10 questions

10 Questions | Holly Manvell

10 Questions | Holly Manvell

While many of us do not have a daily connection to the world's oceans, they have an incredible impact on our quotidian. Sea plants, such as Posidonia, for example produce more than half of the oxygen we breathe. 

Indeed, "there is no greater source of life, nor governor to the balance of our global environment than our oceans" and it is upon this premise that Clean Sailors was born - a not-for-profit founded by Holly Manvell

Holly and her crew work to mobilise the global sailing community to conserve the oceans they love - and we all need. 

Read on to see what drove Holly to create Clean Sailors whilst holding down a punchy full time corporate job. 


Holly Manvell Clean Sailors

Holly Manvell 


Tell us about Clean Sailors. How did it come about?

Over the years, I’ve got more adventurous in my sailing and heading further away from shore. The skies get wider and plated in a different type of cloud, the seas get deeper and darker, the roll of the swells get longer and higher, and you see some of the most incredible sunrises, sunsets and wild life. And plastic bottles. Hundreds of miles offshore, days from land and there they are – just bobbing. More often than not, the rubbish in our oceans comes from land and it’s a sad fact that there is just so much of it in our waters.


Plastic in oceans North Cornwall

Plastic debris on a beach in Cornwall, UK 


It got me thinking that we sailors already love the sea – it is our pleasure, pastime and for many, our profession. Given we use it so much, we should more naturally stand for protecting it and safeguarding its health. We just need to understand what the real picture looks like, our real impact and how quick and easy it is for us all to be a bit cleaner. And so, Clean Sailors was born - a way in which to share a love for the sea, a passion for sailing and the science behind how it works and what it gives us, a way in which for us as a global sailing community to be the ocean ambassadors it’s natural for us to be. We aren’t much without the sea.


How do you usually start your day? 

Early! Mornings are my favourite time of day – it’s quiet and sometimes feels like you have the world to yourself. Each day I head out for a walk / exercise first thing to get my thoughts together, back for coffee and breakfast and then begin my day, always with a To-Do list. Or three.


The best thing about working on Clean Sailors is...

The people.

Each day is learning with and from people - sailors, sea-lovers, ocean appreciators, industry experts, scientists, and our supporters. There are so many people passionate and knowledgeable about the sea, helping us do something a little bit differently – it is the best motivation and incredibly rewarding.


And the most difficult aspect….? 

Patience! We’ve lots to do and plan and share and are genuinely just so excited by what we do.

Patience is just a real fine art. I’m still learning on this one…!


Are you a carry-all tote or mini handbag kind of girl?


Totes see me through those days hopping from one activity or meeting to another, and particularly when travelling. Mini handbags are my evening, weekend and walk in the park choice, when all I need is my phone, lip balm and notebook (ideas seem to strike at the most random of times…!)

And my sailing kit bag, obviously. But you don’t make those yet…!


What are you most excited about for the future?

Change. Because we know we need to. These next few years will be huge for environmental and humanitarian efforts. We are starting to see and think bigger, we’ve more understanding than ever and are beginning to act and create together and on a much larger scale than before, knowing that there are lots of things in our societies and our structures that don’t quite work anymore.


Fishing plastic from ocean. Clean Sailors

Collecting plastic...


Biggest life lesson?

Intuition is incredibly powerful. Learning to trust it takes time, but the biggest personal investment one can make.


My favourite place to escape is... 

Cape Town or Cornwall. Both for the sea.


I am happiest when…

Learning with and from other people. Ideally over good food!


Who is the woman that has most inspired you? 

Tough question - there are and have been many. The founders, creators, mothers, friends, role-models, family, mentors, supporters, self-starters, explorers and right now, my Clean Sailors Crew mates – highly inspiring, super smart young women with a drive to help change the way things are done, for the better.



You can check out Clean Sailors via the links below


Clean Sailors on Instagram



 Clean Sailors

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