Are you striving for “slow travel” and are you looking for environmentally friendly means of transport? How about trying the “Sailcoop” adventure? This new cooperative, which offers trips by sailboat Toulon-Calvi, has just closed. The concept: take the time to travel differently, with the lowest possible ecological footprint. A company conceived and co-founded by Maxime de Rostolan, an ecologist and entrepreneur in heart and soul for a long time.
If you swear by the train, but dream of Corsica this summer, you are faced with a dilemma. That of taking the ferry or (worse!) the plane. But recently there is an alternative: Sailcoop, a cooperative that offers boarding a sailboat for a “low-carbon” trip.
At the heart of this initiative is Maxime de Rostolan, a 40-year-old resident of Ile-de-France, entrepreneur, but also, in his own words, “public interest lobbyist”, “agitator” and “eternal optimist”. “Eight years ago I stopped flying out of environmental awareness, along with eating meat and fish. I was a bit tired of making people feel guilty who continued to use this mode of transport, so I thought it would be more interesting to offer them an alternative”he tells ETX Studio.
An established idea that this seasoned ecologist will not let go. “I had the chance to spend some time next to sailors, at sea and in ports. After a while I noticed the number of boats that are moored at the quay all year round”remembers Maxime de Rostolan.
“Then I thought we could use these ships to allow people to travel without polluting. On the eve of my fortieth birthday, I posted on social networks sharing this idea. Maxime Blondeau, who lives in Vannes, bounced back by telling me to investigate the idea. The Sailcoop adventure has launched”†
Optimizing 200,000 recreational sailboats for carbon-free travel
A “slightly crazy” project that sees the light of day, however, and that now brings together eleven co-founders. “The original idea was to convince the owners of boats that stay at the quay to optimize the use of their vessel by leaving them to us in the rental management, ensuring proper maintenance of the equipment. But without experience in the field it is difficult to instill confidence! So we got a whole team together and launched a crowdfunding campaign to buy our own boats.”says Maxime de Rostolan, CEO of Sailcoop.
Since the beginning of May, the Toulon-Calvi or Saint-Raphaël-Ajaccio crossings can be booked (from 90 euros for a single ticket). Sailcoop’s first two sailboats measure 50 feet and 15 meters, with about ten private cabins and moorings. Meals (usually vegetarian) are also served on board and are included in the ticket price.
Ultimately, the cooperative hopes to develop its original idea and optimize the use of the 200,000 French recreational sailing boats in management-rental.
Ferries to New York or Rio de Janeiro
Between May and October, other trips are planned in the Mediterranean: to Porquerolles, Greece and why not the Balearic Islands. And from October towards Guadeloupe and Martinique. “Maybe we’ll even push to New York or Rio de Janeiro”hopes Maxime de Rostolan.
In just a few months, the founders of Sailcoop managed to secure more than 700 reservations for Corsica and 100 for transatlantic crossings. “There is more demand for travel to Corsica, probably for price and travel time reasons. However, I think transatlantic travel will interest people who are willing to take the time to travel, for example to go to the United States without increasing their carbon footprint.”says the general manager of Sailcoop.
That is also the whole idea of Sailcoop, emphasizes Maxime de Rostolan. “We want to start a new relationship with time, telling ourselves that the journey starts as soon as we leave the house”† In other words: travel differently, less far, less often, but longer!
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