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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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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.

Maiden opens at the IFI on Friday 8 March. Tickets are available for the special preview from 6pm on Thursday 7 March from the IFI box office.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

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