Schock-ing! Small Boat, Tiny Crew…7,000 miles, Big Science & One Amazing Export!

U.S. Export Success Report

A daysailer sailboat with 35 gallons of fuel might seem like an unlikely craft to undertake a 7,000 mile, non-stop, 63-day journey from San Francisco to Yokohama.  But, the Sakura was no ordinary daysailer. It was made by W.D. Schock, a company founded some 60 years ago by a legendary fiberglass sail pioneer from Newport Beach, California.

Manning the sails were not your usual crew, either: Matt Rutherford and Nicole Trenholm (pictured above at left) are with Ocean Research Project.  Besides being intrepid sailors, they are stellar scientists who simultaneously made the first non-stop, continent to continent marine plastics survey. The duo actually slowed their journey in order to painstakingly sample micro plastic pollutants on the ocean’s surface.  Not only is the data, which was collected underway and shared real-time with a group of STEM students in Maryland, invaluable but the pair also safely delivered an exquisite U.S. export:  the Sakura will be sold by American Yacht & Customs, the firm’s main importer in Japan. W.D. Schock’s President Alexander Vucelic is pictured to the right.

Clearly the selection of the name “Sakura” was more than a reference to the trees that represent the U.S.-Japan bond.  Japan shares our deep pride in work on promoting sustainable fisheries, halting marine pollution and studying ocean acidification, as demonstrated by the Government of Japan’s participation in the June 16-17 “Our Ocean” conference in Washington, D.C.