Displaying items by tag: The Ocean Race
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:
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.
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.
“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.”
The Irish Film Institute in Dublin joins the list of locations for a special screening of Alex Holmes’ Tracy Edwards documentary Maiden on Thursday 7 March.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Cork’s Gate Cinemas will also host the preview followed by a satellite link Q&A with Tracy Edwards and some special guests.
Edwards made history as the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race, which became the Volvo Ocean Race and is now simply The Ocean Race after its recent change of ownership.