Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Sustainability Gong for The Ocean Race in International Sports Awards 2023

7th December 2023
The IMOCA fleet at the start of Leg 7 of The Ocean Race 2022-23 on 15 June 2023
The IMOCA fleet at the start of Leg 7 of The Ocean Race 2022-23 on 15 June 2023 Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

The Ocean Race has taken the top prize in the sustainability category of the 2023 International Sports Awards, hosted by the International Sports Convention.

The award recognises the efforts of the race’s Racing with Purpose initiative, which was created with premier partner 11th Hour Racing to put ocean protection at the heart of the round-the-world sailing competition.

11th Hour Racing has a number of Irish connections. Two Kerry women are working on the Racing with Purpose programme: senior advisor is marine biologist Lucy Hunt, founder of the Sea Synergy marine awareness research and activity centre based in Waterville and Cahersiveen, while Rebecca White of Portmagee is an advisor on the learning programme, which is shortlisted for its own sustainability prize next week at the Reimagine Education Awards. And Kerry offshore racing veteran Damian Foxall is sustainability programme manager of 11th Hour Racing Team, the winning IMOCA in the latest edition of The Ocean Race.

Hosting an event that was as sustainable as possible was imperative in the race’s goals for its 2022-23 edition. Through a series of measures, the race reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 75% compared with the previous edition.

It was also powered entirely by renewable energy, and the race’s plastic footprint was measured in a first for any major sporting event.

Inspiring the next generation is also a key element of Racing with Purpose, with learning programmes in host cities via on-the-ground workshops.

Richard Brisius, race chairman at The Ocean Race said: “Sport has the potential to unify, educate and inspire in ways that can make a meaningful difference. For The Ocean Race, we’ve used our platform and created new opportunities to reach as many audiences as possible, from fans and children to business leaders and heads of state, in order to accelerate action to protect the planet.

“We’re delighted that our efforts have been recognised by the International Sports Awards. It is thanks to the unprecedented spirit of collaboration with our fantastic network of sailing teams, host cities, partners, stakeholders and many other ocean advocates during this edition of the Race that our Racing with Purpose sustainability programme has been able to create such impact.

“And last, but definitely not least, it is thanks to the relentless dedication, expertise and hard work by The Ocean Race team.”

The International Sports Awards take place each year to celebrate “the finest sports work in the world”. The Sustainability Award trophy will be presented at the International Sports Convention which takes place in London from 20-21 March 2024.

This article was updated on Friday 8 December to clarify that Damian Foxall is sustainability manager of 11th Hour Racing Team, not the title sponsor 11th Hour Racing, and to add other Irish connections.

Published in Ocean Race Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button