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With just one year to go to the start gun for leg one of The Ocean Race 2022-23, the countdown is on and Ulysse Nardin, the pioneering Swiss watch manufacturer, has become the official timekeeper of the race.

Ulysse Nardin has strong links to the maritime world, dating back to its founding in 1846. From the original inspiration of exploration that led to the creation of their first marine chronometer, to the nautical inspirations of their contemporary creations, Ulysse Nardin has always maintained a close relationship with the ocean.

In its role as official timing partner of The Ocean Race, Ulysse Nardin will be responsible for all official race timings, including start countdowns, leg timings and finishes.

Additionally, Ulysse Nardin will be at the heart of the 24-hour Speed Challenge. During racing, each boat in both the one-design VO65 class and the flying, foiling IMOCA class is constantly monitored via race control. A rolling, 24-hour distance record is maintained throughout the leg and the boat in each class with the top distance covered in each leg wins the speed challenge.

In the 2017-18 edition of the Race, Team AkzoNobel set a new 24-hour distance record for the event — the mark to beat is 602.51 nautical miles (1,116 km), or an average speed of an incredible 25.1 knots (46.5 km/h).

Beyond its role as official timing partner, Ulysse Nardin is also the Time to Act partner of The Ocean Race, committing to the responsible use and conservation of the world’s ocean.

“The sea has always been part of our world and exploration has always been our spearhead,” said Patrick Pruniaux, chief executive of Ulysse Nardin.

“Every day, Ulysse Nardin pushes the limits in all fields: technique, design and innovation. Now we are also bringing the same intensity to bear on sustainability.”

“As sailors, we have absolute respect for the ocean and we have found these same values in Ulysse Nardin, who has a long heritage with sailors and the sea,” said Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race.

“We have asked them to be our timekeepers. In addition to the sporting aspect of our partnership, Ulysse Nardin will help us to respect the pace of the sustainable initiatives that we are putting in place.

“Through our Racing with Purpose programme, developed in collaboration with founding partner 11th Hour Racing, we are involved in a race to restore our blue planet. A Ulysse Nardin watch is a timepiece of excellence, which by nature has a sustainable future, handed down from generation to generation.”

Last month The Ocean Race organisers announced the stopover dates for the 14th edition of the round-the-world yacht race, which kicks off in Alicante, Spain on 15 January 2023.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The Ocean Race 2022-23 will visit nine iconic international cities over a six-month period, with leg one starting from Alicante in Spain on 15 January 2023.

The start of the 14th edition of The Ocean Race will follow the Reyes holiday period in Spain, and see the two racing fleets — the foiling IMOCAs and one-design VO65s — depart on a 32,000 nautical mile (60,000 km) race around the world in separate divisions.

“The updated course and schedule for The Ocean Race 2022-23 provides an intense six-months of racing around the world and will challenge the best sailors and teams in a way that only The Ocean Race can do,” said race director Phil Lawrence.

“We have added the longest leg in the history of the event — taking the fleet three-quarters of the way around Antarctica — and for the first time the race will start and finish in the Mediterranean.

“The winners of this edition of The Ocean Race will need to demonstrate elite skill, consistency across all manner of sea conditions, and resilience in the face of the inevitable setbacks. This will be beyond anything they will have encountered in any other sailing.”

Viva Mexico in The Ocean Race Europe earlier this year | Credit: Jen Edney/Viva Mexico/The Ocean RaceViva Mexico in The Ocean Race Europe earlier this year | Credit: Jen Edney/Viva Mexico/The Ocean Race

The first leg is a 1,900 nautical mile sprint from Alicante to Cabo Verde, the first time the race has stopped at the African archipelago. Historically, the fleets have sailed past the islands as they head south down the Atlantic.

While in Cabo Verde, The Ocean Race will take part in its famed Ocean Week, with a focus on local and international sustainability issues.

Leg 2 will start on 25 January and see the fleets racing across the equator, south to Cape Town, the 12th time the race has stopped in the southern tip of Africa, making it the most visited stopover in this edition of the event.

This will also be the first of three ‘haul-out’ stops, where the boats will be lifted from the water for maintenance.

Next up is a record-breaking leg, the longest racing distance in the 50-year history of the event: a 12,750-nautical-mile, month-long marathon to Itajaí, Brazil.

In the finest tradition of The Ocean Race, this leg takes the IMOCA and VO65 sailors down to the Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties of the Southern Ocean. Antarctica is to the right and the fleet will need to pass all three great southern capes — the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin, and Cape Horn — to port, without stopping, for the first time.

There will be another extended haul-out stopover in Itajaí following this epic southern leg before racing resumes heading north, through the doldrums, across the equator and up to Newport in Rhode Island, on the east coast of the United States.

From there, the race returns to Europe, with a transatlantic leg to Aarhus in Denmark, followed by a ‘Fly-By’ of Kiel, Germany en route to a stop at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Then, it’s the final offshore leg — the Grand Finale — to Genoa, Italy for a Mediterranean finish to the race.

The Ocean Race 2022-23 Race Schedule

  • Prologue Race(s) TBC: September to December 2022
  • Alicante, Spain — Leg 1 start: 15 January 2023
  • Cabo Verde — ETA: 22 January; Leg 2 start: 25 January
  • Cape Town, South Africa — ETA: 9 February; Leg 3 start: 26/27 February (TBC)
  • Itajaí, Brazil — ETA: 1 April; Leg 4 start: 23 April
  • Newport, Rhode Island, USA — ETA: 10 May; Leg 5 start: 21 May
  • Aarhus, Denmark — ETA: 30 May; Leg 6 start: 8 June
  • Kiel, Germany (Fly-By) — 9 June
  • The Hague, Netherlands — ETA: 11 June; Leg 7 start: 15 June
  • Genoa, Italy — Grand Finale— ETA: 25 June, 2023; Final In-Port Race: 1 July, 2023

There will be in-port races in the days before the leg start in Alicante, Cape Town, Itajaí, Newport, Aarhus, The Hague and Genoa. The in-port racing will be scored as a separate series for each fleet, with the result acting as a tie-breaker in the overall race.

The Kiel Fly-By is a new addition to the race course. The race was last in Germany for the finish of the 2001-02 edition, won by the German team illbruck. Now, in this 14th edition, two German IMOCA teams have their sights set on the race: Offshore Team Germany and Team Malizia.

“It’s fantastic to have Kiel added as a Fly-By to what was already an iconic race route,” said Robert Stanjek, who skippered Offshore Team Germany to victory in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe this past spring.

“This upcoming edition of The Ocean Race is shaping up as an incredible challenge and the opportunity to sail past a home crowd in Kiel as we near the end of our race around the world is a dream come true.”

There will be prologue racing for both IMOCA and VO65 fleets scheduled in the second half of 2022, with details to be confirmed. Both fleets will assemble in Alicante during the holiday period at the end of 2022, ahead of the leg one start date on 15 January 2023.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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The start date for the first leg of The Ocean Race 2022-23 has been confirmed, with both IMOCA and VO65 fleets scheduled to burst from the starting blocks in Alicante on Spain’s Mediterranean coast on Sunday 15 January 2023.

There will be race activity throughout 2022, with teams building their campaigns towards prologue racing as well as with The Ocean Race Legends, sustainability and youth programmes ahead of the assembly period in Alicante late in the fourth quarter of the year.

Then, in January, the start of leg one will see the fleets racing away on one of the greatest challenges in sailing and the toughest test of a team in sport — over 31,000 nautical miles (57,000 km) around the planet.

“This marks a change for The Ocean Race, as we adjust to the challenges of this new world with a more compact and exciting race route than ever before,” said Johan Salén, managing director of The Ocean Race.

“We are pleased to have been able to work with our partners in Alicante, which has been the home of the race since 2009, to agree on a start date for leg one that takes advantage of the Christmas and New Year holiday season and allows for maximum stakeholder opportunities in the week leading up to the start as well.”

The opening leg of the race will see both fleets racing for nearly one week to a finish in Cabo Verde. It will be the very first time The Ocean Race has stopped in the African island chain.

From there the race proceeds to Cape Town in South Africa, before starting the longest and most challenging leg in the history of the race: nearly 13,000nm direct through the Southern Ocean and past the three great southern capes — the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn — before a finish in Itajaí, Brazil.

The race then goes to Newport, Rhode Island in the USA; Aarhus in Denmark; The Hague in The Netherlands; and on to a Grand Finale finish in the Mediterranean in Genoa, Italy in the summer of 2023.

Stopover dates for the above stages of the race will be confirmed before the end of the year.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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The next edition of The Ocean Race will feature the longest Southern Ocean leg in the 50 year history of the event, an incredible 12,750 nautical mile marathon between Cape Town, South Africa to Itajaí, Brazil.

This is just one of the highlights of the updated race course confirmed, which will not include a Pacific leg via New Zealand or China.

The race route for the 14th edition of the event has been designed in response to the logistical realities of an around-the-world race in a COVID-19 environment and will start from Alicante, Spain in late December 2022 or early January 2023, with the final date to be announced.

From there, the IMOCA and VO65 fleets will sprint out of the Mediterranean Sea to Cabo Verde, visiting this African island nation for the very first time, before racing down to a perennial favourite among stopovers in Cape Town.

Then, a return to the roots of the race — with a massive sojourn through the Southern Ocean, over 30 days of racing, to Itajaí, host of the past three stopovers in South America.

This will be the longest leg in the history of The Ocean Race, dating all the way back to the very first fully crewed around-the-world race in 1973.

‘We believe the 12,750 nautical mile leg from Cape Town to Itajaí is a very special element — unique in history — in the next race’

And it will also see a transit of the three great capes — the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn — in succession, without a stopover, for the very first time.

“We believe the 12,750 nautical mile leg from Cape Town to Itajaí is a very special element — unique in history — in the next race,” said Johan Salén, managing director of The Ocean Race.

“The ongoing and unpredictable effects of COVID have meant it is impossible, at this time, to do the planning necessary to ensure successful stops in China and New Zealand.”

Race chair Richard Brisius added: “China and New Zealand remain important to the present and the future of The Ocean Race, and we plan to return to both countries again. We will work diligently with both to explore ways for them to have a meaningful presence in this edition as well.

“China, of course, has a strong history of hosting stopovers since 2008-09 and was the winner of the last edition of the race, with the Dongfeng Race Team.

“And we consider Auckland to be a spiritual home for this event, with legends like Sir Peter Blake, Grant Dalton, Ross Field and Mike Sanderson, to name just a few among so many of the amazing Kiwis who have taken on this challenge. Their legacy is woven into the fabric of The Ocean Race.”

Following the Southern Ocean leg, and after rounding the famed Cape Horn, teams will stop in Itajaí to recharge bodies and boats. Then the race course will take in Newport in Rhode Island, USA before crossing the Atlantic to northern European stops in Aarhus, Denmark and The Hague in The Netherlands, before the Grand Finale finish in the Mediterranean at Genoa, Italy.

‘Not only is it a simpler race from a logistics and organisation point of view, it should also be more cost-effective and more accessible’

“This update to the race route makes it reminiscent of the original Ocean Races of the past, and I hope the delay of the start until after the Route du Rhum will entice more teams to join us on the start line,” said Charlie Enright, skipper of 11th Hour Racing Team.

“Not only is it a simpler race from a logistics and organisation point of view, it should also be more cost-effective and more accessible for other IMOCA teams, particularly those looking to build-up to the 2024 Vendée Globe.

“The confirmed course is exciting - one month at sea, racing through the Southern Ocean, on the longest leg we’ve ever faced. It’s a reminder that we will need to be at the top of our game to take it on, and allows us to really hone in on our preparations, starting with the Transat Jacques Vabre this weekend.”

Stopover dates will be announced shortly as the route logistics are fully confirmed.

“These are challenging but nonetheless very exciting times for international events like The Ocean Race,” Brisius said. “We have a clear mission ahead — to enable our sailors to achieve the extraordinary, while driving change towards a healthier, sustainable planet.

“Following on from the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe this spring, the 14th edition of the around-the-world race is the next phase in our 10-year plan of events, which includes regional and global races, as well as our series of The Ocean Race Summits, designed to explore solutions and drive meaningful change towards the restoration of ocean health.

“We will continue working with all of our stakeholders: teams, host cities, partners, race fans and media to make progress on these goals.”

Entries for the race will be announced by participating teams over the coming months.

“This race course, for sailors and teams in both the IMOCA and VO65 classes, is shaping up to provide one of the toughest challenges in the long story of the Race,” Salén said.

“Over our 50 years of history, The Ocean Race has evolved with the times, but remained true to its core values. We’re looking forward to the next start in Alicante in December/January to write the next chapter.”

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

Relay4Nature, an initiative by The Ocean Race and UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, is at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, COP26, to highlight the critical role the ocean plays in mitigating climate change and to call for world leaders to take urgent action to protect it.

The Relay4Nature baton, Nature’s Baton, was passed from the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Ambassador Peter Thomson to Vel Gnanendran, climate and environment director at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, on the deck of the iconic tall ship Glenlee on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow on the first day of the world’s crucial climate change conference (Sunday 31 October).

The Ocean Race, together with Ambassador Thomson, created Relay4Nature earlier this year to help ensure that the ocean is central to global discussions affecting the planet’s future.

Nature’s Baton symbolises the fact that the world’s existential challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss are inseparably linked with the state of the ocean’s health.

‘The science tells us that we must protect 30% of the ocean by 2030. I think that is the very least we should be doing’

Receiving the baton on behalf of COP26’s landmark event, Vel Gnanendran said: “The ocean is critical to life. About three billion people in the world depend on the ocean. It is critical to livelihoods, biodiversity and saving our planet. The science tells us that we must protect 30% of the ocean by 2030. I think that is the very least we should be doing.

“I hope that we can see governments and non-governmental players all committing to take action to protect the oceans but not only taking the action but by putting the finance behind those actions.

“It is a real honour to receive Nature’s Baton on behalf on the UK COP26 Presidency and I really want to commend everyone involved in Nature’s Baton and the baton Relay for raising the profile of the ocean and galvanising actions around protecting it.”

Ambassador Thomson said that Nature’s Baton is giving the ocean a voice at crucial environmental conferences and is “part of an international effort to break down the silos that have often impaired the outcomes of these conferences. Relay4Nature is demonstrating connectivity, and underlining that our planetary problems and solutions all stem essentially from the same universal activities of humankind.”

Relay4Nature will feature throughout COP26, collecting and sharing messages from delegates about the action that world leaders need to take to protect the planet.

The Ocean Race and Ambassador Thomson will host a side event next Monday 8 November where, along with special guests, they will analyse the ocean’s role in the global negotiations so far.

The Relay4Nature initiative is supported by 11th Hour Racing, founding partner of the Race Sustainability Programme and premier partner of The Ocean Race.

‘The ocean may be a victim of the climate crisis, but it also holds the solutions. In fact the ocean is a true climate hero’

Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race, said: “Climate change is taking a devastating toll on our blue planet. Seas are becoming warmer, more acidic and levels are higher, significantly impacting not just the species that live in them but humans, too.

“The ocean may be a victim of the climate crisis, but it also holds the solutions. In fact the ocean is a true climate hero. It provides half of the world’s oxygen, locks away a significant amount of carbon dioxide and absorbs heat, making it our most crucial ally in the fight against climate change.

“Through Relay4Nature we want to highlight that it is absolutely critical that the ocean has a seat at the negotiation table at COP26.”

COP26 takes place six years after the milestone Paris Agreement, which set out the critical emissions reduction targets the world needs to meet in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. From now until next Friday 12 November, leaders from across the world will attend the conference in Glasgow where it is expected that commitments will be made for more ambitious and decisive action.

Ahead of COP26, messages have been collected by Relay4Nature from a diverse mix of heads of state, ministers, business leaders, sailors and ocean lovers, including HSH Prince Albert of Monaco; the European Commissioner for Environment, Virginijus Sinkevičiusl and the UN High Level Climate Action Champion for COP26, Nigel Topping.

Each baton holder is asked to share their greatest concern related to the future of the planet and an ask to world leaders on the vital action required. Their messages are carried within the baton.

As well as connecting the major challenges to the planet, Nature’s Baton links the world’s major environmental conferences. It played a significant role at IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille in September. And following COP26, will make its way to UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi in March 2022, the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming in April and UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon in June.

The baton was also passed between sailing teams during the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe earlier this year. It reached Glasgow following a six-day cycling relay from Southampton, on England’s south coast, to Scotland, organised by GAC Pindar, official logistics provider of The Ocean Race 2022-23, with support from Volvo Cars, premier partner of the race, who supplied two hybrid support vehicles for the relay.

Published in Environment

Italy’s tourism minister Massimo Garavaglia has given his full support for an Italian entry in the next edition of The Ocean Race, scheduled to start in late 2022.

“We have a great opportunity here. The country is restarting and we have the wind in our sails,” the minister said during a press conference organised by the Yacht Club Italiano (YCI) yesterday evening (Sunday 19 September).

Regarding an Italian entry into The Ocean Race, Minister Garavaglia added: “This is a great initiative for Genova and Italy and the news today is that we will support it by teaming up with the municipality, the region and other interested regions... We believe in it and we are convinced The Ocean Race represents a great showcase and opportunity for our country.”

The goal, he said, is to give Italian tourism a further boost and enhance the Made in Italy brand.

Minister Garavaglia confirmed government support for the Italia Sailing Team alongside Giovanni Toti, president of Liguria region, as well as Marco Bucci, the mayor of Genoa — which is the host city of the Grand Finale of The Ocean Race in the summer of 2023 and also hosted the finish of The Ocean Race Europe this summer.

“Taking part in The Ocean Race puts us on the world stage once again”

Gerolamo Bianchi and Nicoló Caffarena, respectively president and general secretary of the Yacht Club Italiano, confirmed the Italia Sailing Team will be racing with the support of the oldest yacht club in Italy and third oldest in the world.

"It's great to have this acknowledgement from the minister and the Italian government,” said Bianchi. “Taking part in The Ocean Race puts us on the world stage once again.

“We'll speak more about the crew for our project in October,” he added.

Richard Brisius, race chairman of The Ocean Race, was also on site alongside all the speakers at the Yacht Club Italiano.

“Italy is a unique powerhouse and inspiration to the world,” he said. “When people in Italy come together, they have the strength to move mountains and the passion to motivate people across the world.

“Here, tonight, together with the Government’s minister of tourism Mr Garavaglia, the Ligurias president, Mr Toti, the Mayor of Genova Marco Bucci and president Bianchi of the Yacht Club Italiano, this is exactly what has happened.”

The YCI and the Italia Sailing Team say they have already been working hard behind the scenes for two years to secure the necessary assets for a proper Italian entry in The Ocean Race.

“We are honoured to welcome Italia Sailing Team to The Ocean Race family and we look forward to cooperating with Riccardo Simoneschi and the YCI board and management,” Brisius added. “I raced in The Ocean Race 89/90 under the Italian flag for the YCI, so tonight is also a special moment for me.”

The Italia Sailing Team will be led by team CEO Riccardo Simoneschi and compete in the IMOCA class. A full presentation of the team is to come.

“It’s a great opportunity and challenge to take on The Ocean Race,” Simoneschi said. “For our team and for the Yacht Club Italiano join in this race means being a part of history.

“We will announce the team and other key information in the coming weeks but we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity, of having minister Garavaglia in Genova and at our club this evening, alongside all of the other speakers, to confirm our team.”

“Our dream has been to see an Italian boat leading into the Grand Finale”

The Italia Sailing Team will be the first Italian-backed entry in The Ocean Race in more than 20 years.

“When we agreed two years ago to make Genova the Grand Finale of The Ocean Race, we started an important journey,” said Mayor Bucci. “Today I thank the minister for what has been made official. Our dream has been to see an Italian boat leading into the Grand Finale in Genova and today a first and important step was taken in that direction.”

Liguria’s Toto added: “I am happy to be here because two places and two moments that are so important for our region are linked: the Genova Boat Show and the Yacht Club Italiano.

“This is a great moment that goes beyond sport and inspires great belief in our region that such an ambitious idea can be born and developed here. Our city and our region is having an exceptional week with the Genova Boat Show and I think it is just the first of many.”

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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An overwhelming number of people working in the sailing and boat building industry say they want the field to become more sustainable.

And nine out of 10 respondents to the survey by The Ocean Race feel that not enough is being done to reduce the environmental impact in their area.

The survey results were shared today (Tuesday 14 September) at The Ocean Race’s Innovation Workshop on Sustainable Boat Building in Lorient.

This third in the series of workshops on the subject brought together 100 participants — including boat builders and designers, sailors, NGOs, universities, sponsors and federations, both in situ and remotely — to tackle the main challenges that need to be met for the boat-building industry to become more sustainable.

Anne-Cécile Turner, sustainability director at The Ocean Race, said: “Competitive sailing has been focused on speed and performance for years, but building the boats remains material, energy and waste intensive. This urgently needs to change.

“The world has just nine years to halve greenhouse gas emissions to be on track with the global ambition to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030 and prevent even more catastrophic climate change.

“Currently, the boat-building industry is not on target to achieve this, but it isn’t too late. By collaborating and committing to change we can slash emissions and show real leadership as an industry.”

Damian Foxall — Co Kerry round-the-world sailor and sustainability programme manager for 11th Hour Racing Team — also spoke at the event, following the launch of the team’s new IMOCA 60 last month, which has been built in preparation for the next edition of The Ocean Race in 2022-23.

Aiming to set a benchmark for sustainable boat building, a range of techniques have been used to reduce the impact of the new vessel, including substituting highly-polluting materials with new alternatives, reducing single-use elements and refining the boat’s shape to make it more energy-efficient.

11th Hour Racing Team’s new boat is hoisted at the boatyard of MerConcept in Concarneau | Credit: Amory Ross11th Hour Racing Team’s new boat is hoisted at the boatyard of MerConcept in Concarneau | Credit: Amory Ross

Ahead of the workshop, Foxall said: “Our approach to the build of our new IMOCA 60 has been to measure everything — from the energy used in the design, computations and construction, to the material usage and the waste.

“By measuring our footprint, we can manage our approach to reducing it through introducing alternative materials, processes and innovations. We now have a benchmark for our IMOCA 60 build which can be used for future builds within the class.”

The survey identified three main barriers to change: a lack of technical knowledge of alternative materials; lack of funding for research and development; and concern that sustainable developments could affect boat speed.

When asked what would motivate them to create more sustainable boats, increased demand from clients comes out top among those surveyed. Six out of 10 feel that this will drive change, followed by a better selection of sustainable products and changes to the racing rules, with half of respondents stating that these factors would make a difference. More industry collaboration is also cited by four in 10.

The Ocean Race has introduced specific rules to help drive teams to be more sustainable. For the 2022-23 edition of the race, teams will be required to generate at least 30% of the energy they use on board through renewable energy sources (hydro, wind, solar) and may be asked to carry scientific equipment onboard to gather data about the state of the ocean.

It’s hoped that these rule changes will help inspire solutions for 100% renewable energy to manage life on board, as well as new construction materials and technologies that have minimal environmental impacts.

The survey, which was conducted by The Ocean Race in August and September 2021, was sent to 100 people in the sailing and boat building industry and supported by 40 stakeholder consultation calls to deep dive into industry barriers and enablers.

Published in News Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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