Meet Stella, co-owner of Eda Frandsen Sailing – a sailing adventure company that runs trips out of Falmouth and the West Coast of Scotland. Stella joined us back in 2015 for our Amazon adventure. We caught up about her experience aboard Eda, and the plans for her company, and boat, moving forwards. Keep reading to hear more about Stella and her change-making actions aboard Eda Frandsen.  

Photo by Stella Marina Stabbins

Can You Tell Me A Bit About Yourself?

I originally studied illustration at Art School, prior to joining eXXpedition. I had always loved the water, so ended up working onboard Yachts after I finished school. 

When I came across eXXpedition, it seemed like the perfect way to combine my creative practice with my love for the water, and for nature and environmental protection. I also found the research eXXpedition had performed about the long-term health impacts of microplastics, on female bodies specifically, really fascinating. 

Photo by Stella Marina Stabbins

I applied, and joined the 2015 Amazon expedition. It’s amazing to see just how far eXXpedition has come since then. They’ve turned something that was rarely talked about in 2015, into a mainstream conversation, and that’s just fantastic to see. 

Following the expedition, I continued to work on boats, until about 3 years ago when myself and my partner bought Eda Frandsen – a UK based sailing adventure company operating out of Falmouth and the West Coast of Scotland. I’ve been working and living on our sailing boat Eda ever since!

Tell us more about Eda Frandsen, what is your mission, and what adventures have you had so far?

Essentially, we provide traditional sailing holidays for people, who have, most often, never been out on the water before. 

Eda – our boat – is a traditional wooden gaff rigged Danish Hajkutter from 1938. We spend our winters in Cornwall, living on the boat full time, and then do the beginning and end of the season in Falmouth. We then do a passage up to Scotland and complete charters off the West Coast of Scotland for the remainder of the summer. 

Eda Fransen, by Stella Marina Stabbins

Our mission is to connect people with the ocean. Eda will often be the first amount of time our customers have ever spent at sea. So, we aim to provide people with an experience that initiates a connection between them and water, and just gets people out there, into nature. For example, we often get our crew involved with some whale and dolphin tracking with the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Society, which is always exciting.

“Our mission is to connect people with the ocean… just get people out there, into nature.”

A lot of what we do is also about introducing this idea of vessel living – a kind of survival based on minimising your consumption, optimising your resources, and being in complete control of your livelihood. When you live on a boat, you just can’t, physically, have that much stuff. And, the stuff you do have, has to be durable – you have to be willing for it to go mouldy or to fall overboard. By that very nature, I think it just teaches you such important life-skills about being less wasteful and more responsible in the way you consume.

So, aside from introducing people to the beauty of being at water, I think Eda is super important in helping people to realise why, and how, to live more sustainably. 

Photo by Stella Marina Stabbins

“A lot of what we do is also about introducing this idea of vessel living…being less wasteful and more responsible in the way you consume.”

What did you learn that surprised you most during your voyage?

I found all the research about plastic toxins and the way they enter our bloodstream, and affect different bodies, in different ways, super interesting. Whilst onboard Eda,  I am responsible for all the cooking. As a result, I have spent a lot of time researching and making sure that the food we are producing is low in toxins, low in waste and low in processing. I guess I have taken what I learnt at eXXpedition, and channelled that knowledge into food production. It’s great to be able to use Eda as a way to put all that knowledge into action. 

Photo by Emily Penn

How would you describe your superpower?

My superpower is probably communication.  When we did our voyage, the quality of photos you could take, and transfer, between our phones at sea, and the team on land, was far worse than the quality and quantity of footage you can send now. So, my superpower came in really handy whilst onboard, as a lot of our comms, at sea, came from blog-writing. However, I guess more recently, cooking has become my “superpower”. As I mentioned, I am really careful about the food we are producing aboard Eda, and it’s been great to be able to use food as a vehicle to make a positive impact for my crew and our wider ecosystem.

Photo by Katrina McQuail

What are your plans moving forwards, and has the voyage influenced any part of those plans?

Rather than expanding, we are focusing on optimising Eda, and our impact on our environment and communities. Like eXXpedition the idea of vessel-living is super powerful to us and will be a big factor driving Eda forwards.

In doing so, we hope to become more resilient and self-sufficient. In that way, it becomes easier to withstand external factors like fuel prices, drought or flooding for example. Essentially then, the aim is to help close, or better loop, Eda’s “ecosystem”. We’re also now a signatory of the Glasgow COP26 Climate Pact, so that is another bit of motivation.

“… the aim is to help close, or better loop, Eda’s “ecosystem”

We have several projects already on the go, moving us in the right direction. For example, we recently bought a new plot of land, which we are hoping to use to grow all our fruit and vegetables that can then be used for food on the boat, and re-purposed onto the land as compost. We’ve also been investigating the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil as a fuel alternative for the boat! It creates 80% less carbon emissions than burning diesel, and you don’t need to alter a current diesel engine to use it – it’s a great option, that just isn’t advertised or subsidised enough!

Photo by Stella Marina Stabbins

What are you most proud to have achieved?

Taking people sailing, getting them out onto the water, for the first-time and just seeing it all sink in, each time, is just the best feeling. Showing people that really have no kind of concept of what they really signed up to, or what we do, and then showing them what’s possible, is just amazing.  

I always wanted a life where I didn’t feel like I was exploiting anyone or anything to make a living. So, I’m just proud to have made a system that does this, that supports itself, but also other people. 

“Taking people sailing, getting them out onto the water, for the first-time and just seeing it all sink in, each time, is just the best feeling.”

Photo by Stella Marina Stabbins

What keeps you hopeful about the future of the ocean?

Given the chance, nature can heal itself. It is powerful and it’s resilient. All across the world, in places where robust ocean and fishing protection has been put in place, nature has rebounded. It will heal itself, we just just have to give it the right space and time, to do so.

Photo by Stella Marina Stabbins

“…nature can heal itself…we just have to give it the right space and time, to do so.”

If You Could Give One Message To The World, What Would It Be?

To wake up! To pay attention to the beauty of the world around you. Know that no governments, politicians or big businesses are going to protect it for you. Only you have the ability to make decisions about how your story plays out. Just because the people around you don’t seem to care or are not making an effort to change the world doesn’t mean that you should stop trying.

Eventually, it won’t feel like hard work and you will wake up everyday knowing that you have done your best to leave the world better than you found it.