Racing with Copepods – By Barbara McVeigh


Racing with Copepods documents the adventures of twelve middle school students as they learn how to sail in order to study plankton. Students learn what many adults would not commonly know and find that learning science requires seeing differently. Where does the most of the oxygen we breath come from? What is the fastest animal on earth? They learn that there is more acting upon their ability to sail than merely the currents, winds, and how well they can tie a knot.

Sailing Education Adventures, a 30 year old nonprofit sailing organization in the San Francisco Bay, was behind the efforts for a new ocean advocacy film called Racing with Copepods. SEA stems from the Oceanic Society, and so they were the perfect organization to team with”, says producer Barbara McVeigh, who has been a member for over 10 years.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, a National Geographic resident is featured, and well known sailing writer Kimball Livingston narrates the 20 minute educational, ocean advocacy film which has been receiving incredible support from the sailing, science and educational communities.

The making of the film was an incredible feat. Many of the participants and supporters gave tremendously to the effort providing skill, knowledge and resources. “Clearly, those who care about the ocean know there is an important message to share. Sailors love the ocean so they should be speaking up,” says Barbara McVeigh.

Film Director Carlos Graña of BMP Production, and a former member of the sailing organization, had two weeks to prepare for filming. Without a script he pulled together a heart felt and inspirational story that is being screened at science centers, sailing clubs, libraries, universities and schools.

“RWC is a unique concept combining 4 areas I love – filmmaking, sailing, education, and science. That is what drew me in initially, that and the challenge of figuring out how to make an engaging film that seamlessly combines sailing with education and science. From there, the film has evolved into a movement to transform the way we teach our children, from classroom- to place-based education; and from land- to ocean-based awareness. That shift is necessary, as most of our planet’s surface is water, most life forms are ocean-based, and most of our oxygen comes from plankton.” – Filmmaker Carlos Grana

The film is available for screenings at your school, sailing program or yacht club. A DVD is being produced soon and the team is looking for financial support to finish the project and distribute the film.  (LINK PROVIDED SOON).

Documentary, 19 minutes
Director: Carlos Graña
Producer: Barbara McVeigh
Featuring: Dr Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer

Some supporting articles and information: