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Dun Laoghaire campaign group Save Our Seafront is holding a public meeting at the Royal Marine Hotel on Monday 1 November on the topic of Ireland’s sustainable future.

From 7.30pm all are welcome to join the discussion on how Ireland can best protect its marine resources while simultaneously developing renewable resources in a sustainable and responsible way.

Speakers will include Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Fergal McLoughlin of An Taisce and Valerie Freeman of the Coastal Concern Alliance.

Attendees are also welcome to join remotely via Zoom; register for the access details HERE.

A Save Our Seafront poster advertising the public meeting at 7.30pm on November 1st at the Royal Marine HotelA Save Our Seafront poster advertising the public meeting at 7.30pm on November 1st at the Royal Marine Hotel

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 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:

Published in News Update

Youth sailors from all over Northern Ireland are getting ready for RYANI’s Youth Championships weekend at Strangford Lough Yacht Club from today, Saturday 21 September, with over 160 sailors competing for the coveted Northern Ireland Schools Cup and Club Trophy.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this is the 30th year of the popular competition — and this year there is a focus on reducing plastic and ensuring the event is more environmentally sustainable in line with The Green Blue Charter.

In 2018, The Green Blue and RYANI delivered a series of workshops to educate clubs and instructors in Strangford Lough on the importance of protecting marine habitats and species in this area of natural beauty.

A new-look website has also recently been launched which provides useful resources as well as educational activities for young boaters that can be delivered on the water and onshore.

The most popular of these is Marine CSI, which gives young people the chance to become marine ‘special agents’ by analysing fingerprints, unscrambling puzzles and testing water samples.

By working towards an environmentally self-regulating boating community, The Green Blue aims to help boaters minimise the impact they have on the environment and protect wildlife and its habitats so they can enjoy the marine environment far into the future.

Published in Youth Sailing

#ferries - Artificial Intelligence (AI) assisted vessels to save fuel, battery power propulsion, huge reduction of single use plastic on board, continued low level of crew and passenger accidents and an increased rate of female leaders. These are some of the highlights in leading ferry company Stena Lines sustainability review for 2018.

The ferry operator has now released its third sustainability review “A Sustainable Journey” describing initiatives, improvements and challenges in the operations from the sustainability perspective as well as results on their ambitious sustainability targets. The review also highlights the main initiatives the company has worked on during the past year.

Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson said: “With size comes responsibility and our ambition is to improve our operations every year to become a leader in sustainable shipping. The past year we have had exiting developments pairing artificial intelligence with the know-how of our experienced employees on-board as well as increased focus on electrification. We have continued our efforts within crew and passenger safety as well as launching a new initiative for more diversity in our operations. This is a very exciting time for our company and I’m proud that Stena Line continues help shape the industry for European short-sea transportation.”

A sustainability strategy for Stena is divided into five focus areas tied to the UN Global Goals for sustainable development with ambitious targets set in each focus area. They are Equality & Inclusion, Good Health & Wellbeing, Clean Energy, Responsible Consumption, Life Below Water.

“We have more than 5,500 employees who all make big and small contributions towards our sustainability targets and it’s great to see that we are making good progress in many areas while maintaining a safe and efficient operation. Our industry has a big challenge with our fossil dependence and our total carbon emissions increased in line with freight volumes so we have more to do in this area. The initiatives started within electrification are relatively new to our industry but extremely important going forward as we gradually move to low-carbon operations,”said Erik Lewenhaupt, Head of Sustainability.

The full review can be found through this link which leads to a download pdf file.

Published in Ferry
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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

Irish Sailing has named Volvo Ocean race veteran Damian Foxall as its sustainability ambassador.

The national governing body for sailing in Ireland says the Kerry sailor — who served as sustainability manager for Vestas 11th Hour Racing in the most recent edition of the VOR — “has committed to helping us support sailors, clubs and centres to make sailing in Ireland environmentally sustainable and help reduce our carbon footprint.

“We are excited to announce that he has committed to attending a number of Irish Sailing events to help share advice on sustainability and environmental impact.

“Damian brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table for us all to learn from. He completed 10 round-the-world races and is a passionate ocean conservationist.”

The ocean consultant will be guest speaker at the Irish Sailing Cruising Conference in Lough Ree Yacht Club next Saturday 16 February, and will also be presenting Irish Sailing’s first Sustainability Award at tonight’s Volvo Irish Sailing Awards – just a few days after his recent skiing adventures on Ireland's highest peak.

Published in ISA

#VOR - Kerry sailor and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Damian Foxall had a very different role in the most recent edition of the round-the-world yacht race.

As sustainability manager for Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Foxall was responsible for guiding the team towards the title of the race’s ‘most sustainable’. His secret? “No compromise.”

Foxall spoke to Sport Sustainability Journal upon the publication of his team’s comprehensive sustainability report, which outlines various initiatives from grants for local projects along the route, to carbon reduction and offsetting on the yacht and among the crew.

The latter included the likes of reduced plastic packaging for official race clothing supplied by Musto, to ‘meatless Mondays’ below deck.

“The further we got into the race … we found sustainability brought a depth and strength to our team,” Foxall says.

Sport Sustainability Journal has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

#IFI - Inland Fisheries Ireland has officially signed up to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) Partnership Programme, which helps integrate energy management into public sector organisations.

This new partnership will see IFI follow a clear path to achieving targeted energy savings of 33% across the public sector, with a view to achieving year-on-year savings of greater than 3% on top of the 21% increase in efficiency already reached sector-wide.

The State fisheries body says it has already commenced a number of energy saving initiatives in recent years, which include the introduction of ‘green patrols’ for fisheries officers using kayaks and bicycles to patrol angling areas on inland waterways; installing solar panels and insulation on buildings; fuel monitoring and fleet audits; altering lighting; and trialling an electric vehicle.

IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne commented: “As custodians of the fisheries resource, Inland Fisheries Ireland recognises the importance of energy management as a highly cost-effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping to reverse climate change.

“Today [Tuesday 7 March] we have formally committed to reducing our energy usage and our carbon emissions and we look forward to working with the SEAI on reaching our goal by 2020.

“There are many benefits to energy efficiency and aside from environmental reasons; we are also motivated by the desire to operate in a lean manner. We know that many organisations can achieve 20% monetary savings in energy use through proven management and technology solutions so as an organisation, we will benefit year on year.”

Jim Gannon, CEO of the SEAI, added that the agency “is working closely with the public sector to help them to achieve energy savings and agencies such as IFI have a key role to play.

“Already, public bodies have achieved more than €600 million in energy efficiency savings in the last few years with SEAI’s assistance. With more partnerships like the one Inland Fisheries Ireland has committed to today, even more public sector savings can be achieved as we move towards a low carbon future.”

Published in News Update

#Tourism - Lough Neagh joins an exclusive list of 100 ‘sustainable destinations’ after its success in a global tourism competition this week.

As the News Letter reports, the largest inland waterway in the island of Ireland was put forward for evaluation by the Green Destinations Top 100 team, which narrowed down 150 nominees around the world to those taking sustainability most seriously for locals and tourists alike.

Eimear Kearney of the Lough Neagh Partnership was on hand to accept the prestigious designation at the Global Sustainability Competition in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

“For Lough Neagh to be named among the 100 greenest of destinations worldwide is a real achievement,” she said.

The partnership has recently launched a new scheme to improve habitats for protected bird species around the lough, according to BBC News.

The good news for Lough Neagh comes in the same week that a number of maritime tourism operators were featured at the 2016 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Aquatic Tourism
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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