Trade Winds, by Christiaan De Beukelaer


Our guest today is Christiaan De Beukelaer, a sailor, traveller, and a researcher at the University of Melbourne. 


Christiaan and Kat discuss his book Trade Winds, A voyage to a sustainable shipping.

In 2020, Christiaan De Beukelaer spent 150 days covering 14,000 nautical miles aboard the schooner Avontuur, a hundred-year-old sailing vessel that transports cargo across the Atlantic Ocean. Embarking in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, he wanted to understand the realities of a little-known alternative to the shipping industry on which our global economy relies, and which contributes more carbon emissions than aviation.

What started as a three-week stint of fieldwork aboard the ship turned into a five-month journey, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced all borders shut while crossing the ocean, preventing the crew from stepping ashore for months on end.

Trade winds engagingly recounts De Beukelaer’s life-changing personal odyssey and the complex journey the shipping industry is on to cut its carbon emissions. The Avontuur’s mission remains crucial as ever: the shipping industry urgently needs to stop using fossil fuels, starting today. If we can’t swiftly decarbonise shipping, we can’t solve the climate crisis.


Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature describes Christiaan’s book as “a truly fascinating account of a voyage, but also of an idea that is counter-intuitive in a world based on speed, but revelatory for a planet that is going to have to start taking real care of itself. There’s a bit of romance here, and a lot of reality.”


Deborah Cowen, author of The Deadly Life of Logistics, in turn says that “This is a book that should change the world.”

It should indeed!

Trade Winds is published by Manchester University Press; our listeners can order using the link below and get a 40% discount with the code GIFT40.