The Zero Emissions Project was founded in 2008 by the two initiators Thomas Reinke and Michael Walther. The aim of this project was and is to inspire spectators, the media and companies with spectacular watersports projects for various environmental topics. Because even if it may seem superficial - environmental protection must be cool and interesting! In this way, we can reach target groups with the important topics who have not previously dealt with climate change, littering of the seas, overacidification of the oceans or saving resources!
The internet offers all information directly from home. But which information are available for us? Thanks to social media and blogs, we live in a bubble which makes us believe that the whole world is interested in our topics. We do not come together with more but with less different thinkers. We "like" our favorite themes and algorithms give us more information of this kind.
Therefore it has become even more important to go beyond borders with our projects in order to reach even more people!
The roots of zero emission projects are already in 2007. Thomas Reinke and Michael Walther came to an agreement with the English sailing legend Pete Goss and took over the Seacart 30 "Playing for Success". The Englishman had used this carbon offshore trimaran for a children and youth project before and in December 2007 he handed over a perfectly equipped yacht. Thomas Reinke, Michael Walther and Thomas Walther sailed this trimaran in December 2007 from Plymouth to Kiel. 35 knots of wind and 2 degrees air temperature are a first hard test for sailor and material. Just before Christmas, the team reaches the new home port Kiel.
A year goes by with races and other sailing activities until the same crew leaves the port of Kiel for the "ZERO EMISSIONS - BALTIC CHALLENGE" campaign in December. On behalf of the state capital and supported by the city's president Kathy Kietzer as patron, the trimaran sails out to give the message "Zero Emissions" to all Baltic Sea neighboring states.
The team sails from Kiel to Gdansk, to Klaipeda, Riga, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and ends after more than 2000 nautical miles in the dark and freezing temperatures just before Christmas on Öland. The Swedish island becomes the destination of the projectÂ after wind and weather forced the crew to seek protection.
In each of the countries bordering the Baltic Sea, we have each changed the third crew member to a sailor of the next country. So we could provide even more identification and enthusiasm in the respective country.
In addition to the trimaran "Playing for Success", different catamarans of the F18 class were used from 2008 onwards. Michael Walther, three times German Champion of the Hobie Tiger class, started 4 times in the hardest Formula 18 race in the world, the Archipelago Raid. In 2009 he started with the "W4 - powered by Zero Emissions" team. The American owner of the agency W4, Douglas Walker, wanted to realize his dream of participating in this awesome race. A serious illness prevented him from doing so, so Michael had to compete with another crew in this race.
Further regattas in the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 followed.
Next to various sailing projects, another water sport has been added since 2013. Sailing is quite cost and time intensive and so it is becoming common that Michael Walther is traveling with his stand-up paddleboard along the coastline of Schleswig-Holstein. So it is no surprise that this type of watersport is also used for extreme projects.
In 2015, Michael paddles across the free Baltic Sea from Kiel to Äerö - at night and non-stop. Each of the paddled kilometers brings donations to the Paulchen Esperanza Foundation, with whom we have been cooperating since 2013.
In 2016, the 9 hours to Denmark are no longer enough. So it's non-stop from Kiel to Flensburg in 24 hours - 120 km come out, of course, again for Paulchen!
In 2017, Michael Walther crossed Schleswig-Holstein on his SUP board. 98 km through the Kiel Canal from Brunsbüttel to Kiel.
Hydrofoils are a very important topic in water sports. The Zero Emissions Project is of course included. Wind energy can hardly be used even more efficiently. The foiling A-Class Catamaran is part of our project since 2015.
Unfortunately, the race against the Scandlines hybrid ferry was lost, but an appointment for a rematch is already underway.
The Zero Emissions project is 10 years old and so it fits very well that we put our biggest project into action. After 1.5 years of planning, Michael and his team starts in May 2018 to the small City Aasiaat on the Greenlandic west coast. From there, the journey goes by SUP across the Disco Bay to Ilulissat, in search of ice and tracks of the manmade climate change. We get into close contact with many local people and collect an incredible amount of experience and information.
The result is the 12-minute film "The Great Route", which is screened at various international film festivals and has already won several film awards.
With this action and thanks to the NDR, Welt am Sonntag, the Segel Journal and many other media, we have been able to raise awareness of the effects of climate change on more than 1.5 million people. We were supported by many partners whom we would like to thank elsewhere.
Zero Emissions around Schleswig-Holstein! That was our goal for 2019 and we reached it together with Mario Rodwald. With our SUP and kite board, we paddled and surfed 700 km along the coast of the northernmost state. From Kiel, to Travemünde and Lübeck, through the Elbe-Lübeck Canal, the Elbe, along the North Sea coast and then from Flensburg home to Kiel. One of us was on the water, the other accompanied him with an electric car. For protection on the water we had a Torqeedo electric motor boat on our side.
In just 8 days, we circeled Schleswig-Holstein with zero emissions.
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