Beagle Project Update

I guess I will bug you about this for the next ten days – my personal pet cause if you want. No takers yet….
Here is the e-mail newsletter about it I got today:

Dear All,
Beagle Project updates:
• We are now a UK registered company and have applied for charitable
status; now that we officially exist and are accountable we have
started fundraising,
we have paypal donate buttons on the
Homepage and weblog page:
we’re asking individuals for a Darwin (£10) or a Jackson ($20 – he was
US President at the time of the voyage. Corporate sponsorships packs
available: email me.
• Our profile has shot up following recent write ups on the popular
American science websites Pharyngula and A blog around the clock here:
and here:
and several good fundraising ideas outlined on our beagleblog here
• TV interest: lots of it, especially from stations from outside the
UK. Bigwave TV who specialise in science and natural history
programming have shot a promotional film about the project – contact me
if you’re interested.
• We have had some tremendous free advice from PR and fundraising
professionals whose hourly rates would make your eyes water and we’re
now recruiting admin support so we can step our efforts up still
• We are working towards developing the science and education aspects
of the programme, bringing professionals in to advise and manage. BUT
the priority right now is fundraising for the build. We need £100,000
(well £98,500 after the last three days donations) by April and £3.3
million in 14 months if we are to have a replica HMS Beagle sailing and
celebrating Darwin in 2009. Ideas and contact which may lead to
sponsors and donations welcome.
• And finally, a small but necessary rant for which I make no apology.
This is a photo of the replica of HMS Endeavour entering Whitby
The estimated crowd in town on that day: 20,000. James Cook learned
his seamanship in Whitby, the original Endeavour was a Whitby built
ship. Yet this replica was built in Australia, because a British
attempt to build a replica HMS Resolution (another of the Whitby built
ships on which Cook circumnavigated the globe) had collapsed amid
shrugging British indifference. I don’t want that to happen to Beagle:
the build of the Beagle in Britain could be the story that keeps
interest in Darwin200 bubbling away in the media and (especially) gets
young people interested during 2008 (I’m a youth sail training skipper
and regularly attend the Tall Ships Races – square riggers fire young
people’s enthusiasm like little else). The launch will be a headline
story and its arrival in the Galapagos, sailed by a crew of
international young scientists will be an image that goes round the
world. And the Beagle will science, especially the teaching of
evolution, a legacy for the ship’s 30-odd year working life. There are
just 741 days until 12 February 2009 – we can have a replica HMS Beagle
in the water by then. It will take three months to have the plans
approved and 14 months to build. But for that to happen we need your
enthusiasm, donations, overt support, contacts and assistance right
now. Not in 2008, or 2009.
Have a look over the newly poshed-up website: if you run a website or
weblog, please feature us, link to us and help spread the word.
Forward this email to people you think may be interested and if you
think they should be but aren’t interested enough, light a fire under
them. 2009 will be really missing something if there is a Beagle
shaped hole in it. The last couple of days have really (temptation
use corny wind/sail sailing metaphor…resisted) raised our profile and
interest, especially in the US and I’m keen that we keep the momentum
up and turn this is practical offers of financial support, advice and
media coverage.
Peter McGrath
Trustee, project co-founder, website designer.

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