My name is Jan Eirik Breen. In the summer of 1981 I started building my sailboat, Leviata, at Riis Farm in Nordby of the Ås municipality, Norway. My dream certainly wasn’t to sail far, but to build a boat for my family. Since its launch in 1989 Leviata has been used as my family’s cabin every summer. With my wife, three children, our cat and dog (with puppies on year!) on board we have had many fantastic and eventful trips in Oslo fjord. Leviata has also had the pleasure of accommodating several “guys’ trips” to Shetland, the Orkney Islands, and not least around Spitsbergen in 2003.
With my thankfulness for all the great moments I’ve had on board, I started to ponder whether it was possible to use Leviata to bring some good to others. Meanwhile an old, but so far undeveloped dream reappeared: The dream of a nonstop circumnavigation on my own. With older children, safe economy and a suitable boat, I finally had the opportunity!
In the fall of 2012 I contacted Rolf Olsen, the chairman of IMPANDE, to bounce my idea off him. Namely a combination of philanthropy and circumnavigation.
This is how my work started with IMPANDE’s development fund.
Sailing around-the-world project
This was the framework for the project:
- I would try to become the first Norwegian who sailed around the world alone without stopping.
- I would collect £ 80 000 (NOK 1 000 000) for an education fund for youth in South Africa
The idea was to combine these two objectives in such a way that it was exciting for contributors to give money to the fund, while it also gave me meaning to sail day after day alone without interruption for 10 months. The plan was chiefly that those who registered as donors should subscribe for x number of cents per nautical mile Leviata sailed on her circumnavigation in 2014 – 2015. That meant that my motivation to undertake the circumnavigation would lie in the fact that for every nautical mile I sailed, money would literally sail into to fund.
The last two years Rolf and I held many lectures in various associations and groups to acquire donors for this fund. But due to unforeseen circumstances in their own companies that required more effort than expected, collecting work unfortunately went slower than planned. Therefore, I decided to postpone the trip for another year to 2015 – 2016 to acquire more donors to the fund.
During the Boat Show at Lillestrøm in 2015, our collection exceeded £ 40 000 (NOK 500 000). Over 125 individuals and businesses had signed up as donors. With several initiatives and events throughout the spring we found the target to be within reach before departing in August.
Benign paroxusmal positional vertigo (BBPV) and re-organization of the project
Then something happened that I never thought possible. During a three days sailing alone on the way to Molde at Easter, I received a severe bout of vertigo. I had big trouble trying to keep on my feet and handle the sails and rigging on board. Although the attack was over after a few weeks on land, my doctor banned me from sailing alone over long offshore trips. What now? I had the numerous sponsors and over 125 donors to relate to.
To describe a comprehensive and demanding reorganization process in short: All the sponsors and 95% of donors have approved the following arrangement:
Instead of circumnavigation, I was to sail Leviata from Stjørdal / Trondheim in mid-August with a destination of Fløyspjeld, Bundefjord. During the following 10 months I will continue collection efforts to IMPANDE’s Education Fund by seeking sponsorship from associations, unions, churches, businesses and individuals. Instead of donors contributing x number of cents per nautical mile Leviata sails, the goal is to get donors to commit for a fixed amount in 10 months. Single contributions are also welcome. In this way, I expect to achieve the goal of gathering together £ 80 000 before the tour is over next summer.
A small number of donors (10) have fallen under this reorganization process. Most, however, have set the goal of establishing this education fund for South African youth as more important than a sailing project. Fortunately! It has been an important motivating factor for me when it comes to continue a project that at times has been quite demanding. Both economically and, not least mentally.
Gamalkhe Foundation’s Education Fundd
Gamalakhe is an impoverished area located slightly northeast of Cape Town in South Africa. Without education, the youth here stand in front of a sad future. Education beyond primary school and secondary school costs money, unfortunately. We are talking about relatively small amounts by Norwegian standards, but unattainable amount of youngsters in this area.
Since IMPANDE already operates an active education fund for children and youth here, it was only natural for me to propose to use the money I shall collect for educational purposes. This is how the idea arose of establishing an education fund to support motivated young people who wish to acquire further education. We are, in fact, already supporting 8 students. These are students who have been placed on a two-year mechanical college education from 1 January 2016. After completion of this study, they are guaranteed further maritime education paid for by a partnership between Klaveness Shipping and South African maritime authorities. Klaveness has decided to recruit a significant proportion of their seafarers from South Africa in the future. And not least, the company has also committed itself to IMPANDE by prioritizing those students who are awarded scholarships from Gamalakhe Foundation’s Education Fund. Naturally with the condition that they complete their maritime training as well.
For me it is of course extra enjoyable that my maritime project has becomes even more “maritime.” But in general, the fund is of course not primarily aimed at Maritime Education. All education that carries forward in the African community, are relevant to support the fund!
Would you like to follow along?
Some of you may have been aware of this project via various media reports. More information is available on leviata.no and facebook.com/aleneseilas . Here you can follow Leviatas position at any time until next summer. From August, both my homepage and the facebook page will be updated frequently with information about what happens both on board, at sea and on land.
For those of you who have signed up, or have committed to a fixed 10-month donation at minimum NOK 150 (ca. £ 12) per month will also receive the so-called donor letters with first-hand information from the project about once a month. The same applies to individual contributions of minimum NOK 1500 (ca. £ 120).
It remains only to say good summer! Should you be near Leviata (see leviata.no), you are naturally welcome aboard!
With best regards
Jan Eirik Breen
skipper on Leviata
This post is also available in: Norsk