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A new trophy has been announced for the VO65 one-design class in The Ocean Race 2022-23, which sets sail from Alicante in Spain next month.

Along with five confirmed IMOCA teams racing around the world, up to five VO65 teams will be on the starting line with an option to compete for the new VO65 Sprint Cup.

The new trophy has been specially created for VO65 teams and will be awarded to the team which accumulates the best score across three different legs of the race: Alicante to Cabo Verde; Aarhus in Denmark to The Hague; and The Hague to Genoa, Italy.

VO65 teams participating for The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup will compete in the in-port races scheduled in those cities as well as the three stages of offshore racing from point to point.

“This new trophy will enable a new generation of sailors, along with some familiar faces, to gain some valuable experience in The Ocean Race,” said Phil Lawrence, race director of The Ocean Race.

“This format provides an opportunity to compete in The Ocean Race environment, with racing from host city to host city along with in-port competitions. The participating VO65 teams will get significant offshore racing exposure.”

The first racing for The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup is the in-port race in Alicante on 8 January 2023, followed by the first offshore stage in the event from Alicante to Cabo Verde starting on 15 January.

“We are very happy that we will compete in the in-port race and then take the leg one start in Alicante on 15 January. We’re looking forward to racing three incredible Legs against some top-level competition. It promises to be an incredible battle,” said Jelmer van Beek, a 27-year-old Dutch sailor from The Hague who has been named skipper and will lead the young Team JAJO.

“For me personally it is an amazing challenge to be the skipper of Team JAJO,” he added. “I think I am one of the youngest skippers to take a start in the race. It’s a huge responsibility and above all a challenge. But one that I am ready for and really looking forward to, especially with this team.”

At sail during the Genoa coastal race in The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceAt sail during the Genoa coastal race in The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

The Dutch boat had a refit at Royal Huisman last summer and is almost race ready, with finishing touches being applied in Barcelona before the team assembles for training next Tuesday 6 December.

“It’s been such a big learning experience working on this boat to get it ready for racing,” said Mateusz Gwóźdź from the Polish team. He is once again expected to be the youngest sailor in the race, at just 17 years old, and having previously competed in The Ocean Race Europe. “I can’t wait to get the boat in the water and do more training before we head for Alicante.”

The Polish team has been preparing its new VO65 (previously AkzoNobel) from a base in Valencia, Spain and is planning to make a full team and crew announcement shortly.

Working its way back into The Ocean Race is Team Viva México, who are aiming for a Mexican comeback of sorts after the historic win of Sayula II in the first edition of the race in 1973. No Mexican-flagged team has participated in the race since then.

“In 2019 we set ourselves a goal to bring Mexico back into what we consider the greatest race around the world,” said skipper Erik Brockmann, who led the team in The Ocean Race Europe.

“Many things have changed in the past three years that we did not anticipate then, but being on the start line to race for The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup is an exciting step towards bringing Mexico back into Race and a way of paying tribute to the historic win we achieved 50 years ago.”

More information about the VO65 teams racing for The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup will be made available shortly, race organisers say.

Meanwhile, the IMOCA fleet is set to lead the action in The Ocean Race with five teams - 11th Hour Racing Team, Team Malizia, GUYOT environnement-Team Europe, Biotherm Racing and Holcim PRB - featuring many of the top names in offshore sailing, racing around the world.

The IMOCA fleet will assemble in Alicante, Spain from 2 January 2023 ahead of their in-port race on 8 January. Leg One of The Ocean Race begins on 15 January.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The Ocean Race is driving support for the recognition of the ocean’s intrinsic rights with the goal of the adoption of a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights by the UN General Assembly by 2030.

This was the main message at one of The Ocean Race events held at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm-El Sheikh, Egypt this month.

“The Ocean Race is here to deep dive into the concept of ocean rights, meet different perspectives and discuss how ocean rights can make it higher into the global political arena,” said Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race at the event titled ‘Ocean Rights to boost Climate Action at International Negotiations’.

The Ocean Race is playing a key part at the conference as founder of the first-ever Ocean Pavilion as well as host of three events that gathered policy-makers, youth, scientists and representatives from member countries to accelerate the recognition of ocean rights.

The Ocean Race joined a group of the world’s leading ocean science and philanthropic organisations, led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, which came together as co-founders of the Ocean Pavilion, hosting over 60 sessions over the two-week conference period to highlight the crucial importance of the ocean to Earth’s climate and to efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change in the safest, most effective ways science can offer.

COP27 was also the location for the launch of The Ocean Rights Alliance, an innovative platform for companies and other stakeholders to get involved and contribute to the process through exploring ocean rights in corporate governance.

Xiye Bastida, climate justice activist and co-founder of Re-Earth Initiative, speaking at one of The Ocean Race events at COP27 | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean RaceXiye Bastida, climate justice activist and co-founder of Re-Earth Initiative, speaking at one of The Ocean Race events at COP27 | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean Race

“One of the great things about The Ocean Race is that it brings together so many different players around the ocean and can accelerate and catalyse action for ocean conservation,” said Lucy Hunt, senior advisor for learning and summits at The Ocean Race.

For his part, via a video message, Pier Luigi Sigismondi, F&B group president with the Dole Sunshine Company stressed the importance of “setting a new framework, a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights, to help set the reference for good and proper ocean governance”.

The Ocean Race team also held a series of high-level bilateral meetings, including talks with Monaco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Isabelle Berro-Amadeï; and delegates from France, Ireland and the Pacific with a focus on joint promotion of ocean rights at the global level.

Speaking at one of The Ocean Race events, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson described the action that is needed if we are to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees: “We have to take the sacrifices, get off this damn highway to hell that we are all so comfortably cruising at the moment. It is just not good enough. Think about what you are doing, think about what you are consuming, how you spend your money… Just take away all the names on a map of the world and you'll see: it's one ocean, and that’s really important when it comes to ecosystems and fixing up all the wrongs that we are doing and of course rising ceilings.”

Addressing the audience, Earth Law Center UN Representative and Focal Point Myra Jackson noted that we must include “the aeons of experience and knowledge that indigenous people hold and carry.”

Xiye Bastida, climate justice activist and co-Founder of Re-Earth Initiative said: “How do we bring the voices that have never been heard before, the voices of the ocean, the voices of the animals in the ocean?”

She added: “We have to learn how to communicate and how to listen to the communities by the water, because those stories of survival are the stories that are going to help us imagine a world where we are not dependent on a system of destruction. In my language, the word for ‘skin’ is the same as the name of ‘the outer layer of the Earth’: when you hurt the Earth, you hurt yourself.”

Richard Brisus, race chairman of The Ocean Race (right) passes the Nature’s Baton to US senator Sheldon Whitehouse at the Ocean Pavilion at COP27 | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean RaceRichard Brisus, race chairman of The Ocean Race (right) passes the Nature’s Baton to US senator Sheldon Whitehouse at the Ocean Pavilion at COP27 | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean Race

For her part, Minna Epps, ocean lead at IUCN said: “We need to go beyond humans, and we really need to think about providing the same rights to the ocean.”

Another event on ‘Connecting Climate Action with Ocean Rights, Human Rights and Corporate Rights’ was held at the COP27 Climate Action Hub, with representatives from sustainable materials specialist Archwey, Dole Sunshine Company as well as UNFCCC Team Lead Joanna Post.

As part of participation at the Climate Conference, Relay4Nature, an initiative by The Ocean Race and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, Nature’s Baton was passed to the Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse as well as Gina McCarthy, first White House National Climate Advisor. Connecting the world’s key environmental events, it champions the ocean and calls on leaders to take urgent action to protect nature.

Along the way, Nature’s Baton has collected messages from a diverse range of influential voices, including HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco; European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius; French president Emmauel Macron, US presidential envoy on climate John Kerry; co-chair of Friends of Ocean Action and former deputy prime minister of Sweden, Isabella Lövin; and WWF director general Marco Lambertini.

Through its Racing with Purpose programme, established in collaboration with Founding Partner 11th Hour Racing, The Ocean Race has been working for over 18 months to build support with decision-makers and governments across the world for a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights, which would establish the ocean as a legal entity and put in place a global framework for protecting the seas.

Draft principles on ocean rights are being created through the “Genova Process”, which gathers experts in international law, diplomacy, ocean science and sport to drive the ambitious goal of giving the ocean a voice It gets its name from Genova, the city that will host The Ocean Race Grand Finale in the summer of 2023.

The race is also getting the public onboard through the One Blue Voice campaign, with a petition for a Declaration that will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2023.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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The Ocean Race and Mission Blue, an NGO dedicated to exploring the ocean and driving its protection, are coming together to accelerate action to safeguard the seas.

At the heart of the new collaboration, they say, are two ambitious goals for a healthy ocean: establishing a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights and protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030.

Through its Racing with Purpose programme, established in collaboration with Founding Partner 11th Hour Racing, The Ocean Race says it has been working for over 18 months to build support with decision-makers and governments across the world for a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights, which would establish the ocean as a legal entity and put in place a global framework for protecting the seas.

The race is also encouraging the public to get onboard through the One Blue Voice campaign, with a petition for a declaration that will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2023.

As an ‘Impact Collaborator’ of The Ocean Race, Mission Blue says it will help to drive support for ocean rights and highlight how this could play a crucial role in protecting the seas.

The collaboration also aims to shine a spotlight on ‘Hope Spots’, vital parts of the ocean that have been scientifically identified as critical to the health of the marine environment.

Working with local communities to safeguard these special areas, Mission Blue says it is calling on leaders and policymakers to ensure they are properly protected and able to thrive.

Ahead of the start of The Ocean Race 2022-23, which sets sail from Alicante, Spain on 15 January, the collaborators will look at ways to champion the Hope Spots that the teams will be racing by along the 60,000km route.

Richard Brisius, race chairman at The Ocean Race said: “Less than 3% of the ocean is protected, which has led to our blue planet being ruthlessly exploited. Working with organisations that are also racing to protect the ocean is the best way of making waves and driving action.

“By uniting with Mission Blue we can help audiences discover the incredible world beneath the surface and give the ocean a stronger voice, which will ultimately help to safeguard it.”

Led by legendary oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue’s work to raise awareness and grow support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas encompassing 30% of the ocean by 2030 will be amplified by The Ocean Race through its Racing with Purpose sustainability programme.

Created in collaboration with 11th Hour Racing, the programme features a series of high-level summits, learning programmes to inspire children to protect the ocean and an onboard science programme in which valuable data about the state of the seas is collected by sailing teams as they race across the planet.

Deb Castellana, director of strategic alliances at Mission Blue said: “Witnessing the development of The Ocean Race over the past decades, it is inspiring to see how what was once purely a challenge of human determination and the latest sailing technologies has evolved into a program centred on making a real difference for our imperilled ocean.

“The message to support ocean health is absolutely integral to the race, and it will be impossible for anyone following to escape this critical and timely message. From youth programmes to global summits, to presenting the Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights at the United Nations, The Ocean Race will make its mark as not only a sailing race, but a race to save our ocean planet. Mission Blue is proud to partner with The Ocean Race. No Blue, No Green!”

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The Italian port city of Genoa, host of The Grand Finale of the next edition of The Ocean Race, will see a distinguished line-up of race legends come together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the race.

All boats and sailors who have previously competed in the race are invited to participate in the Legends festivities, organisers say.

The Legends regatta will be part of the host city activities during the finish to the 14th edition of The Ocean Race at the end of June 2023.

Born as the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973 and continuing as the Volvo Ocean Race from 2001 through 2018, The Ocean Race has become the reference fully crewed around-the-world race in the sport of sailing.

For the past 50 years, the race has been a proving ground for the best sailors, yacht designers and builders in the sport, creating five decades of icons and legends.

Over the coming year, The Ocean Race will celebrate its heritage by having race legends at stopover events, promoting historical content in race programming, through a capsule merchandise collection and a virtual legends race — all building towards the on-site Legends event in Genova.

“We are so excited to share the history of The Ocean Race here in Genova, as part of the Grand Finale celebrations this summer,” said race chairman Richard Brisius at the ‘Towards The Ocean Race’ event in Genoa this past Sunday (6 November).

“One of our race legends, the late Sir Peter Blake once said this race ‘gets in your blood and you can’t get rid of it’, and I think that is a perfect description of how the challenge of The Ocean Race takes hold of your imagination and doesn’t let go. This is the history we want to honour and celebrate during our 50th anniversary year in 2023.”

Enrique Carlin was watch captain on board his father Ramon’s boat, Sayula II, winner of the inaugural Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973-74. In a message, he said: “Over these past 50 years of The Ocean Race, things have changed a lot; boats and navigation, all of the technology behind the event. The only thing that has never changed is the enthusiasm and love of sailors to be there, sailing on the great ocean with the tempestuous winds and waves. I hope that all of you who have raced around the world can be there on our anniversary this year, at the end of June 2023, to celebrate achieving this wonderful dream of sailing around the world in the greatest competition of them all.”

The ‘Towards The Ocean Race’ event was hosted at the Porto Antico in Genoa on board the Amerigo Vespucci, a tall ship used by the Italian Navy for training purposes. The Amerigo Vespucci is also linked to The Ocean Race, having been on site for previous leg starts and during the recent stop of The Ocean Race Europe.

Among those in attendance were Captain Luigi Romagnoli; Rear Admiral Massimiliano Nannini, director of the Hydrographic Institute of the Navy; Rufino Selva Guerrero, deputy director in thematic projects for the Comunidad Valenciana Society; Laurent Rousseau, business manager of the Race Village of Alicante; Gianmarco Nicoletti, brand manager for Ulysse Nardin in Italy; Antonio Di Natale, marine biologist and consultant of the Genova Process; and the the Mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci.

“The Ocean Race is an historic appointment for the city of Genova and a significant event for Italy in 2023,” said Mayor Bucci. “We are talking about a sporting event of great value and a worldwide following. The announcement of the Legends regatta is a further, very important step that enriches the Grand Finale program. These will be days of great excitement for our city that will have the eyes of the sailing world focused on us.

“We are ready to host tens of thousands of sailors and guests. It is an opportunity not to be missed and Genova will demonstrate its ambition as a city capable of attracting and hosting international events.”

The Legends event is among a suite of activities Genoa will activate as the official destination marketing partner of The Ocean Race, in addition to its role as host city of The Grand Finale, the finishing leg of 14th edition of The Ocean Race.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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The Ocean Race is launching Generation Ocean, a new learning programme for secondary schools that encourages young people to join the race to protect “our incredible blue planet”.

The programme comprises engaging materials that aim to equip teachers and parents with all they need to help learners understand the crucial role the ocean plays in sustaining life on Earth, the threats that are jeopardising this vital system and the solutions that are needed to protect it.

Launched in English on Thursday 13 October, the materials will be available in eight further languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Danish, Dutch, French, German and Mandarin) in the coming months.

Suitable for learners over 12 years old, the free resources can be used in school, for at-home learning or within the community.

The programme features a booklet with articles, stories, reflections and action points to be carried out in the classroom, and an educator’s guide with suggested activities and a step-by-step guide to inspire teachers to include age-appropriate ocean principles and concepts in their lessons.

Created in collaboration with 11th Hour Racing — founding partner of The Ocean Race’s Racing with Purpose sustainability programme — Generation Ocean provides an overview of key ocean themes, features examples and good practices from around the world, highlights links between ocean and climate and reflects on the need to recognise ocean rights.

The programme also offers ocean advocacy ideas and a comprehensive glossary of ocean-related concepts.

The Generation Ocean booklet contains engaging articles, stories, reflections and action points | The Ocean RaceThe Generation Ocean booklet contains engaging articles, stories, reflections and action points | The Ocean Race

Generation Ocean is part of The Ocean Race’s wider learning programme and can be used across subject areas to increase ocean literacy. Lesson activities also feature social and emotional learning (SEL) techniques to help encourage and empower young people to take positive action for the ocean.

Lucy Hunt, senior advisor for summits and learning at The Ocean Race said: “As The Ocean Race sailors race around the planet, they are seeing the devastating impact of pollution, climate change and industrial overfishing on the ocean. At the same time, the world is waking up to just how important the seas are for our survival, from regulating the climate to providing us with food, jobs and the air we breathe.

“It is time to act and listen to the ideas and opinions of young people talking about the ocean and their solutions. Youth need to be heard and empowered, and it all starts with ocean education.

“There has been a real disconnect from nature and how important it is in our lives. This programme shines a light on the ocean and how we can be part of the solution in honouring the work it does for us as a planet and how we can stand up for the ocean's rights.”

To mark the launch of Generation Ocean, The Ocean Race is offering four passionate students and their teacher the exciting opportunity to win a trip to Aarhus in Denmark when the round-the-world race sails into the city in May 2023.

To enter the competition, students need to create a short film about a project they have created to raise awareness of ocean rights within their community.

The prize includes flights, accommodation and meals, an opportunity for the team to present their project on stage, a chance to speak about it at The Ocean Race Summit Aarhus, participation at the Aarhus Youth Summit and learning experiences and time to explore Aarhus city and Ocean Live Park, The Ocean Race’s dedicated onsite event space. For more details on the competition, see HERE.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The Ocean Race and its partners — including the governments of Cabo Verde and Monaco and the Earth Law Center — are redoubling efforts to give the ocean a voice and gathering increasing support from countries around the globe for the adoption of a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights by 2030.

Together, the collaborators hosted an event at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week that brought together participants from over 20 countries and international organisations to discuss how to galvanise further support as part of the journey towards the adoption of a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights.

Participating countries included Italy, Portugal, France, Sweden, Singapore, Spain, Mexico, Palau, Colombia, Seychelles and Panama, along with key institutions in ocean conservation such as the Pew Charitable Trust.

Cabo Verde’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration, Rui Alberto de Figueiredo Soares said: “Cabo Verde stands ready to advocate for a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights that has to be adopted and implemented on a global scale and with the support of policy makers, private sector, scientists, sailors and other key stakeholders.

“By 2030 the Declaration should establish a set of rules regarding the protection of the oceans and applicable to all countries in the world. The goal is ambitious but achievable as long as there’s global collaboration at heart.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Monaco, Isabelle Berro-Amadeï | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean RaceMinister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Monaco, Isabelle Berro-Amadeï | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean Race

Cabo Verde will be a race stopover for the first time during the next edition of The Ocean Race, which starts in less than four months’ time. It will also be the host of The Ocean Race Summit Mindelo, which is part of a series of high-level events to raise awareness and advance support towards Ocean Rights. 

Monaco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Isabelle Berro-Amadeï said: “The ocean is vital for our climate, for our biodiversity and for life on Earth as we know it. It is time we gave the ocean a voice.

“Two of the most prominent priorities of the Principality of Monaco are oceans and sport. We are proud of the fact that our sovereign, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco — who also attended the event — is both an Olympian and one of the most dedicated leaders for a healthy, productive and protected ocean.”

In a video message, Boris Herrmann, one of the world’s best known offshore sailors and Team Malizia skipper said: “Without the ocean, nothing would be possible. We clearly support The Ocean Race and partners in their work towards a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights because the ocean means everything to us: it is our playground, our workplace and, for me personally, spending more than 100 days a year in the ocean, it is also my home.”

Addressing the round table, ocean campaign manager at the Earth Law Center, Michelle Bender told the audience: “I would like us to think about ocean rights as an opportunity. Not just another regulation, but rather a framework that shows the world how society and life can look like if we live in the right relationship with the Ocean and the entire Earth community.”

Ocean campaign manager at the Earth Law Center, Michelle Bender | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean RaceOcean campaign manager at the Earth Law Center, Michelle Bender | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean Race

During the event, the government of Panama spoke via a video message backing the legal recognition of ocean rights, with the country’s Minister for the Environment, Milciades Concepción stating: “We believe that support for a global initiative to recognise ocean rights must be a priority for all countries in the world, including those without coastal areas that still benefit from ocean resources.”

Senator Juan Diego Vasquez warned that if we do not protect the whole ecosystem “we are jeopardising our own survival”, and Panama’s first lady Yazmin Colon de Cortizo stressed: “I think countries need to agree on policies and see the problems that are facing our oceans, including the pollution threat, the devastating effects of climate change and the deterioration of the marine environment. Working together we can reach consensus and achieve global goals.”

The Ocean Race chair Richard Brisius and policy director Johan Strid wrapped up the event stressing the need to “move quickly” to bring draft principles on Ocean Rights to the United Nations General Assembly in September next year.

Participation and engagement at leading conferences is an important part of The Ocean Race’s multi-award-winning ‘Racing with Purpose’ sustainability programme, which brings together a range of tangible ways that we can have a positive impact on the marine environment.

Working with 11th Hour Racing — founding partner of the Racing with Purpose programme and the winning team in last week’s 48-hour Azimut — The Ocean Race is holding high-level summits to drive global decision-makers to create policies to protect and govern the ocean, contributing vital data about the state of the seas to leading scientific organisations, equipping children with the knowledge to help the ocean and much more.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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The Ocean Race and Ocean Bottle, makers of award-winning reusable bottles, are working together to reduce the volume of single-use plastic that ends up in the seas.

A special-edition bottle to commemorate The Ocean Race 2022-23 will be launched through the partnership which will prevent the equivalent of 4.5 million single-use ocean-bound plastic bottles entering the ocean, through the use of the Ocean Bottle in the race’s guest experience programme and sale to the public in retail outlets.

Andrew Lamb, head of partnership development at The Ocean Race said: “In the race to protect the ocean, there’s no time to waste, so joining forces with partners like Ocean Bottle, who share our mission for healthy seas, is vital to accelerate action.

“As sailors we see first-hand how plastic pollution is choking the ocean. If things don’t change there will be more plastic in the marine environment than fish by 2050 [according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation].

“Ocean Bottle is making a real difference; last year alone it stopped nearly 2.5m kg of plastic from entering the ocean. Together we can have a positive impact and inspire even more action.”

Each Ocean Bottle prevents the equivalent of 1,000 plastic bottles from entering the ocean via social plastic collection programmes in which community members are paid or provided with other benefits for collecting ocean-bound plastic. Ocean Bottle says these programmes help to empower vulnerable communities with a path out of poverty.

The product also contains a smart chip which takes people through to an app where they can discover more actions they can take to help the seas. One Blue Voice, The Ocean Race’s campaign for a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights, will also be highlighted with a QR code to drive consumers to the petition where they can add their support.

Ocean Bottle partner RePurpose Global’s plastic collection project in Accra, Ghana | Credit: RePurpose GlobalOcean Bottle partner RePurpose Global’s plastic collection project in Accra, Ghana | Credit: RePurpose Global

Ocean Bottle founder and co-chief executive, Will Pearson said: “We created Ocean Bottle to make it easier for people everywhere to stop plastic from getting into our seas. We believe we can achieve this through partners like The Ocean Race to fund the collection of a minimum of 4.5 million ocean-bound plastic bottles in weight.

“Ocean Bottle exists to bring people together to turn the tide on ocean plastic and we can’t be more excited to be partnering with The Ocean Race.”

The special-edition bottle will be available in The Ocean Race online store from November, just ahead of the start of the race which sets sail from Alicante, Spain in January 2023.

Throughout the six-month event, the bottle will be on sale in Ocean Live Parks, the dedicated race villages in the nine host cities around the world. It will also be available in The Ocean Race Museum store in Alicante and will be gifted to race guests during stopovers.

Through The Ocean Race’s Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, which was developed in collaboration with founding partner and premier partner of the race, 11th Hour Racing, the round-the-world sailing event is working to improve ocean health with a diverse range of audiences, including driving action around ocean plastic.

This includes pushing decision-makers on plastic policy, cutting single-use plastic in race villages, equipping teams with onboard scientific equipment to measure microplastics in the water as they race and inspiring children to take action through Learning programmes that have reached more than 180,000 students across the world.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

Anticipation is building ahead of next week’s Défi Azimut regatta in Lorient, France when five of the IMOCA teams so far confirmed as entries in The Ocean Race 2022-23 will line up against each other for the first time.

Four of the five international teams will race with with four crew (including at least one female sailor) as well as an additional onboard reporter (OBR) whose role is to chronicle their crew’s performance in words, images and video.
    
Meanwhile, joining Charlie Enright and Mark Towill’s 11th Hour Racing Team (USA), Boris Herrmann’s newly named Malizia - Seaexplorer (GER), Benjamin Dutreux and Robert Stanjek’s GUYOT environnement – Team Europe (FRA/GER) and Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm (FRA), French skipper Kevin Escoffier has opted to sail his Holcim–PRB IMOCA in solo mode.

Lorient is acknowledged IMOCA’s spiritual home and the popular six-day annual event scheduled to take place from 13-18 September has attracted a total entry of 29 boats in its 12th edition.

The entry list features many of the top name names in the class including the top three skippers from the 2020–2021 Vendée Globe, all from France: Yannick Bestaven, Charlie Dalin, and Louis Burton.

The Défi Azimut programme opens on Wednesday (14 September) with a day of sprint speed trials along a one-nautical mile reaching course set between Lorient and the nearby Groix island.

Lorient La Base, where the 12th edition of the Défi Azimut will take place next week | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceLorient La Base, where the 12th edition of the Défi Azimut will take place next week | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

Racing will be based on FIFA World Cup-style knock-out format with the teams grouped in the early rounds before the qualifiers race one-on-one in the later stages. For The Ocean Race boats, this stage offers a valuable opportunity to gauge themselves against their opposition in terms of raw boat-speed.

The following day the fleet sets off on a 48-hour offshore race around a course that loops out into the Atlantic around a set of virtual waypoints before bringing the fleet back to Lorient on Saturday.

For The Ocean Race’s four fully crewed teams, this will be the first and last time they will race offshore together before the 14th edition of the around-the-world race starts on 15 January 2023 in Alicante, Spain.

With that in mind, the two-day offshore could be as much about reconnaissance as it is about the result, with the crews expected to keep a close eye on each other as they try to glean any useful information about their rivals’ technique, setup, and performance.

Sunday’s final day of racing centres around a timed sprint fleet race around the 15 sqkm Groix Island. With 29 boats and a record time of just one hour, eight minutes, 10 seconds — set by French skipper Vincent Riou on PRB in 2015 — this race is set to be a frenetic scramble with no room whatsoever for tactical mistakes or boathandling errors.

Paul Meilhat, skipper of the brand new Biotherm IMOCA, acknowledged that his boat — which was only launched last week in Lorient — may not be fully ready, but said that he and the team are excited to take part nevertheless.

Holcim-PRB in sailing trials off Lorient in August | Credit: Yann Riou - polaRYSE/Holcim-PRBHolcim-PRB in sailing trials off Lorient in August | Credit: Yann Riou - polaRYSE/Holcim-PRB

“I’m really happy that we can do this fully crewed as a warm-up for The Ocean Race,” he said. “The truth is that it is easier to manage a boat that is not totally finished sailing with four people rather than if you are alone. Also I think it’s a really good way for us all to start our story with The Ocean Race together.”

Malizia - Seaexplorer co-skipper Will Harris (GBR) said Boris Herrmann’s squad were keen to line up against the other IMOCAs entered for The Ocean Race for the first time.

“We have seen some of the other boats out on the water but we have never lined up against them,” Harris said. “So this is going to be the moment we see whether we are in the game — or we have a lot more work to do.”

GUYOT environnement – Team Europe’s team manager Jens Kuphal said that the event would be a major milestone for the team which is a potent blend of Olympic campaigners and ocean racing talent.

“There is a lot of anticipation for the Défi Azimut because it’s the first time that our sailors will come together as a crew. For us it is like the kickoff point for the whole campaign — so it is a special moment.”

11th Hour Racing Team skipper Charlie Enright said his team was looking forward to racing with the other IMOCAs from The Ocean Race.

Malizia - Seaexplorer was christened by 150 local children at the the Malizia Ocean Festival in Hamburg on Tuesday 6 September | Credit: Andreas Lindlahr/Team MalizaMalizia - Seaexplorer was christened by 150 local children at the the Malizia Ocean Festival in Hamburg on Tuesday 6 September | Credit: Andreas Lindlahr/Team Maliza

“The Défi Azimut is the only time that all the boats will line up against each other in a competition format before The Ocean Race begins in January,” he said. “The format is great. You ease into it with the speed runs which are fun and then there’s the 48-hour race – which is the most relevant to what is coming down the track for all the competitors.

“The Round Groix race is particularly useful for us because it gives us a chance to get some meaningful boat handling practice in the crewed format.”

Despite opting to race the Défi Azimut solo, Holcim–PRB’s French skipper Kevin Escoffier said he was pleased to have the rest of The Ocean Race IMOCA crews competing.

“I have chosen to do it single handed because I wanted to have some solo training on the boat ahead of the Route du Rhum,” he said. “But for sure I will keep an eye on our friends and rivals from The Ocean Race teams.”

All the boats will carry GPS trackers for the entire event meaning fans will be able to follow the action online at the event website. The tracker for the 48-hour race will be embedded on theoceanrace.com.

Prior to the start of the Défi Azimut regatta, The Ocean Race is hosting a media event in Lorient at which invited media will hear from the skippers and a selection of sailors from all five teams.

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Kevin Escoffier, a previous winner of The Ocean Race, will enter his new generation IMOCA, Holcim-PRB, in the next edition beginning 15 January 2023 from Alicante, Spain.

Escoffier confirmed his entry as his rebranded IMOCA, in striking green and blue, was rolled out of the workshed in Lorient, France, and relaunched in a ceremony on Monday (22 August).

“I love racing, and The Ocean Race is an amazing race where you push 100% all the time,” skipper Escoffier said. “And you share this life with your crew. In 2014-15 it was my first race with Dongfeng Race Team and Charles Caudrelier as the skipper. In 2017-18 I was very lucky he called me back to join a winning campaign!

“Now I’m very happy to come back with my own project. It’s a short timeline. We will have to work hard. But we have a great team…

Kevin Escoffier launches his IMOCA, Holcim-PRB, in Lorient on Monday 22 August | Credit: Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE/HOLCIM-PRBKevin Escoffier launches his IMOCA, Holcim-PRB, in Lorient on Monday 22 August | Credit: Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE/HOLCIM-PRB

“The decision to commit to The Ocean Race was only confirmed in July so it’s come just in time… We have some work ahead and it demands some effort on logistics and preparation but it’s all good news and a fantastic opportunity.

“We’re very happy with the boat, with the new branding and looking forward to getting sailing already at the end of this week,” added Escoffier, who was the subject of a dramatic rescue by fellow competitor Jean Le Cam during the Vendée Globe in the southern Indian Ocean in December 2020.

“We have a strong, all-purpose boat, very easy to handle and I think it will be a fast boat when single-handing and in fully-crewed configuration for The Ocean Race.”

Escoffier says the team will name the crew for the The Ocean Race in the coming weeks. In the meantime, he will be competing solo in the Défi Azimut in Lorient, France in September and the Route du Rhum transatlantic race in November.

Holcim-PRB joins Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team, Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia, Benjamin Dutreux and Robert Stanjek’s GUYOT environnement - Team Europe and Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm as confirmed entries in the IMOCA division for The Ocean Race 2022-23.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The Ocean Race is aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions, or GHGs, by up to 75% for the 2022-23 race compared with the previous edition.

And race organisers say they are working with race teams, host cities, partners and suppliers “in a shared ambition to…hold a climate positive event”.

The race is aiming to cut emissions through a number of measures, they add, including using significantly fewer shipping containers used in event logistics; reducing the number of staff travelling internationally; careful management of resources such as materials, food, waste and water; as well as aiming to power the event sites with 100% renewable energy.

In addition, the race now has a shorter six-month schedule, compared with nine months for the previous edition, which will also reduce the overall impact, organisers say. 

And the GHG impact of logistics and hospitality will be tracked by “new systems” created in tandem with partners GAC Pindar and ATPI, with automated systems simplifying data management for the race, they add.

Another key element of making the event climate positive — drawing down more GHGs than are produced — is investment in ocean projects that “will restore vital marine habitats while also sequestering carbon”.

Mangroves are a vital marine habitat for storing carbon, The Ocean Race saysMangroves are a vital marine habitat for storing carbon, The Ocean Race says

“These ‘blue carbon’ initiatives, in which mangroves are protected from deforestation or actively regenerated, are at carefully chosen sites around the world,” race organisers say. “Healthy mangrove ecosystems can lock away carbon, protect coastlines, provide important habitats for wildlife and support local communities.”

The Ocean Race is a signatory of the United Nations’ Race to Zero and Sports for Climate Action initiatives, with a commitment to halving the eace’s GHGs and contributing to a net zero world by 2040.

In addition, its work to make the next edition climate positive is part of the Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, co-created with 11th Hour Racing.

The programme is described as seeking “to inspire new audiences, from schoolchildren to policy-makers, to take action to protect the ocean and climate”.

“It also supports ocean research through an innovative science programme in which vital data about the state of the seas is collected by boats as they race across the planet,” the race organisers add.

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