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The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team has become the first to enter The Ocean Race Europe, following the opening of the entry period.

The inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe is scheduled to take place in late spring this year and is open to VO65 and IMOCA 60 teams.

It will feature racing from the Atlantic coast of Europe into the Mediterranean, with up to four stops along the way. The full race course will be released shortly.

Based out of Cascais in Portugal, the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team will compete on board their Racing for the Planet boat, in the VO65 class — the record-breaking, one-design offshore racing boats that produced the closest edition of The Ocean Race in history in 2017-18.

“We are excited to confirm our participation in The Ocean Race Europe,” said Yoann Richomme, skipper with the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team.

“It will be a challenging race in its own right and one that is worthy of our focus and application. Our approach to the European race doesn’t differ from The Ocean Race; we are here to win and our preparation reflects that.

Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team’s VO65, Racing for the Planet

“We are putting together a team of experienced sailors and shore crew and we can’t wait to get out on the water.”

“Officially lodging our entry for The Ocean Race Europe is a significant milestone for the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team,” added Paulo Mirpuri, founder of the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team.

“We have all faced many challenges over the past 12 months and sport will continue to play a critical role in our recovery. As we continue the fight against Covid-19 we must not forget the battle we are all facing against climate change.

“For us our message doesn’t change, we are ‘Racing For The Planet’.”

Race director Phil Lawrence took the time to welcome the first entrants. “This is a team with an ambition to perform at the highest levels on and off the water, with a strong commitment to ‘Racing For The Planet’ and we’re looking forward to seeing them on the start line in May,” he said.

The Ocean Race Europe is scheduled to take place in May/June this year. Event organisers will prioritise the health and safety of all participants, the public and all stakeholders and will adhere to all regulations and protocols with respect to COVID-19.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The 2022-23 edition of The Ocean Race is set to mark a sea change in its commitment to the environment by expanding the gathering of scientific data across the fleet.

On a recent transatlantic crossing by 11th Hour Racing Team — captained by Cork sailor James O’Mahony, with race veteran Damian Foxall as sustainability programme manager — high-quality oceanographic data was relayed ashore in real-time to improve models and predictions on ocean health and climate.

During the August voyage the boat’s crew used an onboard OceanPack — a device which records essential ocean data including surface temperature, salinity and dissolved CO2 — to sample seawater on a continuous basis and transmit the data live, rather than on arrival in port as in the last edition of the race.

The crew aboard the IMOCA 60 racing yacht also deployed a Drifter Buoy on the passage from France to Rhode Island in a target area where there is a gap in buoy coverage, for long-term real-time monitoring of ocean conditions.

“We want to build on the amazing success of our award-winning Sustainability Programme during the 2017-18 edition, which led the way in terms of offshore ocean data collection by a sailing event,” said Anne-Cécile Turner, The Ocean Race’s sustainability director.

“Everything we are doing under our new Racing with Purpose initiative, which has been developed in collaboration with 11th Hour Racing — our founding sustainability partner as well as the premier partner of the race — is aimed at taking that legacy and accelerating action to improve ocean health.”

She added: “The new and pioneering scientific equipment, now 30% lighter and 20% more energy efficient, is yet another example of the innovative record of onboard instrumentation.

“And, paired with the fact that teams on The Ocean Race go deep into some of the most remote areas on the planet like the Southern Ocean, it means that we are again in a unique position to contribute, this time to gather real-time scientific data to help inform decision making.”

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe, scheduled to start late in the spring of 2021, will bring international top-flight, competitive ocean racing to up to five European cities.

And organisers add that the event will engage with European citizens to enhance the ambitious green transition and showcase the power of digital transformation.

The Ocean Race Europe will see crew members from all over the world racing in foiling IMOCA 60s and one-design VO65s racing from the North Atlantic coast of Europe into the Mediterranean Sea, on a race course of up to five legs, each to be scored equally. There will be winners and prizes in each class.

“The Ocean Race Europe, provisionally scheduled to run over the month of June, fits well in the racing calendar in 2021 and provides our teams with competitive, meaningful racing next year, adding continuity to their racing programmes,” said Johan Salén, managing director of The Ocean Race.

“As a new event, it has been important that we have support from teams and sailors for this project to get off the ground, and the feedback to date has been extremely positive.”

On shore, there will be public activities within each host city, along with team promotional and hospitality events. The Ocean Race Europe will put the health of the sailors, teams and public as a top priority and respect all COVID-19 regulations in each city visited.

The work started by the award-winning sustainability programme of the 2017-18 Race continues as part of The Ocean Race Europe and beyond. The Racing with Purpose programme includes advocacy, science, learning and sustainable event excellence.

Ocean health and climate change are inextricably linked. The Ocean Race Europe will be advocating for climate action, telling the story of climate change through a blue lens.

As part of the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action framework, The Ocean Race joins forces with the sports sector in the global race towards net zero emissions by 2030.

‘This event has been inspired by, and will demonstrate, the values and spirit of European co-operation and identity’

And the plan for The Ocean Race is not to just reach net zero emissions, but be truly restorative and be climate positive, its organisers say.

“As sailors, we instinctively know that protecting and restoring a resource as central to life as the ocean is essential to our collective future,” said Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race.

“With our sailors, teams, cities and stakeholders, we will continue our efforts to promote a healthy and abundant ocean, and The Ocean Race Europe fits into this strategy.

“This event has been inspired by, and will demonstrate, the values and spirit of European co-operation and identity,” he added. “The Ocean Race Europe, passing through several member countries, will in itself be a showcase of open borders, the European Green Deal and the power of digital transformation, as well as the European mindset of working positively and proactively across national borders to address common challenges.”

The inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe in 2021 leads off a 10-year calendar of racing activity that includes confirmed editions of the iconic, fully-crewed, around the world event — The Ocean Race — every four years, beginning in 2022-23.

On a call with registered teams last Wednesday 7 October, The Ocean Race organisers updated teams about progress around The Ocean Race Europe, and informed the 60-plus attendees about an amendment to the Notice of Race that will be issued for The Ocean Race.

It will include a change to the crew configuration for the IMOCA 60s, which reduces the number of crew on board by one, to four crew members (with at least one woman) or five crew members (with at least four women). In both scenarios, each team must additionally have a dedicated on-board reporter.

This comes as a positive response to a request from the IMOCA Class Association, and follows consultation with their membership.

“The goal is to make it easier for existing boats and sailors, who are already active in the IMOCA fleet, to compete in The Ocean Race,” said Antoine Mermod, president of the IMOCA Class Association. “A common feedback was to reduce the number of crew and we are pleased to see this change.”

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

World-leading sailing apparel brand Helly Hansen has signed on as official clothing supplier to The Ocean Race.

With over 140 years of knowledge, experience and expertise in developing performance-driven apparel, the Norwegian-based brand is trusted by professionals around the world..

Helly Hansen has also developed lasting partnerships with the sport’s top athletes and has been an official apparel sponsor for teams in The Ocean Race since the initial event nearly 50 years ago.

“Since 1973, The Ocean Race has been demanding the best of everyone who participates,” says race chairman Richard Brisius.

“As sailors we not only love to promote the highest levels of competition on the ocean, but we are also working to promote and implement solutions towards restoring ocean health.

“In Helly Hansen, we have a partner who is equally dedicated to performance and to being a leader in contributing to a healthier ocean.”

‘We are honoured to collaborate with The Ocean Race, a partner who also holds sustainability as a true core value, in restoring ocean health’

Helly Hansen chief executive Paul Stoneham added: “No other sailing race in the world is as challenging and rigorous as The Ocean Race, attracting the sport’s top professionals who are pushed to their limits in extraordinary conditions.

“Helly Hansen is committed to working closely with professionals to develop gear that they can trust no matter what conditions they face.

“We are honoured to collaborate with The Ocean Race, a partner who also holds sustainability as a true core value, in restoring ocean health.”

As high-performance racing boats have raised the bar for technical sailing gear, Helly Hansen delivered jackets with improved Helly Tech waterproof, breathable fabric and stow-away facemasks for added protection.

In the 2014-15 edition, the brand outfitted the all-women’s Team SCA, featuring innovative, gender-specific designs that are still used across existing collections.

Today, Helly Hansen’s Ægir offshore collection is the direct result of having worked closely with The Ocean Race teams through the years.

Last refined with the MAPFRE team in the 2017-18 race, the Ægir line is the culmination of five generations of design improvements, using the sailors’ feedback to create and develop gear they can trust to withstand even the harshest environments.

The next edition of The Ocean Race will start a year later than scheduled in October 2022, as previously reported on

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

Organisers of The Ocean Race have confirmed that the next edition will now set sail a full year behind its originally scheduled start.

The race route remains unchanged from that announced in March — but now the fleet will start in October 2022 from Alicante in Spain and finish in Genova, Italy in the summer of 2023, during the race’s 50th jubilee.

Race organisers say the change was made after consultations with stakeholders as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to reverberate across the sporting landscape.

But plans are in the offing to host a European race next summer to keep interest high for the historic round-the-world yachting challenge.

And dates have already been fixed for the next two Ocean Races in an ambitious 10-year ‘reboot’ roadmap that strives to be “innovative, sustainable and responsible” at its core.

After the 2022-23 edition, The Ocean Race will return in 2026-27 and 2030-31 with fully crewed, around-the-world yacht races.

‘Moving the start date allows our host cities, teams and partners the time they need to best prepare for the next race’

“Meaningful racing” is promised for the gaps between the worldwide events, among these being a European race next summer for IMOCA 60s and VO65s, and potentially other classes of fast racing yachts.

“The Ocean Race Europe has been a vision and dream of ours and many others for a long time,” said Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race.

“We imagine a race and festival for everyone that will inspire and unify across Europe. A celebration with engaged fans and athletes achieving the extraordinary while driving change for a healthier planet.

“We have been planning for The Ocean Race Europe to be held in between editions of The Ocean Race since we took responsibility for the race last year.

“Originally we had been considering starting this in 2023, but we will now work with teams, cities, and partners to decide whether we should do it in the summer of 2021.”

Speaking on the move to push the next Ocean Race back by a year, managing director Johan Salén said: “We have been looking at the future of The Ocean Race and taking in honest feedback from our stakeholders around the world for some time now.

“Moving the start date allows our host cities, teams and partners the time they need to best prepare for the next race.

“But at the same time, we understood stakeholders were looking for confirmation of a longer term plan and enhancements to the race, which we are also developing.”

Check out a Special Edition of The Ocean Race’s Off Watch interview series for a race update from Richard Brisius and Johan Salén below:

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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Following successful collaborations in the 2014-15 and 2017-18 editions of the former Volvo Ocean Race, GAC Pindar has been appointed official logistics provider to The Ocean Race for an unprecedented third consecutive time.

As an official partner of The Ocean Race, GAC Pindar will provide feasibility planning, transportation of Race Village infrastructure, broadcast and other support equipment to host cities, customs clearance, storage and relocation services for potential urgent spares, site management, on-the-ground staff and provision of site materials handling equipment.

In addition, GAC Pindar will remain on standby throughout the duration of the race with recovery logistics services. GAC Pindar has provided urgent yacht and mast transport solutions for four teams during the previous two editions of the race.

‘The Ocean Race never stops evolving and always raises the bar’

Jeremy Troughton, general manager of GAC Pindar, said: “It is an honour to play an important part in this great event for an unprecedented third consecutive term.

“The Ocean Race never stops evolving and always raises the bar for us as a service provider. It empowers and tests us, both as a global team and as individuals, to deliver the best possible logistics solutions.”

The Ocean Race’s managing director Johan Salén added: “The Ocean Race is a unique event with significant logistical challenges. In GAC Pindar, we have a partner who has been tested in the last two editions of the race and who has a proven track record for reliability of service.

“The global reach of the GAC Group and the high level of commitment to finding solutions, makes this an ideal partnership.”

The Ocean Race and GAC Pindar have made a commitment to reduce shipping-related greenhouse gas emissions through the increased use of locally provided services compared to previous editions of the race.

‘A core mission for us during this next edition of The Ocean Race is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions’

Additionally, GAC Pindar will be providing detailed data on greenhouse gas emissions produced through all transport and logistics arranged on behalf of The Ocean Race, its partners and teams.

Reports will be issued throughout the event, allowing for adjustments to be made that will ensure the most efficient solutions are being utilised.

Troughton said: “A core mission for us during this next edition of The Ocean Race is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate single-use plastics that could be created by event logistics.

“In The Ocean Race, we are partnering with an event that is a sustainable event leader as shown by its award-winning efforts in the 2017-18 edition.”

The next edition of The Ocean Race will start from Alicante, Spain and finish in Genoa, Italy, visiting 10 international cities in total over the nine-month, 38,000-nautical-mile race.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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The latest edition of The Ocean Race’s Off Watch video interview series sits down with Damian Foxall, Irish veteran of the yachting challenge formerly known as the Volvo Ocean Race.

Kerryman Damian Foxall has competed in the round-the-world race six times, including a winning campaign in the 2011-12 edition.

In more recent years, he’s charted a new course as an advocate for sustainability both in the sport of sailing and the world in general.

But in his own words: “You can take a sailor off the water but not for very long.”

Here he tells Niall Myant-Best how how listening to glaciers shearing off Antarctica during an expedition last year gave him a new respect for sea ice, and about his pride in sailing into Galway as part of the winning Groupama team and helping to raise the profile of sailing in his homeland.

He also steers into choppier waters, such as how winning does come with costs — to family, to the environment — that he’s hoping to change through his work in sustainability for 11th Hour Racing and with Irish Sailing.

Watch the full interview below:

Published in News Update

Amid the chaos surrounding event cancellations in the wake of the coronavirus threat, The Ocean Race has brought some much-needed certainty with the announcement of the full route for the 2021-22 edition of the prestigious round-the-world yacht race.

Starting in Alicante, Spain in October next year, the race will visit nine host ports around the globe — Cape Verde, Cape Town, Shenzhen, Auckland, Itajaí in Brazil, Newport in Rhode Island, Aarhus in Denmark, and The Hague — before its grand finale at Genoa in Italy in the summer of 2022.

Cape Verde, Shenzhen and Genoa have never before hosted the race, which for the first time is now open to the IMOCA 60 class in addition to its dedicated one-design VO65 that debuted in the 2017-18 edition of the then Volvo Ocean Race.

Confirming the “more compact” route, at a total of 38,000 nautical miles and with two fewer stopovers, “has taken on an added importance as the designers look to optimise performance for the conditions,” said Johan Salén, managing director of The Ocean Race.

Race chairman Richard Brisius added: “As ever, The Ocean Race appeals to athletes and teams who want to compete against the best in the world and add their name to the list of the legends of our sport who have defined their careers by taking on this incredible challenge.”

In the 2021-22 edition, this list will include more women as all race teams, in both classes, will be required to have female crew members.

And the introduction of the IMOCA 60 fleet presents a new opportunity for sailors to race in the world’s most challenging and competitive fully-crewed event.

Paul Meilhat, winner of the 2018 Route du Rhum and the current leader of the IMOCA sailor rankings, is among those looking to make the transition.

“It has long been my dream to compete in The Ocean Race and test myself against the best sailors in one of the most challenging races in the sport,” he said.

The Ocean Race organisers said they are “fully committed to holding a successful event” but, given the uncertainties related to the current coronavirus pandemic, they are in “ongoing conversations” with medical experts and authorities and following their advice.

“As always, the health, safety and well-being of The Ocean Race family and all race stakeholders is a top priority,” organisers said.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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On Earth Day (Monday 22 April) The Ocean Race and 11th Hour Racing have forged a partnership that aims to bring sustainability initiatives to the heart of the race.

The Ocean Race says it is building on its position as the sustainability leader in global sport by announcing a visionary partnership with 11th Hour Racing — the largest of its kind in sport.

The legendary round-the-world sailing event and its premier partner will focus on a broad range of initiatives to promote the restoration of ocean health, embedding sustainability in all event operations.

As part of this ‘Racing with Purpose’ initiative, the partners have committed to a comprehensive action plan to initially:

  • Convene 11 Ocean Race Summits and Innovation Workshops, focused on ocean health, with the first being held in Europe in September 2019.
  • Work with experts and sailing teams to explore the use of state-of-the-art renewable energy systems onboard the IMOCA 60 and VO65 classes during the next edition of The Ocean Race in 2021.
  • Inspire school children around the world to take action for the ocean through a multi-lingual, curriculum-based, education programme, to be released in May 2019.
  • Continue the powerful science program developed in the last Ocean Race, which gathered critical oceanographic and microplastics data, and examine ways that all teams are able to participate in this groundbreaking research.
  • Inspire millions of Race Village visitors with the possibility of a sustainable world through interactive experiences at each stopover.

Johan Salen, managing director of The Ocean Race, said: “Through this partnership with 11th Hour Racing, and by harnessing the power of sport, we are using our collective global influence and extensive networks to reach millions of people to affect meaningful, long-term change for ocean health.

“The sailing community has a deep connection with the sea so it’s natural that we would work together to safeguard its future. The integration of our collective vision within every area of our operations will engage and inspire the wider sailing community, teams, our stakeholders and suppliers, future host cities, schoolchildren and, of course, the race fans to take decisive action on this urgent issue.”

11th Hour Racing says it works with the sailing community and maritime industries to advance solutions that protect and restore the health of our oceans.

The renewed and expanded partnership is intended to build on the momentum of the multi-award winning Sustainability Programme, featured in the past edition of the race, of which 11th Hour Racing was the founding principal partner.

“11th Hour Racing has developed an impact-driven model with sustainability at the core of all of its programs,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of 11th Hour Racing and president of The Schmidt Family Foundation.

“During the last edition of this iconic race around the planet, we raised visibility with the race crews, fans and students all over the world about the breadth of issues threatening the oceans and innovative solutions to address them, some that we already can put into practice. These efforts were a powerful catalyst for positive action.

‘This is a unique opportunity to create a coalition between sport, business, and policymakers.’

"Together, we have the power to deliver science and sustainability through the platform of sport. 11th Hour Racing is excited to continue its collaboration with The Ocean Race to create one of the most forward thinking and unique sport sponsorships of our time.”

The Ocean Race Summits aim to provide a platform that uses a mix of storytelling and groundbreaking announcements to help advance solutions to environmental issues. Industry-led Innovation Workshops will explore ways to evolve business models and reduce impact on the environment.

Growing the Learning Programme, used during the previous race by more than 110,000 children in 41 countries, a new science and sailing module will be launched this spring. This will provide the next generation with the tools to become future ocean advocates.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

“This is a big moment for The Ocean Race,” said managing director Johan Salén at this week’s official launch of the event previously known as the Volvo Ocean Race.

“We are excited to be moving forward with a new identity that reflects the best of our heritage – human ambition, technology, competition and teamwork – while adding in new elements, like our core focus on sustainability.”

Formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race (1973 to 1997) and the Volvo Ocean Race (2001 to 2018), The Ocean Race was taken over by new owners Atlant Ocean Racing Spain last year, but retains previous owner Volvo as a premier race partner.

The next edition of The Ocean Race will start in 2021 from Alicante, Spain with two classes of boats racing: the high-tech, foiling IMOCA 60s and the one-design Volvo Ocean 65 fleet that provided the closest race in the history of the event in the last edition.

“Opening up The Ocean Race to the IMOCA class isn’t just exciting for the sailors. It puts us back at the forefront of technology and gets the entire marine sector – from designers and engineers, to boatbuilders and sailmakers – involved in the race again,” said executive director Richard Mason.

“There are nine new IMOCA 60s in build across the world and we know several of them are being prepared as projects for our race. And on the other side, we already have six of the eight VO65s that are essentially spoken for by campaigns planning to be on the start line in 2021.”

Two Volvo Ocean 65 campaigns were announced on Thursday.

Paulo Mirpuri, chair of the Mirpuri Foundation and a founding partner of Turn the Tide on Plastic in the last race, announced he would have at least one team competing in The Ocean Race.

“Our intention is to build a campaign in the VO65 boat – the one-design class that produced such thrillingly close racing last time out – to take our sustainability message around the globe.”

Mirpuri added in a video link from Portugal that he was intrigued by the technology challenge posed by the IMOCA 60 and was considering a second entry in that class.

Bianca Cook, who raced on board Turn the Tide on Plastic in the 2017-18 event, announced she would be spearheading a New Zealand-flagged team.

And Tony Rae (Trae), a veteran of six editions of the race, twice as a winner, as well as seven America’s Cup teams, is on board to manage the campaign.

“After the race finished in The Hague, I was ready to go again and since then I’ve been working with Trae to put together a team for the next Ocean Race,” Cook said.

“We have a deep pool of New Zealand sailors to draw from as we put together the crew – I can’t mention any names just yet – but watch this space.”

Further team announcements are likely over the coming weeks and months, despite the start being two-and-a-half years away.

Xabi Fernández and Paul Meilhat are among those working to get teams together for the gruelling round-the-world ocean yachting challenge.

The 2021-22 edition of The Ocean Race will feature up to nine stopover ports, with the host city procurement process now under way.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Antoine Mermod, president of IMOCA. “For a few months we’ve been working together with The Ocean Race to organise the best event we can. What The Ocean Race is building is really something that will change the offshore sailing world in the future.”

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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