Sailing for a World Education

PRESS RELEASE: They cast off their lines 8 years ago, with a goal to sail to Tahiti, bringing their friends along for the ride. Over 150 people joined. They had twins in the South Pacific, and are now planning to do it again — around the world.

Green Coconut Run wasn’t supposed to succeed. That’s what all the sailors said. “Schedules and sailing don’t go together,” the old salts said. But Sabrina and Kristian thought otherwise. This was the only way for their friends to visit during brief work vacations — and help fund a trip they couldn’t afford alone.

They created a sailing cooperative, and thirty people pledged $1000, in exchange for two weeks aboard somewhere in the voyage. Some joined in Mexico, others in Galapagos, some waited three years until the fifty year old, 42 foot trimaran finally made it to French Polynesia.

Kristian and Sabrina had only known each other for a year and a half when they left. They had some huge challenges — a broken eardrum that almost cancelled the voyage, delamination of the boat’s fiberglass after crossing the ocean, and dealing with major lightning threats. “No pirates though,” Sabrina says. “That’s one challenge we fortunately didn’t have to deal with.”

Along the way, visiting co-op members helped gather water samples for micro-plastic research. Sometimes they returned on the flight home with a suitcase loaded only with samples of salt water. “We wanted to do something good while having a fun adventure,” Kristian says. They partnered with a ‘crowd-source science’ organization called Adventure Scientists for the project, which compiled data on micro-plastics from adventurers around the globe.

An environmental science graduate from UCSB’s Bren School, Kristian dreamed of creating nature-based, educational expeditions. He was funded as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to do a year-long series of magazine articles (published in Pacific Standard) in Mexico about climate adaptation while driving a Ford van all the way down the coast from California to Oaxaca. Yet his true ambition was to make an ocean voyage.

Once in the dreamy islands of the South Seas they wondered, “could we actually stay here and raise a family?” Famously, on their very first date, Sabrina asked Kristian whether he wanted to have kids. But nobody imagined she’d get pregnant with identical twins, while trying to launch a charter business in Tahiti.

They named their new business Green Coco Charters, and somehow got it running just after the pandemic hit in 2020. How did they fund their boat upgrade, a 46 foot catamaran, when they had no income for 3 years? Remember all those co-op members that joined them for their voyage, whose schedule wasn’t supposed to succeed? They raised $300,000 through their cooperative, via private loans and investments for their new charter boat.

For the last 3 years, Sabrina and Kristian ran their family-friendly, wellness focused sailing trips in the remote atolls of Tuamotus, an archipelago of pristine wilderness and authentic culture near Tahiti — with their twin babies growing up aboard. “Its definitely been a wild ride,” says Sabrina. “Our biggest issue has been getting reliable nannies to help us out. But honestly, the guests have all loved it. It’s a bonus to their sailing trip — like having baby TV in paradise,” she laughs.

So if things are going well with their charter company, why do an around-the-world voyage now? “Our girls are growing up. Where will they go to school?” Kristian asks. “We want to give them a real world education, by circumnavigating the globe on a sailboat.” Their first voyage 8 years ago was so memorable because they shared it with others, so they want to do the same thing again.

Their vision is to offer experiential learning for families who join 10 days trips during their around-the-world voyage. Onboard teachers will take kids of varying ages to daily beach classrooms and field trips. Meanwhile, parents and other visitors will have access to optional workshops, à la Nat Geo style, that weave together with the places they are visiting: with topics like ecology, history, mindfulness, and personal growth.

To find space for all these teachers in their educational circumnavigation, Kristian and Sabrina realized the perfect boat is… a bit bigger. With 5 cabins and space for voyage crew, a 60 foot catamaran is in their sights. For the third time, they are opening the doors for community investment in a new adventure. “Doing charter trips is super expensive – over $5000 per week, per couple. Our members get time aboard these fantastic trips in paradise, for a tiny fraction of the cost. And we get to run the boat,” Sabrina explains.

“Doing a circumnavigation takes a leap of faith,” Kristian says. “We know it takes time to prepare, so we are starting early. After purchasing the new boat, we plan to spend two years in the Channel Islands getting everything dialed in, sharing trips with interested visitors. It’ll be a really fun homecoming, and a great way to prepare for the next adventure.”

If interested in learning more, check out the proposal for the Green Coco Expedition on their blog:

Follow their real time updates about the boat purchase and investment opportunities on their community page:

Previous articles and press:

Remembering pre-pandemic days of Ebola Scares… and the launch of Green Coconut Run on March 27, 2015

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