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The Ocean Race and its partners — including the governments of Cabo Verde and Monaco and the Earth Law Center — are redoubling efforts to give the ocean a voice and gathering increasing support from countries around the globe for the adoption of a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights by 2030.

Together, the collaborators hosted an event at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week that brought together participants from over 20 countries and international organisations to discuss how to galvanise further support as part of the journey towards the adoption of a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights.

Participating countries included Italy, Portugal, France, Sweden, Singapore, Spain, Mexico, Palau, Colombia, Seychelles and Panama, along with key institutions in ocean conservation such as the Pew Charitable Trust.

Cabo Verde’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration, Rui Alberto de Figueiredo Soares said: “Cabo Verde stands ready to advocate for a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights that has to be adopted and implemented on a global scale and with the support of policy makers, private sector, scientists, sailors and other key stakeholders.

“By 2030 the Declaration should establish a set of rules regarding the protection of the oceans and applicable to all countries in the world. The goal is ambitious but achievable as long as there’s global collaboration at heart.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Monaco, Isabelle Berro-Amadeï | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean RaceMinister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Monaco, Isabelle Berro-Amadeï | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean Race

Cabo Verde will be a race stopover for the first time during the next edition of The Ocean Race, which starts in less than four months’ time. It will also be the host of The Ocean Race Summit Mindelo, which is part of a series of high-level events to raise awareness and advance support towards Ocean Rights. 

Monaco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Isabelle Berro-Amadeï said: “The ocean is vital for our climate, for our biodiversity and for life on Earth as we know it. It is time we gave the ocean a voice.

“Two of the most prominent priorities of the Principality of Monaco are oceans and sport. We are proud of the fact that our sovereign, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco — who also attended the event — is both an Olympian and one of the most dedicated leaders for a healthy, productive and protected ocean.”

In a video message, Boris Herrmann, one of the world’s best known offshore sailors and Team Malizia skipper said: “Without the ocean, nothing would be possible. We clearly support The Ocean Race and partners in their work towards a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights because the ocean means everything to us: it is our playground, our workplace and, for me personally, spending more than 100 days a year in the ocean, it is also my home.”

Addressing the round table, ocean campaign manager at the Earth Law Center, Michelle Bender told the audience: “I would like us to think about ocean rights as an opportunity. Not just another regulation, but rather a framework that shows the world how society and life can look like if we live in the right relationship with the Ocean and the entire Earth community.”

Ocean campaign manager at the Earth Law Center, Michelle Bender | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean RaceOcean campaign manager at the Earth Law Center, Michelle Bender | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean Race

During the event, the government of Panama spoke via a video message backing the legal recognition of ocean rights, with the country’s Minister for the Environment, Milciades Concepción stating: “We believe that support for a global initiative to recognise ocean rights must be a priority for all countries in the world, including those without coastal areas that still benefit from ocean resources.”

Senator Juan Diego Vasquez warned that if we do not protect the whole ecosystem “we are jeopardising our own survival”, and Panama’s first lady Yazmin Colon de Cortizo stressed: “I think countries need to agree on policies and see the problems that are facing our oceans, including the pollution threat, the devastating effects of climate change and the deterioration of the marine environment. Working together we can reach consensus and achieve global goals.”

The Ocean Race chair Richard Brisius and policy director Johan Strid wrapped up the event stressing the need to “move quickly” to bring draft principles on Ocean Rights to the United Nations General Assembly in September next year.

Participation and engagement at leading conferences is an important part of The Ocean Race’s multi-award-winning ‘Racing with Purpose’ sustainability programme, which brings together a range of tangible ways that we can have a positive impact on the marine environment.

Working with 11th Hour Racing — founding partner of the Racing with Purpose programme and the winning team in last week’s 48-hour Azimut — The Ocean Race is holding high-level summits to drive global decision-makers to create policies to protect and govern the ocean, contributing vital data about the state of the seas to leading scientific organisations, equipping children with the knowledge to help the ocean and much more.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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The Ocean Race and Ocean Bottle, makers of award-winning reusable bottles, are working together to reduce the volume of single-use plastic that ends up in the seas.

A special-edition bottle to commemorate The Ocean Race 2022-23 will be launched through the partnership which will prevent the equivalent of 4.5 million single-use ocean-bound plastic bottles entering the ocean, through the use of the Ocean Bottle in the race’s guest experience programme and sale to the public in retail outlets.

Andrew Lamb, head of partnership development at The Ocean Race said: “In the race to protect the ocean, there’s no time to waste, so joining forces with partners like Ocean Bottle, who share our mission for healthy seas, is vital to accelerate action.

“As sailors we see first-hand how plastic pollution is choking the ocean. If things don’t change there will be more plastic in the marine environment than fish by 2050 [according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation].

“Ocean Bottle is making a real difference; last year alone it stopped nearly 2.5m kg of plastic from entering the ocean. Together we can have a positive impact and inspire even more action.”

Each Ocean Bottle prevents the equivalent of 1,000 plastic bottles from entering the ocean via social plastic collection programmes in which community members are paid or provided with other benefits for collecting ocean-bound plastic. Ocean Bottle says these programmes help to empower vulnerable communities with a path out of poverty.

The product also contains a smart chip which takes people through to an app where they can discover more actions they can take to help the seas. One Blue Voice, The Ocean Race’s campaign for a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights, will also be highlighted with a QR code to drive consumers to the petition where they can add their support.

Ocean Bottle partner RePurpose Global’s plastic collection project in Accra, Ghana | Credit: RePurpose GlobalOcean Bottle partner RePurpose Global’s plastic collection project in Accra, Ghana | Credit: RePurpose Global

Ocean Bottle founder and co-chief executive, Will Pearson said: “We created Ocean Bottle to make it easier for people everywhere to stop plastic from getting into our seas. We believe we can achieve this through partners like The Ocean Race to fund the collection of a minimum of 4.5 million ocean-bound plastic bottles in weight.

“Ocean Bottle exists to bring people together to turn the tide on ocean plastic and we can’t be more excited to be partnering with The Ocean Race.”

The special-edition bottle will be available in The Ocean Race online store from November, just ahead of the start of the race which sets sail from Alicante, Spain in January 2023.

Throughout the six-month event, the bottle will be on sale in Ocean Live Parks, the dedicated race villages in the nine host cities around the world. It will also be available in The Ocean Race Museum store in Alicante and will be gifted to race guests during stopovers.

Through The Ocean Race’s Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, which was developed in collaboration with founding partner and premier partner of the race, 11th Hour Racing, the round-the-world sailing event is working to improve ocean health with a diverse range of audiences, including driving action around ocean plastic.

This includes pushing decision-makers on plastic policy, cutting single-use plastic in race villages, equipping teams with onboard scientific equipment to measure microplastics in the water as they race and inspiring children to take action through Learning programmes that have reached more than 180,000 students across the world.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

Anticipation is building ahead of next week’s Défi Azimut regatta in Lorient, France when five of the IMOCA teams so far confirmed as entries in The Ocean Race 2022-23 will line up against each other for the first time.

Four of the five international teams will race with with four crew (including at least one female sailor) as well as an additional onboard reporter (OBR) whose role is to chronicle their crew’s performance in words, images and video.
    
Meanwhile, joining Charlie Enright and Mark Towill’s 11th Hour Racing Team (USA), Boris Herrmann’s newly named Malizia - Seaexplorer (GER), Benjamin Dutreux and Robert Stanjek’s GUYOT environnement – Team Europe (FRA/GER) and Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm (FRA), French skipper Kevin Escoffier has opted to sail his Holcim–PRB IMOCA in solo mode.

Lorient is acknowledged IMOCA’s spiritual home and the popular six-day annual event scheduled to take place from 13-18 September has attracted a total entry of 29 boats in its 12th edition.

The entry list features many of the top name names in the class including the top three skippers from the 2020–2021 Vendée Globe, all from France: Yannick Bestaven, Charlie Dalin, and Louis Burton.

The Défi Azimut programme opens on Wednesday (14 September) with a day of sprint speed trials along a one-nautical mile reaching course set between Lorient and the nearby Groix island.

Lorient La Base, where the 12th edition of the Défi Azimut will take place next week | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceLorient La Base, where the 12th edition of the Défi Azimut will take place next week | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

Racing will be based on FIFA World Cup-style knock-out format with the teams grouped in the early rounds before the qualifiers race one-on-one in the later stages. For The Ocean Race boats, this stage offers a valuable opportunity to gauge themselves against their opposition in terms of raw boat-speed.

The following day the fleet sets off on a 48-hour offshore race around a course that loops out into the Atlantic around a set of virtual waypoints before bringing the fleet back to Lorient on Saturday.

For The Ocean Race’s four fully crewed teams, this will be the first and last time they will race offshore together before the 14th edition of the around-the-world race starts on 15 January 2023 in Alicante, Spain.

With that in mind, the two-day offshore could be as much about reconnaissance as it is about the result, with the crews expected to keep a close eye on each other as they try to glean any useful information about their rivals’ technique, setup, and performance.

Sunday’s final day of racing centres around a timed sprint fleet race around the 15 sqkm Groix Island. With 29 boats and a record time of just one hour, eight minutes, 10 seconds — set by French skipper Vincent Riou on PRB in 2015 — this race is set to be a frenetic scramble with no room whatsoever for tactical mistakes or boathandling errors.

Paul Meilhat, skipper of the brand new Biotherm IMOCA, acknowledged that his boat — which was only launched last week in Lorient — may not be fully ready, but said that he and the team are excited to take part nevertheless.

Holcim-PRB in sailing trials off Lorient in August | Credit: Yann Riou - polaRYSE/Holcim-PRBHolcim-PRB in sailing trials off Lorient in August | Credit: Yann Riou - polaRYSE/Holcim-PRB

“I’m really happy that we can do this fully crewed as a warm-up for The Ocean Race,” he said. “The truth is that it is easier to manage a boat that is not totally finished sailing with four people rather than if you are alone. Also I think it’s a really good way for us all to start our story with The Ocean Race together.”

Malizia - Seaexplorer co-skipper Will Harris (GBR) said Boris Herrmann’s squad were keen to line up against the other IMOCAs entered for The Ocean Race for the first time.

“We have seen some of the other boats out on the water but we have never lined up against them,” Harris said. “So this is going to be the moment we see whether we are in the game — or we have a lot more work to do.”

GUYOT environnement – Team Europe’s team manager Jens Kuphal said that the event would be a major milestone for the team which is a potent blend of Olympic campaigners and ocean racing talent.

“There is a lot of anticipation for the Défi Azimut because it’s the first time that our sailors will come together as a crew. For us it is like the kickoff point for the whole campaign — so it is a special moment.”

11th Hour Racing Team skipper Charlie Enright said his team was looking forward to racing with the other IMOCAs from The Ocean Race.

Malizia - Seaexplorer was christened by 150 local children at the the Malizia Ocean Festival in Hamburg on Tuesday 6 September | Credit: Andreas Lindlahr/Team MalizaMalizia - Seaexplorer was christened by 150 local children at the the Malizia Ocean Festival in Hamburg on Tuesday 6 September | Credit: Andreas Lindlahr/Team Maliza

“The Défi Azimut is the only time that all the boats will line up against each other in a competition format before The Ocean Race begins in January,” he said. “The format is great. You ease into it with the speed runs which are fun and then there’s the 48-hour race – which is the most relevant to what is coming down the track for all the competitors.

“The Round Groix race is particularly useful for us because it gives us a chance to get some meaningful boat handling practice in the crewed format.”

Despite opting to race the Défi Azimut solo, Holcim–PRB’s French skipper Kevin Escoffier said he was pleased to have the rest of The Ocean Race IMOCA crews competing.

“I have chosen to do it single handed because I wanted to have some solo training on the boat ahead of the Route du Rhum,” he said. “But for sure I will keep an eye on our friends and rivals from The Ocean Race teams.”

All the boats will carry GPS trackers for the entire event meaning fans will be able to follow the action online at the event website. The tracker for the 48-hour race will be embedded on theoceanrace.com.

Prior to the start of the Défi Azimut regatta, The Ocean Race is hosting a media event in Lorient at which invited media will hear from the skippers and a selection of sailors from all five teams.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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Kevin Escoffier, a previous winner of The Ocean Race, will enter his new generation IMOCA, Holcim-PRB, in the next edition beginning 15 January 2023 from Alicante, Spain.

Escoffier confirmed his entry as his rebranded IMOCA, in striking green and blue, was rolled out of the workshed in Lorient, France, and relaunched in a ceremony on Monday (22 August).

“I love racing, and The Ocean Race is an amazing race where you push 100% all the time,” skipper Escoffier said. “And you share this life with your crew. In 2014-15 it was my first race with Dongfeng Race Team and Charles Caudrelier as the skipper. In 2017-18 I was very lucky he called me back to join a winning campaign!

“Now I’m very happy to come back with my own project. It’s a short timeline. We will have to work hard. But we have a great team…

Kevin Escoffier launches his IMOCA, Holcim-PRB, in Lorient on Monday 22 August | Credit: Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE/HOLCIM-PRBKevin Escoffier launches his IMOCA, Holcim-PRB, in Lorient on Monday 22 August | Credit: Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE/HOLCIM-PRB

“The decision to commit to The Ocean Race was only confirmed in July so it’s come just in time… We have some work ahead and it demands some effort on logistics and preparation but it’s all good news and a fantastic opportunity.

“We’re very happy with the boat, with the new branding and looking forward to getting sailing already at the end of this week,” added Escoffier, who was the subject of a dramatic rescue by fellow competitor Jean Le Cam during the Vendée Globe in the southern Indian Ocean in December 2020.

“We have a strong, all-purpose boat, very easy to handle and I think it will be a fast boat when single-handing and in fully-crewed configuration for The Ocean Race.”

Escoffier says the team will name the crew for the The Ocean Race in the coming weeks. In the meantime, he will be competing solo in the Défi Azimut in Lorient, France in September and the Route du Rhum transatlantic race in November.

Holcim-PRB joins Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team, Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia, Benjamin Dutreux and Robert Stanjek’s GUYOT environnement - Team Europe and Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm as confirmed entries in the IMOCA division for The Ocean Race 2022-23.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The Ocean Race is aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions, or GHGs, by up to 75% for the 2022-23 race compared with the previous edition.

And race organisers say they are working with race teams, host cities, partners and suppliers “in a shared ambition to…hold a climate positive event”.

The race is aiming to cut emissions through a number of measures, they add, including using significantly fewer shipping containers used in event logistics; reducing the number of staff travelling internationally; careful management of resources such as materials, food, waste and water; as well as aiming to power the event sites with 100% renewable energy.

In addition, the race now has a shorter six-month schedule, compared with nine months for the previous edition, which will also reduce the overall impact, organisers say. 

And the GHG impact of logistics and hospitality will be tracked by “new systems” created in tandem with partners GAC Pindar and ATPI, with automated systems simplifying data management for the race, they add.

Another key element of making the event climate positive — drawing down more GHGs than are produced — is investment in ocean projects that “will restore vital marine habitats while also sequestering carbon”.

Mangroves are a vital marine habitat for storing carbon, The Ocean Race saysMangroves are a vital marine habitat for storing carbon, The Ocean Race says

“These ‘blue carbon’ initiatives, in which mangroves are protected from deforestation or actively regenerated, are at carefully chosen sites around the world,” race organisers say. “Healthy mangrove ecosystems can lock away carbon, protect coastlines, provide important habitats for wildlife and support local communities.”

The Ocean Race is a signatory of the United Nations’ Race to Zero and Sports for Climate Action initiatives, with a commitment to halving the eace’s GHGs and contributing to a net zero world by 2040.

In addition, its work to make the next edition climate positive is part of the Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, co-created with 11th Hour Racing.

The programme is described as seeking “to inspire new audiences, from schoolchildren to policy-makers, to take action to protect the ocean and climate”.

“It also supports ocean research through an innovative science programme in which vital data about the state of the seas is collected by boats as they race across the planet,” the race organisers add.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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Boris Herrmann’s offshore sailing team launched their new IMOCA race yacht as scheduled today, Tuesday 19 July in Lorient, Race some 18 months after design began.

Designed by VPLP, Malizia - Seaexplorer was built at Multiplast in nearby Vannes over the past 12 months, using “advanced” engineering technology and craftsmanship. The yacht will get its first big test in the Route du Rhum this November, ahead of the next edition of The Ocean Race in the new year.

“Learning from our experience in the past four years and in particular the Vendée Globe 2020-21, we wanted a boat that can maintain high average speeds even in rough sea conditions,” skipper Herrmann said at today’s launch event.

“Therefore, together with the architects from VPLP, we chose softer and rounder hull lines and a curved bow. We also made the boat even more solid than the previous one and completely redesigned the [ergonomics] and living space.”

Malizia - Seaexplorer carries the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals wheel and its hull features the team’s slogan, “A Race We Must Win - Climate Action Now”, with the aim of creating awareness and inspiring ambitious climate action.

Herrmann will skipper the boat in the Route du Rhum this November across the Atlantic from Saint-Malo to Guadeloupe, and his first single-handed regatta since the Vendée Globe.

Then from January, he will join co-skippers Will Harris and Rosalin Kuiper on Malizia - Seaexplorer for the round-the-world challenge of The Ocean Race — another test of the new boat, this time in the rough conditions of the Southern Ocean — with the ultimate goal of the Vendée Globe 2024-25 in sight.

Team Malizia is one of 14 IMOCA teams registered for The Ocean Race, which starts from Alicante in Spain on 15 January.

A notable feature of the new yacht is its mini-laboratory, the Ocean Pack, that will allow the team to continue to collect ocean data such as sea surface CO2 levels in remote regions like the Southern Ocean.

The boat, which sails under the flag of Monaco, will be christened during the Malizia Ocean Festival on 6-7 September in its home port Hamburg, where skipper Boris Herrmann lives and Team Malizia is based.

Published in Offshore

The Ocean Race and its global collaborators — including the Government of Cabo Verde — have claimed a major step forward in their efforts to give the ocean a voice and make it an international legal entity.

In a side event on Thursday 30 June during the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, leading voices gathered to analyse how action to legally recognise and protect the intrinsic value of the ocean can be accelerated.

Speakers included Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, Ulisses Correia e Silva; Former President of the Republic of Seychelles, Danny Faure; Callie Veelenturf from the Earth Law Center; The Ocean Race chair Richard Brisius; and Kristina Gjerde, senior high seas Advisor to the IUCN Ocean Team and Advisor to the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

Prime Minister Silva said: “As for other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), for Cabo Verde the sea is a big part of our existence. It also represents our relationship with the rest of the world.

“In the race to protect it, the Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights is fundamental: rules are needed to protect the ocean from the impact of climate change, pollution and overfishing.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a good reference for us - it defends the dignity of human beings. The Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights defends the planet and humanity itself. It is not an option for us, it is an obligation. That is why we are here: to join our voice to make it a reality by 2030.” 

Cabo Verde will be a race stopover for the first time during the next edition of The Ocean Race, which starts in January.
 
Former President of the Republic of the Seychelles, Danny Faure, said: “There is a need for a paradigm shift for rights concerning the ocean. Rights that govern our relationship with the ocean must be elaborated and recognised for all our benefits.

“Enshrining a framework that could efficiently ensure that human-activity is kept in check and in balance with the health of the ocean to ensure that it can continue to provide food security, build the planet’s resilience to climate change and provide an equitable and sustainable future for today’s generation and the next, is essential.”

Representing the Earth Law Center, marine conservation biologist and National Geographic Explorer, Callie Veelenturf also touched upon Human Rights as a reference for the protection of the ocean.

“In 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights due to the annihilation of people as a result of World War II. Today we are amid the sixth mass extinction and a devastating zoonosis resulting from the annihilation of Nature,” she said.

Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team in the Mediterranean during Leg 3 of last summer’s The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Martin Keruzore/Mirpuri Foundation Race Team/The Ocean RaceMirpuri Foundation Racing Team in the Mediterranean during Leg 3 of last summer’s The Ocean Race Europe | Credit: Martin Keruzore/Mirpuri Foundation Race Team/The Ocean Race

“Now is the time not to lose hope but to make inspiring proposals on an ethical and moral level to unite the nations of the world behind a common goal. For more than 75 years, the United Nations has tried to give a voice to the voiceless and it’s time we manage to do the same for the ocean, while we still have the time. Just as the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights changed the world forever, let the UN Universal Declaration on Ocean Rights do the same, and let us create this system change together.”

Addressing the audience, The Ocean Race chair Brisius recalled how racing around the world for the first time over 30 years ago changed his life “for good”.

“As a sailor you get a very special bond to the ocean, you care for it and you respect it, because you understand that the ocean is our number one life support system on the planet,” he said.

“In sports we like fair play and clear rules, but there is no fair play for the ocean. We need more effective laws and a clear Rule Book for the ocean. This is why The Ocean Race is working towards a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights. A legal and ethical compass defining our relationship with the Ocean. We have to stay constructive and keep moving forward.”
 
Kristina Gjerde wrapped up the event warning: “Nature is getting impatient: we are seeing many signs of ocean destruction and degradation and its impacts on humans on shore.

“A Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights provides a wonderful opportunity to galvanise human forces -humanity- to recognise our responsibility to one another and our kinship to the ocean and an opportunity to rally together as one to help to restore the health of the ocean.” 

Co-organised by The Ocean Race, Earth Law Centre, Government of Cabo Verde, Mirpuri Foundation, Danny Faure Foundation and Government of the Seychelles, the event was part of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference held in Lisbon, which aims to mobilise global support for an ocean besieged by the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and rampant pollution.

Ahead of the session, The Ocean Race’s Relay4Nature initiative, developed with UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, arrived to the shores of Portugal in the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team boat for the UN Conference.

Symbolised by Nature’s Baton, Relay4Nature champions the ocean and calls on leaders to take urgent action to protect nature. Connecting the world’s key environmental events, the Relay4Nature Baton was handed to actor Jason Momoa, recently appointed UNEP Advocate for Life Below Water.

The Ocean Race says participation and engagement at leading environment conferences is an important part of its ‘Racing with Purpose’ sustainability programme, which “brings together a range of tangible ways that we can have a positive impact on the marine environment”.

Working with 11th Hour Racing, The Ocean Race is holding high-level summits that aim to drive global decision-makers to create policies to protect and govern the ocean, contributing vital data about the state of the seas to leading scientific organisations, equipping children with the knowledge to help the ocean and much more.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The Ocean Race Summit in Stockholm earlier this week brought together sailors, scientists, policymakers and adventurers to discuss the urgent need to protect Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Addressing the summit on Wednesday (1 June), Isabella Lövin, chair of Stockholm Environment Institute, former Swedish deputy prime minister and former minister for the environment said: “We need to be putting pressure on governments. You can’t think of limited national interests, you have to think globally.

“The clock is ticking; we do not have any time to waste. We need to have a new mindset. One missing piece in our conversations is humanity being a part of life itself. We cannot have this approach to life that we are both apart from it and the owners of it. We are part of nature.”

Offshore sailor Gurra Krantz, four-time competitor in the Whitbread Round the World Race and Volvo Ocean Race — as The Ocean Race was formerly known — spoke of how he has witnessed the decline of the marine environment.

“In my view, the ocean has changed,” he said. “We are accumulating so much toxic pollution it’s going to jump up and bite us. We are killing it with millions of small needlesticks.”

On ocean rights, he added: “It has to happen and it has to happen quickly.”

Justin Ferris takes a hammering on board AkzoNobel during the 2017-18 race | Credit: James Blake/Volvo ABJustin Ferris takes a hammering on board AkzoNobel during the 2017-18 race | Credit: James Blake/Volvo AB

Andrea Kavanagh, director of the Southern Ocean Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project, spoke about the need for marine protected areas in the region.

“The Antarctic Peninsula is a hotspot for many activities — it is the fastest warming, the most heavily fished and the most often visited by tourists,” she said.

“We cannot keep fishing right on top of the penguins and whales because we are already seeing the impacts of overly concentrated fishing on these species. If countries want to keep fishing, then they must put conservation first and one way to do that is to designate a network of marine protected areas.”

Held in collaboration with the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) and 11th Hour Racing, a premier partner of The Ocean Race and founding partner of the race’s sustainability programme, the summit was hosted by television presenter and science communicator Danni Washington.

An associated event of the Stockholm+50 conference, which is convened by the United Nations and hosted by Sweden with support from the Government of Kenya, The Ocean Race Summit Stockholm took place on the eve of this crucial high-level international environmental meeting (which took place 2-3 June) in order to help put Antarctica and the Southern Ocean at the heart of discussions.

Sweden has an important role in safeguarding the region as it is the chair of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

Jakob Granit, director general for the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) and chair of CCAMLR attended the summit, where he highlighted that countries cannot work in solo to safeguard the region: “We need to keep the spirit of collaboration, even in these difficult times.”

Record-breaking sailor Lisa Blair addresses The Ocean Summit Stockholm | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean RaceRecord-breaking sailor Lisa Blair addresses The Ocean Summit Stockholm | Credit: Cherie Bridges/The Ocean Race

Author and multiple-time world record holding sailor Lisa Blair, who broke the record for fastest solo and unassisted voyage around Antarctica on 25 May this year, told the summit: “I have just spent the last three months surviving and living in the Southern Ocean and for me it is the most incredible ecosystem out there. I definitely think it deserves to have a vote.”

Another speaker with a close relationship with the region, polar explorer, climate analyst, photographer and Ulysse Nardin ambassador Sebastian Copeland said: “We need to be cognisant that the oceans have rights in the same ways that humans have rights. We need to protect those rights in order to protect ourselves.”

Members of the science community also expressed support. Ari Friedlander, ecologist and professor of ocean sciences at the Institute of Marine Sciences, UC Santa Cruz stressed: “It is really important that we give oceans rights. I think marine ecosystems, all of nature has a voice and it needs to be heard not only for the heuristic value of nature living on its own for its own reasons but we benefit from nature.”

The Stockholm event is part of a series of 12 summits to explore the idea of recognising the inherent rights of the ocean in order to create a universal approach to protecting the seas.

The Ocean Race chair Richard Brisius said: “We can only win the race for the ocean through collective ambition and action. By bringing together sailors, scientists, conservationists and policy makers at the summit, we can take action, share knowledge and create greater impact.

“To protect the planet we need to protect Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Recognising the ocean’s rights, by creating a universal approach to looking after the marine environment, could help make this happen.”

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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The Ocean Race is aiming for a 50/50 split of women and men competing in the round-the-world sailing fleet within the next three editions of the race.

The ambitious target is part of Horizon, a new collaboration with The Magenta Project, World Sailing Trust and PA Consulting that is dedicated to increasing the number of women in professional sailing.

And the group is calling on the sailing, marine and sports industries to join them in helping to accelerate accessibility for women. According to the World Sailing Trust, nearly 60% of women in sailing have faced gender discrimination.

Horizon aims for an equal number of men and women competing across The Ocean Race — whether this is achieved through mixed crews or all-female teams.

The initiative — which encompasses roles across the sport, including sailors, boat builders, coaches, umpires and race officials - is launching following in-depth analysis of the state of gender equality in professional sailing by PA Consulting.

Following interviews with key stakeholders in the industry, the consultancy identified major barriers, bias and systemic issues that limit female participation in the sport.

Dee Caffari, the first woman to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions, two-time competitor of The Ocean Race and chair of the World Sailing Trust, said: “We all naturally trust the people we are used to sailing with, so it is difficult to break into a team. The wind and waves don’t care who you are, male or female, you’re a sailor.”

The insights echo the World Sailing Trust’s 2019 Strategic Review into Women in Sailing (PDF), which revealed that 80% of women and 56% of men think that gender equality is an issue in sailing, with 59% of women, compared with 14% of men, saying they had experienced gender discrimination.

Working together, The Ocean Race, The Magenta Project, PA Consulting and World Sailing Trust say they aim to change perception and improve routes into the industry for women.

The Ocean Race will create a roadmap for action which will feature new and existing initiatives that will be supported by the collaborators. The actions will include recommendations from the World Sailing Trust Strategic Review, such as:

  • A fast-track leadership programme to create a pipeline of female leaders across the sport
  • equality design working group made up of boat designers, manufacturers, technical specialists and female sailors
  • a diversity and inclusion working group, led by World Sailing Trust

The Ocean Race will also provide shadowing opportunities across race management, with volunteers from local clubs in every host city that the race stops at, and, with The Magenta Project, will develop a women and youth mentoring programme specific to The Ocean Race.

Viva Mexico in The Ocean Race Europe in 2021 | Credit: Jen Edney/Viva Mexico/The Ocean RaceViva Mexico in The Ocean Race Europe in 2021 | Credit: Jen Edney/Viva Mexico/The Ocean Race

PA Consulting will create an equality assessment tool to help the sailing industry measure where they are now and where they can improve, along with a series of roundtables that will follow progress across the industry.

All stakeholders will also sign the UN Women, Sport for Generation Equality Charter, a powerful multi-sport stakeholder coalition to drive gender equality through sport.

Anne-Cécile Turner, sustainability director at The Ocean Race said: “Female competitors in The Ocean Race include Olympic gold medallists and world-record breakers. They are powerful role models and ambassadors, but for many, their journey to the top has been fraught with challenges, simply because they are female.

“Not only are women missing out on opportunities, the profession is also missing out on the skills, strength and talent that they bring to the table. Sailing can secure its reputation, and its future, by coming together as an industry. We need to build bridges, not work in silos.”

The Ocean Race has seen 136 women competing since 1973, including 12 in the first edition. In the 2017-18 edition of the race, new rules were introduced that gave teams a major incentive to include women as well as men — a policy that will continue in the 2022-23 race and will see women participate with a meaningful role on every team.

“The research that the World Sailing Trust conducted in 2019, showed some pretty stark figures on the state of gender equality in sailing,” Caffari said. “The PA Consulting research has since confirmed that while there is some progress, the sport needs to work much harder and more collaboratively, if we are to bring about change. It will take leading events in our sport, such as The Ocean Race, to continue to turn the equality dial.

“The Horizon initiative is exactly how we need to be working, so that as a sport, we can collaborate better and address these key issues, and start levelling the playing field. Aiming to increase opportunities and participation levels for female athletes.”

Jonquil Hackenberg, chair of The Magenta Project, a charity dedicated to gender parity and diversity in competitive sailing, and head of sustainability at PA Consulting said: “Sailing is one of the least diverse sports and this needs to change. This collaboration is a vital step towards that and has the potential to alter the face of sailing forever and make it a sport that others can turn to and learn from.

“The power of this collaboration is that it brings strengths to the fore, where strengths do not need to be physical. With a tangible set of recommendations and a collaboration whereby we at The Magenta Project can bring actionable pathways for aspiring ocean racers, the initiatives focus on the entire ecosystem of the sport, which is the only way to truly embed meaningful and sustainable change.”

IMOCA, one of the two yacht classes that will race in the next edition of The Ocean Race alongside the VO65 class, expressed its support for Horizon. IMOCA president Antoine Mermod said: “While we are seeing more females in sailing, there is still a way to go to make the sport truly equal for women and men. We would particularly welcome more females becoming skippers and taking on other leading roles in the industry, so we’re delighted to see a collaboration that focuses on making the sport more accessible to women.

“The Ocean Race has been a pioneer in this space; we’re looking forward to supporting their ambition to make the event equal.”

Helping to create pathways for women in sailing is the first step in The Ocean Race’s diversity and inclusion programme, which aims to make the event, and industry, more accessible to all.

Diversity and inclusion is part of The Ocean Race’s Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, which was created with 11th Hour Racing, a premier partner of The Ocean Race, and is dedicated to improving the health of the ocean.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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A new IMOCA team is confirmed to participate in The Ocean Race 2022-23, as French offshore sailor Benjamin Dutreux joins forces with Offshore Team Germany Olympian Robert Stanjek, the same combination that raced to victory in the inaugural edition of The Ocean Race Europe last summer.

Jens Kuphal and Alice Potiron will provide team management for the new partnership, GUYOT environnement - Team Europe.

“The Ocean Race Europe was a great experience for all of us working together for the first time and I think now, with a new boat, we can look forward to a great race around the world with this team,” said Dutreux, who will be racing the same IMOCA he plans to use for the next edition of the Vendée Globe.

“This race is a true international race. We have been focused on the solo races, but now we have a different story to look forward to and we are happy to begin this new challenge with a crewed race, around the world, and it will be a great opportunity to learn about each other and our boat.”

Offshore Team Germany celebrate their overall IMOCA 60 victory following the Genoa coastal race in June 2021 | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean RaceOffshore Team Germany celebrate their overall IMOCA 60 victory following the Genoa coastal race in June 2021 | Credit: Sailing Energy/The Ocean Race

Stanjek added: “I’m very motivated and keen to build on what we achieved in The Ocean Race Europe in the big one - the race around the world. Benjamin and I already know each other well from the previous race and I think that is an advantage.

“Our philosophy is to bring different sailors with different backgrounds together and merge their skills to build a strong, overall unit and I think we proved it well in The Ocean Race Europe and we want to keep this team for The Ocean Race.”

The GUYOT environnement - Team Europe IMOCA boat has a successful pedigree under the Hugo Boss banner, finishing in second place in the 2016-17 edition of the Vendée Globe and leading the most recent Route du Rhum fleet all the way to Guadeloupe.

More recently, the boat has been equipped with new foils and used as a training vehicle for the 11th Hour Racing Team as it prepared its own project for The Ocean Race.

“This boat is already well-developed and prepared for racing at the front of the fleet,” said Dutreux, who was able to race a 15-year old boat to an impressive ninth-place finish in the last Vendée Globe. “We are starting with a reliable, fast boat and that is important as we prepare for the race.”

GUYOT environnement - Team Europe is the fourth IMOCA campaign confirmed to be on the start line in Alicante, Spain on 15 January 2023, along with Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team, Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia and Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm. The VO65 side has also grown with the recent addition of Dutch entry Sailing Team NextGen, featuring Carolijn Brouwer who crewed the 2017-18 winner Dongfeng Race Team.

“It’s fantastic to see Benjamin and Robert come together to build on what they achieved in The Ocean Race Europe,” said Phil Lawrence, race director for The Ocean Race. “We now have four competitive IMOCA teams confirmed for the race and we continue to engage with other IMOCA and VO65 projects who are working to join us in Alicante in January for the start of the race.”

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