographer
  • Katrin Scholz-Barth – Germany/USA, Business Woman
  • Kimberly Wooten – USA, Historical Archaeologist
  • Kirsty Young – UK, Police Constable.
You can find out more about our Round the Crew by visiting the crew directory page of our website.

Find out more about our Round the World crew


Our Round the World voyages are possible with the generous support of our sponsors and partners:

All costs of the not-for-profit expedition are covered by crew contributions, sponsorships and partnerships.

Gold Sponsors are: Travel Edge, TOMRA, Red Ensign Group

Silver Sponsors are: 11th Hour Racing, Slaughter and May

Thank you to all our amazing sponsors and partners!


Find out more about our sponsors


You can follow news and updates throughout Round the World on our social media channels and by following #eXXpedition