Sailscanner & Sail to the COP – Fabian

Making sailing as normal as flying

Why is taking a sailboat not as normal as flying somewhere? Making sailing a realistic alternative for transatlantic travelling inspired Fabian Kemps Verhage to set up SailScanner.org, a website that helps people find sailing ships. To give SailScanner more attention, the team came up with  the adventurous plan to organize a transatlantic sail trip, which perfectly fitted with the COP in 2019 taking place in Brazil. That starting idea has been ‘given wings’ and now the mission is to raise the voice of 25 young people at the COP by sailing there together with Sail to the COP. Now he works on two initiatives with one mission.   

While the destination is clear, everything else is being thought out now: what ship, who can come, how it will be financed. The first application for a fund has been send out, says Fabian. The special experience of the transatlantic sail trip is already a big motivation for Fabian. Having studied in Brazil for a year he would also like to reconnect with his friends there, but he does not fly anymore because he does not want his travel behavior to contribute to climate change. To move the idea to a next stage Fabian has pitched the plan to friends and family, held a brainstorm meeting and a workshop at the LCOY Netherlands. The potential of conferences like the COY, he argues, is that young people realize they can organize themselves and do not take policies of older generations for granted. In all of these meetings it became clear that people were intrigued by the Sail to the COP plan. “From the very start everyone we talked to was very positive”, says Fabian, including, importantly, the skippers the young team is in touch with.  

A main challenge for the Sail to the COP plan is how to involve people in different ways. “It is easy to get feedback and ideas”, Fabian says, “but it would be great if people could work with us too.” To turn the trip to Brazil into reality the first need is financing. Recommendations for funds or organizations that would like to partner up are welcome. Fabian would also love to hear from any enthusiastic young people in other EU countries are keen on joining. For SailScanner, people could help by collecting sailing data. Fabian describes how it is nice to take concrete actions, as fighting climate change can be hard because it feels like a theoretical concept. “I am never or rarely hit as a person”. That is why he does his actions more from a moral consideration, a normative feeling, than from an emotional energy. The changes he has made in his own life have enriched his life, such as thinking about the way food is produced. “With every dairy product I resist, I am happy I can make my ideals come true”.


If you want to get involved with SailScanner or Sail to the COP, contact them through www.sailscanner.org or www.sailtothecop.com.

Promotion Team