Please select your home edition
Edition
Allen Brothers

Susie Goodall appointed first Secchi Disk ambassador seafarer

by Richard Kirby 6 Nov 2016 10:31 GMT 6 November 2016

Susie Goodall, the only female entrant in the 2018 Golden Globe, solo, non-stop, round-the-world yacht race, has teamed up with the global, citizen science Secchi Disk study to become its seafaring ambassador. The Secchi Disk study, which was begun in 2013, is run by The Secchi Disk Foundation charity and it is the world's biggest citizen science study of the marine phytoplankton with data collected by seafarers from all around the world.

Like so many sailors who love the ocean, Susie has a keen interest in helping to conserve the marine environment and said about becoming a Secchi Disk Ambassador "I'm very excited to become an ambassador of this amazing project, to collect some data, and spread the word amongst other sailors about the help that we can give scientists in understanding the sea's biology."

Dr Richard Kirby the project leader said "It's fantastic to have Susie as a project ambassador. Susie is inspirational and her enthusiasm and love for the marine environment are second to none"

The phytoplankton are the plant-like microalgae that form the base of the marine food chain. Research published in 2010 by three Canadian scientists suggested that globally, the phytoplankton had declined by 40% over the last 50 years due to the sea surface warming as a result of current climate changes. Other, more recent studies have also suggested that the phytoplankton are changing in their abundance around the world. Since the phytoplankton begin the marine food chain, their abundance determines the abundance of the other life in the sea, from fish and crabs, to whales and polar bears, and also to the seabirds in the sky. Consequently, it is very important to understand how and why the phytoplankton are changing. But the ocean habitat of the phytoplankton is vast and there are not that many scientists to study them, and this is where any seafarer can help by becoming citizen scientists and taking part in the Secchi Disk study.

The Secchi Disk study combines a tried and tested piece of equipment called a Secchi Disk with a free smartphone app called Secchi.

The Secchi Disk is a DIY piece of scientific equipment that was first invented by the Pope's astronomer Pietro Angelo Secchi in 1865 to measure the clarity of seawater; it is a round white disk of 30 cm diameter attached to a tape measure and weighted from below. When the Secchi Disk is lowered vertically into the water from a boat the depth below the surface at which the Disk just disappears from sight is noted and called the Secchi Depth. Away from estuaries and coasts (1km offshore and in water deeper than 25m) the main determinate of water clarity is the amount of phytoplankton in the water column, and so the Secchi Depth is a measure of the phytoplankton.

The free Secchi app enables seafarers to submit their Secchi Depth readings to a central database. The Secchi Disk study has no end point and the data collected becomes more useful the more seafarers that take part, the greater the area covered, and the longer the study continues.

Susie's yacht for the Golden Globe race is a Rustler 36 called Ariadne and prior to the race Ariadne's hull is going to be carrying the Secchi Disk project logo and website address to promote the citizen science phytoplankton study. This winter Susie and Ariadne will be crossing the Atlantic and taking Secchi Depth readings along the way, so keep a watchful eye and say hello if you see them berthed in a marina. Even better, Susie encourages you to make your own Secchi Disk, download the Secchi app, and take part in the study yourself and become seafaring citizen scientists like her. You can find full details on how to do so in the Secchi app and on the project website www.secchidisk.org.

Susie says "The oceans are a remarkable place, our second home, so what better way to leave a legacy for the oceans than collecting some data on the phytoplankton to help understand the sea better; why not take part?"

The solo non-stop, round-the-world Golden Globe race is the ultimate test of mental and physical endurance. The Golden Globe Race was born in1968 to prove whether it was humanly possible to sail solo, non-stop around the globe and 2018 will be the first re-run of this historic race to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The 1968 race was won by Robin Knox-Johnston's in his 32ft ketch Suhaili, in a total of 312 days. Just as in the first race the 2018 version will be run without GPS by using entirely by traditional means. That means no iPhone, no mod cons, just solo with the sun, stars and horizon. In the spirit of the original race, boats will be borderline classic, not the 60 ft, multi-million dollar machines of today, but 32-36 ft classics of yesteryear with the technology of the time; as close to the boats that were entered into the original race as possible.

The Golden Globe race starts in June 2018 from Falmouth, UK and heads South down the Atlantic Ocean passing through 'gates' along the way, the first of which is the Canary Islands, then the Cape Verdes, and on to round South of the 3 Great Capes; the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and finally Cape Horn, before heading up the Atlantic back to Falmouth. The other 'gates' are Storm Bay, Tasmania and the Falkland Islands. As a test of sailing skills and determination it has no equal. Perseverance, stamina, and sheer determination to get round the world, will ultimately win the race. The winds and waves that Susie will encounter for months on end will challenge every reason she has to do the race, but sheer determination to get round will see her on the finish line.

Related Articles

Golden Globe Race day 263
Istvan Kopar secures fourth place American Hungarian solo yachtsman Istvan Kopar finally reached the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne, France at 13:58 UTC today to take 4th place in the 2018 Golden Globe Race. Posted on 21 Mar
Golden Globe Race day 260
Kopar was making 5.1knots, having managed to cover 120 miles Day 260: At 04:00 UTC today, American/Hungarian Istvan Kopar and his Tradewind 35 yacht Puffin was within 250 miles of the finish line and expected to reach Les Sables d'Olonne around 09:00 UTC on Thursday 21st March. Posted on 18 Mar
Golden Globe Race day 252
Uku Randmaa crossed the Les Sables d'Olonne finish line at 09:00 UTC today Waiting for him at the dock was his wife Maibi and young twins Thor and Orm who were born shortly before his departure, together with the family of fellow circumnavigators who he had kept each other going through good times and bad over the radio. Posted on 11 Mar
Golden Globe Race day 249
Istvan Kopar escapes the Azores High and now 1,300 miles from finish Third placed Estonian Uku Randmaa has survived his last storm – 50knot winds and vicious 5m high seas – on Tuesday. The winds have now receded but the leftover Atlantic swell remains as his Rustler 36 One and All heads into the Bay of Biscay today. Posted on 7 Mar
Golden Globe Race day 246
Uku Randmaa has had the wind gods wih him this past week Third placed Estonian sailor Uku Randmaa has had the wind gods wih him this past week, and after chalking up a number of 130+ mile days, is now within 600 miles of the finish and due back in Les Sables d'Olonne around Mid-day next Saturday. Posted on 4 Mar
Golden Globe Race day 241
Uku Randmaa now within 1200 miles of finish Third placed Estonian sailor Uku Randmaa is hungry...Hungry because he has caught no fish during the past week to supplement the last of his food stocks...Hungry to finish...and Hungry to see his young family after more than eight months alone at sea. Posted on 27 Feb
Golden Globe Race day 234
Third placed Estonian skipper Uku Randmaa has escaped disqualification Third placed Estonian skipper Uku Randmaa has escaped disqualification from the Golden Globe race after breaching the strict rules forbidding outside assistance, but has been handed a 72-hour penalty for asking and receiving weather routing information Posted on 20 Feb
GGR 2018, SailGP's debut and the Caribbean 600
We modern humans live soft lives compared to the Golden Globe Race skippers We modern humans live soft lives compared to the skippers participating in the Golden Globe Race 2018. Posted on 19 Feb
Golden Globe Race day 227
There has been good and bad news from third placed Uku Randmaa Now within 2,500 miles of Les Sables d'Olonne finish line, Estonian skipper has solved his immediate hunger problems by catching two large marlin during the past week, which should extend his meagre supplies of basic freeze dried food to end of the race. Posted on 13 Feb
Golden Globe Race day 218
Istvan Kopar now within 500 miles of 3rd placed Uku Randmaa As Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and Mark Slats struggle to come to terms with life ashore, a race is developing for the final podium position between Estonian Uku Randmaa and the US/Hungarian Istvan Kopar. Posted on 4 Feb