Peter Willcox believes that non-violent direct action is an educational tool that can change minds. Willcox started sailing for the environment in 1973 on the Clearwater, the boat started by folksinger Pete Seeger. He already sailed as a hobby, but his experience on the Clearwater helped him fall in love with sailing for a purpose. When the Rainbow Warrior came to the USA for the first time, he volunteered immediately. Willcox has skippered Greenpeace ships since 1981 and was the captain on the Rainbow Warrior when it was bombed in New Zealand by the French secret service in 1985. Willcox continues his work as a maritime activist, most recently becoming known as one of the Arctic 30, a group of sailors imprisoned in Russia in 2013 for attempting to scale a drilling platform in international waters. Willcox said that the worst part of this ordeal was spending 23 hours a day in isolation.
Willcox is married and a father to two teenage daughters. Parenthood, in Peter’s words, “is about the only thing that could keep me from going to sea.”