Plastiki Survives Winter Storm, Nears Destination - NBC Bay Area

Plastiki Survives Winter Storm, Nears Destination

Boat survives near-hurricane winds in Tasman Sea



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    Brutal winds and high seas were the Plastiki's last hurdle before reaching the coast of Queensland, Australia.

    The Plastiki, which set sail from San Francisco Bay 125 days ago and is closing in on its destination, has safely reached the coast of Australia.

    But before it could reach safe harbor in Runaway Bay, south of Brisbane, it had to pass through a winter storm on the Tasman Sea where 60 knot winds whipped up angry waves.

    The journey, which is an effort to promote waste reduction through the recycling and reuse of plastic, is nearly at an end, with about 300 miles to travel before reaching Sydney Harbor.

    Weather had cooperated for most of the trip, with winds peaking at 30 knots until the recent storm. With one mainsail already "blown out," and the mast coming close to toppling, the boat -- made in part from recycled plastic, so possibly not the sturdiest thing for a Pacific crossing -- is still in one piece, mostly.

    As captain Jo Royle joked on CNN, thankfully few if any of the 12,000 plastic bottles meant to add buoyancy to the catamaran didn't break off and leave "a trail of 12,000 bottles across the Pacific."

    Jackson West likes a good sailing adventure, even if some ecological mission is a convenient excuse.