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#VOR - Team AkzoNobel set a new record for the greatest distance sailed in 24 hours in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race today (Friday 25 May), eclipsing the previous mark and smashing past the 600-mile barrier as they rocketed through the North Atlantic.

Dutch skipper Simeon Tienpont’s crew bested the existing record for a yacht competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, the 596.6 miles set by Torben Grael’s Ericsson 4 in the 2008-09 edition.

As of 2pm Irish time, the team was still adding to their record-breaking 24-hour run of 601.63 miles at an average speed of 25.08 knots.

AkzoNobel set the record on their cutting-edge Volvo Ocean 65 race boat as they blitzed east on Leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Newport, USA to Cardiff in Wales.

They are currently leading the seven-strong fleet, having overhauled previous leaders and fellow Dutch crew Team Brunel.

“It’s great to be the fastest boat in the race, and especially in these conditions where we can really go fast quite safely,” Tienpont said.

“Big thanks to the shore crew for preparing the boat so well so that we have the confidence to really put the hammer down. It’s really motivating for us to keep pushing hard, and to do well for the leg as well. We need to keep trucking.”

Two of Tienpont’s team had extra reason for celebration – Grael’s Olympic gold medallist daughter Martine is a key member of the AkzoNobel crew, while navigator Jules Salter was on board Ericsson 4 when the previous record was set.

“For sure Martine is excited – she can now call her father ‘Captain Slow’ at the dinner table’,” Tienpont quipped. “Also Jules has a nice grin on his face to break his own record.”

The record is based on distance run according the Race Management System which polls the boat position every minute. It will be checked against GPS data from the boat for confirmation.

AkzoNobel were not the only team putting the pedal to the metal – all seven crews have been enjoying speeds well into the 20s as they capitalise on the strong southerly winds currently firing them towards Cardiff.

But all good things must come to an end – and the perfect conditions are forecast to change abruptly when the fleet hits a high-pressure ridge in the next 24 hours where winds are forecast to be extremely light.

The change could allow the chasing teams to catch up and may mean an effective re-start just 500 miles from the finish line.

That’s bad news for leaders AkzoNobel, who today enjoy a 10-mile lead on Team Brunel and almost 60 miles on third-placed Vestas 11th Hour Racing, but it is welcome news for everyone else.

Especially keen to rejoin their rivals at the front of the fleet are overall race leaders MAPFRE, currently in fifth place and some 100 miles off the pace, as well as Dongfeng Race Team, their biggest threat for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race title.

“Right now we’re not in great shape – the first three boats have extended quite a lot, but that might change once we hit the ridge,” MAPFRE helmsman Rob Greenhalgh said.

“Importantly, Dongfeng are not so far away. It’s all to play for still and a podium this leg is still very much achievable. We just need the weather to play ball and a little bit of luck.”

“Ahead of us there is a wall of no wind,” said Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier, agreeing with his rival’s assessment. “This means the fleet should compress a lot and there could be a new start! A finish like in Newport but this time it could be in our favour … The only small difference is that this compression is not 10 miles from the finish line but 600 miles instead.”

After the record runs of the past 24 hours, Caudrelier also cautions it could take three to four more days to race the final 600 miles of Leg 9.

The ETA for the leading boats to finish in Cardiff is the evening of Monday 28 May, with the bulk of the fleet arriving throughout the following day.

Leg 9 Position Report, Friday 25 May (Day 6) at 2.55pm Irish time/1.55pm UTC:

  1. Team AkzoNobel – DTF 977.2 nautical miles
  2. Team Brunel +11.3 nautical miles
  3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +59.5
  4. Dongfeng Race Team +63.6
  5. MAPFRE +101.1
  6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +104.1
  7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +133.9
Published in Ocean Race
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#VOR - The Volvo Ocean Race teams looked set to threaten the 24-hour distance record for the Volvo Ocean 65 class on Thursday (24 May) after hooking onto a classic North Atlantic depression.

After a short respite from the wet and wild opening 48 hours of Leg 9, boat speeds were up to 30 knots as the east-moving low pressure system provided perfect conditions for blisteringly quick sailing.

Team Brunel led the charge east today as the three boats that opted to stay south – Brunel, Team AkzoNobel and Vestas 11th Hour Racing – enjoyed a jump on their rivals at the halfway stage of the leg.

While less than 20 miles split the top three teams, the trailing four teams of Dongfeng Race Team, Turn the Tide on Plastic, MAPFRE and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag have slipped more than 50 miles back.

And for now there will be little opportunity to make up missing miles as the teams focus purely on out-and-out speed as they skirt the northern ice exclusion zone.

The ideal conditions are set to continue for another 24 hours or so – and Brunel helmsman Pete Burling thinks the 24-hour distance record could tumble in that time.

In order to beat the current record of 550.8 nautical miles, set by Ian Walker’s 2014-15 winners Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing on the approach to Cape Horn, a team would have to average just under 23 knots over a 24-hour period.

At 2pm Irish time, Brunel had clocked up 540.1 nautical miles in the previous 24 hours, a mark that looked set to improve further yet.

“There’s a big low forming to the west of us which is giving us some nice downwind conditions,” said Burling, whose Brunel won the OMEGA 24 Hour Speed Record Challenge for Leg 8. “There's a good chance of the 24-hour speed run for the whole race over the next couple of days.

“We were just discussing the plan for the next two days. We can talk about this for hours, but we just need to sail quicker than the others for that period of time, and hopefully get to the light patch before them.”

The teams will have to make the most of the high speed sailing while it lasts, as lying 1,000 miles ahead of them is a huge high pressure ridge that will bring them to a standstill.

It is likely to result in a compression of the fleet – and a restart just 500 miles from the finish line in Cardiff, Wales.

“Our biggest concern is probably the same as everyone else - that in a few days’ time we will go from the quickest portion of the race to something pretty slow where we will be able to see everyone else again,” Burling added. “Everything we fight for here will probably just turn into a mile or so when we come to that final stage.”

Onboard fifth-placed Turn the Tide on Plastic, Dee Caffari said her crew — among them Ireland’s own Annalise Murphy — were content to rack up the miles and wait for an opportunity to claw back positions closer to the finish.

“The boat is happy and the sailors are happy to enjoy this fast ride while we have the conditions for it,” she said. “Making it count while we have wind as they are aware that after Saturday lunchtime the pace will slow considerably and life on board will go to another extreme. Looking ahead we have a difficult approach and finish into Cardiff…”

Leg 9 Position Report, Thursday 24 May (Day 5) at 3.41pm Irish time/2.41pm UTC:

  1. Team Brunel – DTF 1,542.2 nautical miles
  2. Team AkzoNobel +9.7 nautical miles
  3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +19.6
  4. Dongfeng Race Team +48.2
  5. Turn the Tide on Plastic +71.4
  6. MAPFRE +84.0
  7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +89.5
Published in Ocean Race
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#VOR - The Volvo Ocean Race fleet was beginning to converge again on Wednesday (23 May) as the Leg 9 sprint across the Atlantic continued at pace.

A split of almost 300 miles had opened up early in the 3,300-mile leg from Newport, USA to Cardiff, Wales as the seven-strong fleet broke into two groups.

Team Brunel, Team AkzoNobel, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag chose to make the most of strong south-westerlies, rocketing southeast at breakneck speeds.

Meanwhile, MAPFRE, Dongfeng Race Team and Turn the Tide on Plastic elected to head northeast on a more direct route towards Cardiff and the Leg 9 finish.

Having been overtaken by a high pressure system which now blocks their path to the east, the two groups were starting to come back together again — and it remains to be seen which will emerge in front.

“I think it’s the first time this race we’ve seen a split in the fleet this big,” MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández said.

Although ranked fifth on the official Leg 9 scoreboard, the Spanish team were only 34 miles behind Dongfeng and six miles above Turn the Tide in the northerly group.

“Last night was very tricky for our group – very slow going upwind trying to transition into the north-westerly winds,” Fernandez added.

“Hopefully tonight we can tack in easterly winds and then we will have a couple of days of very strong winds. The fleet in the south sailed very fast but now they have a lot of work to do. We just need to wait and see what the situation is.”

For those teams 200 miles to the southeast, the future remains equally unclear.

Brunel hold a narrow nine-mile lead over Vestas and AkzoNobel, with Scallywag 75 miles further back.

“It has been an interesting start to the leg, with a massive split in the fleet that has made for some head scratching at times in the nav station trying to work out the next move,” Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Simon Fisher said.

“How it all pans out in the long term we will have to see. There is plenty of wind forecast in the coming days and not a lot forecast for the finish so we still have a lot of work ahead.”

Brad Farrand, on AkzoNobel, added: “At the moment we’re neck and neck with Vestas 11th Hour Racing, just duking it out. I think it’s good to have a boat next to you, it keeps you honest, and makes sure you give it everything.”

Having already knocked off a third of the leg in three days, the fleet is currently expected to arrive in Cardiff next Tuesday 29 May.

But before then they have a week of full-on, no holds barred ocean racing to contend with.

After their last-minute win in Leg 8, MAPFRE top the overall leaderboard but Dongfeng Race Team are just three points behind with Brunel holding down third place, 11 points back – so it’s all on.

Leg 9 Position Report, Wednesday 24 May (Day 4) at 6.02pm Irish time/5.02pm UTC:

  1. Team Brunel – DTF 2,030.5 nautical miles
  2. Dongfeng Race Team +0.4 nautical miles
  3. Team AkzoNobel +9 nautical miles
  4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +10.1
  5. MAPFRE +33.6
  6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +39.6
  7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +74.0
Published in Ocean Race
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#VOR - Skipper Bouwe Bekking and his Team Brunel lead a southerly group of four boats who are taking advantage of stronger winds to open up an advantage as a split develops in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet bound for Cardiff across the North Atlantic.

To the north, wallowing in lighter conditions, sit the overall race leaders MAPFRE, as well as second-placed Dongfeng Race Team, and Turn the Tide on Plastic with Annalise Murphy on board. Average speeds for these three were in the 7-to-10-knot range for much of this morning (Tuesday 22 May).

Meanwhile, the southerly quartet has been roaring along at over 15 knots, and at one point had opened up a 30-mile advantage over the northerners.

Bekking explains what is at stake. “As expected there is a big split in the fleet, so it will be interesting to see who comes out ahead in five days time,” he wrote in a blog to race headquarters.

“We are taking the southerly route and have managed to stay ahead of the front, basically we have always more breeze than the forecast… The boats in the north follow the great circle, the shorter route and will face lighter winds over the next 24 hours, but should have a little better current from the Gulf Stream.

“In the last report they had 6 knots compared to the 25 knots of wind we have, nervous times for them. But I think they will be alright in the long run. We’ve seen that before in transatlantics. We will also have to face the lighter winds and even have to tack tomorrow.”

And already, the gap is narrowing. As of 1.30pm Irish time, speeds were up on Dongfeng, MAPFRE and Turn the Tide on Plastic, all of whom were sailing a more direct route to the finish than those to the south and therefore been narrowing the deficit on the ranking.

With over 200 miles north/south separation, the leverage between the groups is enormous.

“It’s a massive split,” said MAPFRE’s Blair Tuke. “It’s a little bit of a worry that Brunel has so much separation from us. It could work out well for us but it might not… It’s one of those things where you have to sail the wind you’ve got. We’ve done that and we’ll have to see how it plays out through this transition as the new breeze comes in over the next day or so.”

For all the fleet, the conditions have been more pleasant than anticipated, with the Gulf Stream providing warm temperatures to make life on board more comfortable.

“We have enjoyed flat water, warm conditions and we have managed to keep moving,” Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari wrote. “We have light winds ahead and by this evening we will be in new breeze on the other gybe that will increase. This low pressure we will ride for a few days so we need to push hard while we have it and hang on in there.”

Leg 9 Position Report, Tuesday 22 May (Day 3) at 1.30pm Irish time/12.30pm UTC:

  1. Team Brunel – DTF 2,376 nautical miles
  2. Team AkzoNobel +11.8 nautical miles
  3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +12.3
  4. Turn the Tide on Plastic +21.6
  5. Dongfeng Race Team +22.8
  6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +27.9
  7. MAPFRE +49.8
Published in Ocean Race
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#VOR - Dongfeng Race Team has had a successful first night at sea on Leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race, building a 20-mile lead over arch rivals and overall race leader MAPFRE.

A split has already developed, with Dongfeng gybing to the north just before 2pm Irish time today (Monday 21 May) while MAPFRE continues with the bulk of the fleet charging out to the southeast.

It was a foggy first night at sea with Liz Wardley on Turn the Tide on Plastic tweeting on Monday morning: “The first time since leaving Newport that we've been able to see more than 50 meters with the fog! Crazy first night out, but settling in now.”

Her team — including Ireland’s new Tokyo 2020 49erFX hopeful Annalise Murphy — is the other one to put a gybe in to the north, but for them it was a move born of frustration, while trailing the fleet in the early stages.

“The sad news was we had to be the first to gybe as the shift in wind direction came with the trough of low pressure,” wrote skipper Dee Caffari. “So now we are sailing on port in lighter winds making progress to the corner of the ice exclusion zone off Newfoundland. A short leg and we do not have much leeway to not be on the pace of the others.”

But the intrigue remains at the front of the fleet, where the top three on the overall leaderboard are also vying for the early lead into Cardiff.

Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team has had their game face on since the start, and is setting an impressive pace in the early going and being the first of the leading group to gybe north.

Team Brunel, the leader out of Newport, has fallen back slightly on a leg that skipper Bouwe Bekking has deemed a ‘must win’ if the team is to remain a contender for outright victory in The Hague.

Meanwhile, overall race leader MAPRE is leading the charge of the boats still heading southeast.

“We are happy to be back racing and so far we are doing quite well,” said Pablo Arrarte from on board MAPFRE this morning. “Speed wise we are ok, so we just have to concentrate and not make bad decisions. Dongfeng seem to have good speed and did a great job last night. They are a few miles ahead, but there is a long way to go. Soon we will have to gybe and that is the key moment, and hopefully we can catch some miles.”

The current ETA for the boats arriving in Cardiff is overnight on 28-29 May, a little over seven days from now.

Leg 9 Position Report, Monday 21 May (Day 2) at 3pm Irish time/2pm UTC:

  1. Dongfeng Race Team – DTF 2,619 nautical miles
  2. MAPFRE +26.5 nautical miles
  3. Turn the Tide on Plastic +36.2
  4. Team Brunel +36.7
  5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +46.2
  6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +48.7
  7. Team AkzoNobel +51.8
Published in Ocean Race
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#VOR - Team Brunel accomplished its first goal on Sunday afternoon, taking the early lead on Leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Newport, Rhode Island to Cardiff, Wales — though their advantage was fleeting, with Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE in front after 12 hours of racing.

Led by eight-time race veteran Bouwe Bekking, Dutch entry Team Brunel has been on a tear over the last two months of the race and is attempting to muscle its way from a podium position into a battle for the overall race lead, coming off a win in yesterday’s Gurney’s Resorts In-Port Race Newport.

Leg 9 is a 3,300-nautical-mile transatlantic race and the third and final double-point scoring leg. The results on this leg will go a long way to determining overall finishing position in this edition of the race.

“We know we have to beat the red boats,” said Bekking before the start, referring to overall race leader MAPFRE and Dongfeng Race Team, who hold second place.

“Ideally we would win the leg and they would finish sixth and seventh, but we can’t control that part. All we can do is sail our best and work to get a good result.”

Sunday (19 May) dawned with a thick fog cloaking the Fort Adams race village and start area. In the lead up to race time, the fog would recede and come back, before finally burning off just in time for the race start.

It made for a spectacular Sunday afternoon race start, with huge crowds along the Fort Adams shoreline as well on the water, and hundreds of spectator boats chasing the fleet around Narragansett Bay.

“It’s been an unbelievable stopover here in Newport with all the support we’ve had,” said Vestas 11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright, on the last day of his hometown stopover. “Newport has shown its true colours this week, it’s been astounding.”

“It’s a treat to be here,” agreed Team AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont. “Everyone is so into the race – the whole town is built around sailing. But as good as it is here, we’re getting that feeling that it’s time to get out on the water again. So we’re happy with the good reception we had here in Newport, but as a Dutch team, we’re getting closer to finish and looking forward to getting there as well.”

The forecast for the leg is complex, with several weather systems in play, as well as the Gulf Stream to navigate. The ETA for the leg is in the eight- to nine-day range.

“It’s a very tricky leg,” said Dongfeng Race Team skipper Charles Caudrelier. “We have an early decision to make, which could see a split in the fleet. It could be the key decision of the leg. And after that we have strong winds. We are going to push and the danger is to push too much. But we have no choice, we are going to push 100 percent and it is going to be very interesting to follow from the shore because we are going to go fast.”

Follow all the action on the Race Tracker, which has live position updates for the entirety of Leg 9.

Leg 9 Position Report, Monday 21 May (Day 1) at 8.44am Irish time/7.44am UTC:

  1. Dongfeng Race Team- DTF 2,696.8 nautical miles
  2. MAPFRE +5.7 nautical miles
  3. Team Brunel +7.3
  4. Team AkzoNobel +9.5
  5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +10.6
  6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +10.6
  7. Turn The Tide on Plastic +12.7
Published in Ocean Race
Tagged under

#VOR - Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel sailed a perfect race in Newport, Rhode Island this afternoon (Saturday 19 May) — winning the start, edging into a lead over the Volvo Ocean Race fleet and extending away for a convincing victory in the Gurney’s Resorts In-Port Race Newport.

“We knew the start was going to be critical,” said Brunel’s helmsman Peter Burling after the race. “We came off the line in good shape and were able to sail clean the rest of the race and that made our life pretty easy…

“It’s nice to take the win and great to have a bit of momentum. We’ve put together a few really good results in row now and we’re hoping to come home really strong. We have a great bunch of sailors on board and we’re really enjoying our yachting and looking forward to pushing this boat as hard as we can.”

A second-place finish by MAPFRE allowed the In-Port Race Series leader to extend its advantage further. It was another impressive come from behind performance by skipper Xabi Fernández and his team, who were in fifth place early in the race, before making several passes on the second long leg of the race.

Local hero Charlie Enright led his Vestas 11th Hour Racing team to a strong third-place podium finish, pleasing the home crowd who came out in force despite cool temperatures and overcast, wet conditions.

David Witt’s Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag nailed down fourth place, ahead of Dongfeng Race Team who made a late charge but couldn’t complete the pass before the finish line.

Meanwhile, Team AkzoNobel were able to overhaul Dee Caffari, Annalise Murphy and crew on board Turn the Tide on Plastic on the first lap of the race course to claim sixth place.

Leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race is scheduled to start at 7pm Irish time (2pm local time) tomorrow, Sunday 20 May. A quick start is predicted with winds near 20 knots in the forecast.

Leg 9 is a 3,300-nautical-mile transatlantic race to Cardiff, Wales — as well as the final double-point scoring leg in the race.

Current Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series Leaderboard:

  1. MAPFRE – 50 points
  2. Dongfeng Race Team – 42 points
  3. Team Brunel – 36 points
  4. Team AkzoNobel – 35 points
  5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 23 points
  6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag – 19 points
  7. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 16 points
Published in Ocean Race
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#VOR - After returning to the northern hemisphere with nearly 40,000 nautical miles in their wake, the sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race will shift gears to inshore racing with a focus on today’s Gurney’s Resorts In-Port Race Newport.

In contrast to the long offshore ocean legs, the In-Port Race Series features short course racing, close to shore, in full view of spectators on the water and in the race village.

For the home team, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, today provides a showcase in front of home fans. “We have an opportunity to go out there and get a good result in front of our home crowd. We have such a good group of supporters, and we’d like to put on a good show for them, so we’re looking forward to that,” skipper Charlie Enright said.

“The forecast is for some good wind on Saturday and it’s always nice to sail on home waters,” added Nick Dana, a native of Newport, Rhode Island.

The weather forecast is for 10-12 knot easterlies, providing good racing conditions for the Volvo Ocean 65s.

The Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series acts as a tie-breaking mechanism for the overall race leaderboard. And with just three points separating MAPFRE in first from second-placed Dongfeng Race Team after eight legs of racing, the results here could be crucial by the time the race finishes in The Hague at the end of June.

Racing starts at 7pm Irish time local time (2pm local/6pm UTC. From 6.45pm you can catch a live stream of the action at the Volvo Ocean Race website or on Facebook Live, and join the conversation on Twitter.

The VOR team will also be blogging all the moves, previews and news from the racetrack on the live blog, including the best of clips and social content, from 6.30pm Irish time. Find it at under the ‘Racing’ section.

Current Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series Leaderboard:

  1. MAPFRE – 44 points
  2. Dongfeng Race Team – 39 points
  3. Team AkzoNobel – 33 points
  4. Team Brunel – 29 points
  5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 18 points
  6. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 15 points
  7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag – 15 points
Published in Ocean Race
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#Microplastic - The Volvo Ocean Race Science Programme has found levels of plastic in areas of the Southern Ocean never before tested.

The groundbreaking data is set to be released today (Friday 18 May) at the Volvo Ocean Race Ocean Summit, which explores the issues and solutions to the plastic crisis, at the race stopover in Newport, Rhode Island.

The findings show that close to Point Nemo, the oceanic pole on inaccessibility, there were between nine and 26 particles of microplastic per cubic metre.

As the boats sailed close to Cape Horn, off the tip of South America, measurements increased to 57 particles per cubic metre.

Levels of 45 particles per cubic metre were recorded 452km from Auckland, New Zealand, where the leg began, and only 12 particles per cubic metre were found 1000 km from the finish in stopover city Itajaí.

The difference in measurements could be explained by ocean currents carrying the microplastics great distances, scientists say.

The highest levels of microplastic found so far — 357 particles per cubic metre — were found in a sample taken in the South China Sea, east of Taiwan, an area that feeds into the Great Pacific Ocean Gyre.

Dr Sören Gutekunst of the GEOMAR Institute for Ocean Research Kiel, funded by the Cluster of Excellence Future Ocean, analysed the preliminary microplastics data at the laboratory in Kiel, Germany.

“This is the first ever data that the scientific community has been able to analyse from a relatively inaccessible part of our blue planet,” Dr Gutekunst said.

“Unfortunately, it shows how far and wide microplastics have penetrated our vast oceans and that they are now present in what, until now, many have considered to be untouched, pristine waters.”

The measurements were collected on the 7,600-nautical-mile leg — the longest in the Volvo Ocean Race, from Auckland to Itajaí — by both Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team AkzoNobel.

The boats also collect other oceanographic data measurements including temperature, CO2, salinity and algae content, which gives an indication of levels of ocean acidification.

"It shows how far and wide microplastics have penetrated our vast oceans"

“Such information is extremely valuable as it helps fill in the large gaps in our understanding of how plastic breaks down over a number of years and is spread to the ends of the earth by ocean currents,” said Anne-Cecile Turner, sustainability programme leader for the Volvo Ocean Race.

“It’s also a stark reminder of the pressing need to tackle this plastic crisis head on and governments, businesses and individuals all have a role to play in addressing the problem.”

Point Nemo is so far from land that the nearest humans are often astronauts on the International Space Station, which orbits the Earth at a maximum of 258 miles (416km). Meanwhile the nearest inhabited landmass to Point Nemo is over 1,670 miles (2,700km) away.

Jeremy Pochman, co-founder and strategic director of Vestas 11th Hour Racing and founding principal partner of the Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Programme, said: “For so long, we have treated the oceans as an inexhaustible resource.

“The data we find here from onboard the boats show that microplastics are found in the most remote places on Earth, a clear sign that all our oceans are under great pressure.

“This is open-source data, available to the public, and easily used to highlight the dangers of single-use plastic. It is one point of engagement in the conversation about solutions toward a circular economy.”

The information comes from the Volvo Ocean Race Science Programme, which has brought together an elite scientific consortium to capture data that will contribute to a better understanding of the world’s ocean and climate.

Microplastics are often invisible to the naked eye and can take thousands of years to degrade. By collecting information on their levels, the mission is helping scientists gain insight into the scale of plastic pollution and its impact upon marine life.

Published in Marine Science
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#VOR - The big news this week was Annalise Murphy’s decision to ditch the Laser Radial for the new challenge of the 49er FX in her Tokyo 2020 campaign later this year.

But the more pressing matter for Annalise is her commitment to the ongoing Volvo Ocean Race and her team Turn the Tide on Plastic, which arrived in Newport, Rhode Island in sixth place earlier this week.

While Leg 8 from Brazil concluded in a “dgiftathon”, the days previous showed her the more perilous side of offshore racing.

In her latest race diary for The Irish Times, the Rio 2016 silver medallist explains how a small misstep in the midst of a gale could have put her out of commission – or worse. 

“I was on the winch grinder on the leeward side of the boat,” she says. “I prefer this as there’s more shelter from the worst of the waves breaking across the deck.

“Normally, I’m clipper to the frame surrounding the steering wheel, but just as I unclipped from here to move forward and clip on to the next strong point, the boat pitched up and I was thrown down to leeward and against a hard corner.

“The pain was instant and I thought I had broken a rib. In the same moment I knew that I was exposed and that the next breaking wave could catch me. I’d be powerless in the deluge of water.”

The Irish Times has more from Annalise's VOR race diary HERE.

Published in Ocean Race
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