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Novara sailing yacht - one planet, one people, one boat



The Novara on one of her polar missions, anchored interestingly beside an iceberg. The vessel is a high latitude specialist expedition yacht, custom built to be independent and provide life support for several months at a time. She is an aluminium-hulled Bestevaer 60c, designed by renowned naval architects Dykstra and built by leading yacht builders KM in 1997. Novara was designed as a high latitude icebreaker research vessel with a unique aerodynamic platform built by Damon Roberts of Magma.





Members of the Cleaner Ocean Foundation were very privileged to meet the crew of the Novara, at an event in Eastbourne, generously hosted by the Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club, and the United Nations Oceans & Climate group, with the assistance of Plastic Free Eastbourne, on the 4th September 2022.


The event was well attended, compeered by Gonzalo Alvarez and Oliver Sterno and opened by the Deputy Mayor of Eastbourne, Councillor Candy Vaughan. The audience heard from Steve Brown via a live video link, who showed us pictures and movie footage of his expeditions in the Novara from 1997 onwards, with interesting anecdotes on the trials and tribulations of sailing in inhospitable waters, with some serious ice caking the vessel - which, fortunately - has double glazing and other insulation to keep the cabin temperature bearable for the crew, during meals and rest periods.


During his time on passage to the Falkland Islands, Steve Brown endured the most challenging conditions with hurricane force headwinds that necessitated the use of a drogue and running SE away from his destination for 42 hours.


We learned that at one point the Novara was driven onto a freezing shore by high winds, becoming beached - when things started to look very bleak. But then not long after a distress signal was triggered, the Chilean Navy turned up to offer the intrepid adventurers a tow back into the water - having at first offered a rescue. Amazing!


All in all, this is an extremely interesting project, with a great team - in a world that should be aiming for circularity, but is struggling to meet Agenda 21 (Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro) from 1992, and Paris Climate Agreement objectives from 2015. Let us hope the team can help to turn the tide of public opinion to influence change. We will be avidly following their progress, and wish them every success, with each nautical mile they travel; Zero Emission.




Councillor Candy Vaughan, Liberal Democrat, Deputy Mayor



EASTBOURNE DEPUTY MAYOR - The Deputy Mayor was kind enough to say a few words, to open the event.


Councillor Candy Vaughan (Liberal Democrats), Eastbourne Town Hall, Grove Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4UG. Phone: 01323 655732  Email:







Nigel Jollands and Veronica Lysaght speaking at the Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club in Eastbourne



OCEAN ADVENTURERS - Dr. Nigel Jollands and Veronica Lysaght speaking at the Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club in Eastbourne on the 4th of September 2022. After the presentations, Nigel and Veronica very kindly hosted a boarding party on the Novara. A beautifully built (and re-fitted) yacht, still looking good after 24 years of reliable service. 


Dr Nigel has worked on climate change research, action, policy and finance for 30 years. He’s provided advice to the highest levels of government and managed billions of euros in climate finance funds. He’s established one of the largest city environmental finance programmes in the world and overseen climate and environmental action plans for dozens of cities from Ankara to Zenica. And somehow that’s not enough. The Novara project gives him an opportunity to get out from behind his desk and combine his passion for sailing and the environment.


Veronica is excited about the Novara project, particularly meeting new people and gaining wisdom from cultures she has not experienced before. As CEO and founder of her company, Leading with Humanity, she is focused on supporting those who go out into the world and make a difference – which she will continue to do while onboard.

She enjoys sailing and is aware that she has a lot to learn – especially about sailing a unique and go-anywhere adventure yacht. She expects her biggest contribution on board will be as a listening ear and her selection of easy-to-make vegan recipes that she is currently developing.








PLASTIC FREE EASTBOURNE & UNO&C - Oliver Sterno is the Plastic Free Eastbourne champion, with Gonzalo Alvarez being the Chairman of the United Nations Oceans & Climate organization, operating out of and in and around Bexhill and Hastings. The y worked together to help organize this event.






YACHTS & YACHTING 27 JUNE 2020 - Novara One Planet project launches - education, climate research and environmental science

Novara One Planet, a project aimed to connect people to the impact of climate change through education, science and adventure, has been launched in London, UK.

The Novara One Planet project will serve as a platform for education, climate and environmental science, documenting the impact of climate change on coastal communities and ecosystems from aboard the sailing vessel, Novara. Its expeditions will aim to support coastal communities dealing with the impacts of climate change, with a focus on those which are more difficult to access.

Partnering with academic researchers, civil society influencers and local communities, the Novara One Planet team will gather information and document findings about how coastal communities are affected by, and adapting to, climate change and reducing their environmental impact. This knowledge will be used to create educational materials and deliver outreach and advocacy programmes in local communities and for the project's followers. The Novara One Planet project plans to offer opportunities for sailors and researchers to join climate change-focused sailing expeditions.

Novara One Planet has the support of a group of like-minded people who feel connected to the project's mission. Our community includes:



- Steve Brown - Adventurer and Tilman Medal winner, current owner of Novara


- Rev Bob Shepton - Adventurer, author and twice winner of the Tilman Medal


- Dr Bruce Glavovic - Lead author of the IPCC's report on Climate Change impacts on Coastal communities


- Nisreen Elsaim - Chair of the UN's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change


- Victoria Syddall - Scientist examining gender and climate change in Pacific communities



Novara One Planet is being founded by Dr Nigel Jollands and Veronica Lysaght, the custodians of the Novara sailing vessel. With help from their crew of volunteers, they lead the expedition aboard Novara to promote climate change action.

Nigel has over 30 years' experience in climate change research, action and policy. He has advised the highest levels of government and managed billions of euros in climate finance funds. He holds an RYA Yachtmaster Coastal qualification and has 5,000 nautical miles in his logbook. Novara One Planet gives him an opportunity to combine two of his passions - sailing and the environment.

Veronica Lysaght will contribute to research, provide leadership development and teach facilitation skills in those communities where these skills are wanted. She has worked in management, coaching, research and facilitation for more than 20 years and is the founder of Leading with Humanity, a personalised leadership development programme.




Yachts and Novara article June 2022



Novara One Planet project launches - education, climate research and environmental science - by Veronica Lysaght, 27 June 2022, 13:09 BST.





Novara is a specialised high-latitude expedition yacht custom built to be independent for several months at a time. She is an aluminium hulled Bestevaer 60c, designed by the famed Dykstra naval architects and built by the world-leading KM yacht builders in 1997. She's designed as a high-latitude ice breaker research vessel with a unique aero rig constructed by Damon Roberts of Magma. With Steve Brown as skipper, she has already circumnavigated the Americas.



Novara has a canoe underbody with central hydraulic aluminum centerboard (with 1 ton lead weight). In addition, she has an aluminum keelson with the prop in an aperture and two “ice deflectors”, full skeg protected rudder.


There are 2 manually operated daggerboards (wood/epoxy coated glass) in the port and starboard aft quarters for additional stability in downwind conditions.

Internal lead ballast (8.5 tons), with a 31% ratio. This is increased to an overall 39% ballast ratio Including full fuel and water tanks, which are low in the bilge.

She is of all aluminum construction, strongly built: ALMG 1.5-116, 40 mm in bow stem area, 20 mm plating at keel stem base, 10 mm keel sides, 8 mm topsides, 6 mm deck plating, with closely spaced framing for extra strength.

The Novara has a double bottom for much of the boat’s length (diesel fuel, water, gray water, and ballast tanks). There are 5 separate watertight compartments (aft storage areas, engine room, main living quarters, tool room, forepeak)







NOVARA - The Viking route map 2023




A go-anywhere adventure vessel needs a potent mechanical repertoire:

- Perkins Sabre 135 hp diesel engine, that might one day be green hydrogen powered, as technology advances
- Hurth transmission
- Aquaseal stern gland
- Adjustable pitch hydraulic propeller, from West Mekan
- Vetus Bow thruster
- Kabola diesel-fired (naughty) heating system with 8 domestic radiators plus hot water system

- Watermaker – SRC 1,800 gph







NOVARA - The North-West passage route map 2024






Earth’s climate is changing, and so must we. Novara helps to connect people to the impact of climate change through education, art, science and adventure.

The team aims to support communities to adapt to climate change, by:

- Offering training and support to prepare climate adaptation plans
- Supporting communities to access funding for climate adaptation plan implementation
- Sharing solutions, knowledge, experience between communities on solutions to climate change adaptation.
- Contributing to climate/environmental science using Novara as a platform.
- Offering opportunities to join climate-change-focused sailing expeditions.

The Novara has recently had a major overhaul of equipment, including rebuilding of her masts and yards in Southampton, and is now ready for another decade of research and adventure around the globe. By Veronica Lysaght






Novara and Elizabeth Swann teams - all in a good cause



SEPTEMBER 2022, SOVEREIGN HARBOUR - Terry, Dr Nigel Jollands, Veronica Lysaght, and Ryan. Terry and Ryan are team members of the Elizabeth Swann JVH2 project. They were very pleased to meet the environmental sailors, and learn of their inspirational project, in turn being inspired. Both Ryan and Terry are character models in a series of ocean awareness graphic novels, a creative campaign in the making. Terry is the team's fitness instructor. While Ryan is a Youth Ocean Ambassador - who regularly attends events, helping to man stands at exhibitions and the like.














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