An Evening with Jean-Michel Cousteau

“Jean Michel-Cousteau of Ocean Futures Society and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum are teaming up in support of UCSB Geography alumnus and Olympic hopeful, Willie McBride, who, with teammate Dane Wilson, hopes to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro in the sport of sailing. Ticket sales will benefit the McBride.Wilson Olympic Campaign as well as the Ocean Futures Society, and information can be found below.

Peer out over the local waters of Santa Barbara and you’ll likely see two young sailors training on one of the most unusual and fastest mono-hull sailboats on the planet. The 49er is challenging to even the most seasoned sailor. Developed in New Zealand and known as a “skiff” because it planes over the surface of the water, the 14-foot hull is nearly overwhelmed with sail area and reaches speeds of 25 knots or more.

McBride Wilson is comprised of Dane Wilson (19) and Willie McBride (23). Both athletes have had a lifelong love affair with the ocean and are on a mission to share that experience with others. Their plans are to compete for an Olympic medal and through the process of training, fundraising, coaching, and competing they are endeavoring to include an environmental component that teaches the next generation stewardship of the ocean.

Both athletes grew up on the water and spend as much time in and around it as possible. When not in the midst of training, going to school or working, they relax by surfing, kiting, and free diving in the local waters. “It sounds crazy, but it’s the ocean that revives us,” says Dane Wilson. “It’s another significant part of the campaign we are working to create. We want other young people to fall in love with the ocean as well and learn how best to take care of it and respect it.”

Currently, the duo is competing in Santander, Spain at the Sailing World Championship, where over 50 countries are represented as part of the qualification process for the Olympics. To learn more about their campaign visit,

McBride and Wilson are thrilled to have Jean-Michel Cousteau as the keynote speaker for their fundraiser at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Jean-Michel Cousteau is an explorer, environmentalist, educator, and film producer. He has dedicated himself and his vast experience to communicate to people of all nations and generations his love and concern for our water planet. Cousteau is the Founder of The Santa Barbara based Ocean Futures Society, a non-profit marine conservation and education organization.

Drawing from over 50 years of experience exploring the world and studying the ocean realm, environmental speaker Jean-Michel Cousteau provides a wealth of stories and knowledge from his adventurous life with his father, Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his team. Everything is connected, and, as such, everything has a value in promoting the fantastic complexity that keeps the entire communities functioning, keeps our ocean planet habitable. Through personal stories and exploration, Mr. Cousteau will share some the threats facing the long-term sustainability of our water planet and will showcase the stories of hope with ocean conservation success stories from his travels from around the world.” (Text provided by Tracy Hulett, event coordinator.)

Event Details: Thursday, October 16, 2014; 7 to 9 pm; Santa Barbara Maritime Museum; Wine & appetizers 7pm; Keynote Speaker Jean-Michel Cousteau 7:30; Tax Deductible Donation $125; Tickets available at

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Cousteau diving with sea turtle; event details

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McBride Wilson sailing in the Columbia River Gorge (photo credit to John Kelsey Photography)

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McBride Wilson posing in the Columbia River Gorge (photo credit to John Kelsey Photography)

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McBride Wilson in Hood River Oregon (photo credit: John Kelsey Photography)

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Event poster

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McBride (right) graduated in 2012 with Outstanding Achievement as a Geography Major (awarded to students graduating with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher). He is seen here with Geography graduate student Tom Pingel filling their homemade Mylar balloon with helium for a test flight (from the June 29 2011 Geography News article; photo credit: Bill Norrington)