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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.”

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin says it’s accelerating its use of innovative alternative materials with the launch of The Ocean Race DIVER, largely composed of recycled fishing nets.

The official timing partner of The Ocean Race has been making marine chronometers for explorers since 1846 — and it says that today’s ocean adventurers are often confronted with the scale of plastic pollution in the world’s seas.

“How can we transform some of this plastic into a luxury item? With the help of start-ups such as FIL&FAB, we have successfully managed to fabricate and sell watches derived from recycled fishing nets,” Ulysse Nardin chief executive Patrick Pruniaux explained.

“Our way of making people aware of the issue is upcycling. In this process, finding suppliers was a key factor.”

In this case, Ulysse Nardin found a supplier who was able to upcycle discarded fishing net material into base material for components of The Ocean Race DIVER — which comes with a definitely luxury price tag of $11,500 (€10,900).

“At The Ocean Race, we have been sailing around the world since 1973 and as sailors, we have seen the Ocean change over the past 50 years,” said Richard Brisius, race director of The Ocean Race.

“We have learned the need to respect the ocean and give the ocean a voice in order to protect it and restore its health.

“We are proud to have a partner like Ulysse Nardin, who shares our values and to see the innovation taking place to support these efforts. This innovative watch reminds us that now is the time to act.”

Discarded fishing nets collected for upcycling | Credit: Ulysse NardinDiscarded fishing nets collected for upcycling | Credit: Ulysse Nardin

In September 2020, Ulysse Nardin marked the first milestone in its commitment to the ocean and the circular economy — a model of production and consumption, which involves using materials and products for as long as possible — with the launch of the R-STRAP wrist strap, which is made entirely from recycled fishing nets and can be used with its MARINE, DIVER and FREAK X watches.

In November 2020, the brand innovated with the DIVER NET, an experimental concept watch, each element of which was designed for durability and to have as low an impact on the environment as possible.

The latest iteration is The Ocean Race DIVER, which the watchmaker says “embodies innovation and tradition”, with 95% of its components sourced within a 30km radius of the manufacturer, and half of them coming from recycling channels, particularly recycled steel and brass.

The strap is also fully recycled from fishing nets, transformed into reels of yarn by the French company JTTI.

From June, The Ocean Race DIVER will be sold in a limited edition of 200 in an original pack with a water-resistant R-PET pouch slipped into a dry bag recycled from the sea by Helly Hansen, the official clothing supplier of The Ocean Race. For more see the Ulysse Nardin website HERE.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

French skipper Paul Meilhat will fulfil a lifelong dream in January 2023 when he leads Biotherm across the starting line of The Ocean Race on the waters off Alicante, Spain.

Meilhat and his team will be racing one of the newest IMOCA boats in the fleet, a Verdier design that is expected to compete for the title in The Ocean Race 2022-23, before Meilhat will go on to sail in the next edition of the single-handed Vendée Globe.

“I am very happy to officially announce our participation in The Ocean Race with Biotherm,” Meilhat says. “I have been working to be at the start of this event for the last three years.

“Everything about The Ocean Race excites me. It’s about the sport, but it’s also about travelling around the world and being able to discover other countries and create links with new people; all of this is great and I’m keen to feel the full story of one of the great events in our sport.

"We are lucky to have a great boat to participate in the entire IMOCA Globe Series programme. I am thrilled that we have secured our participation in The Ocean Race, which adds a new, even more international dimension to our campaign.

"This opportunity is important to both the sporting side of the project, with the sailing team hungering to take on this incredible challenge, as well as for our title sponsor Biotherm, an international skincare brand in the L’Oréal Group. Biotherm has been dedicated to ocean protection for over 10 years and the brand’s values are​ very much in line with The Ocean Race, committed to bringing people together to protect the health of the ocean.”

Like many IMOCA sailors, Meilhat is well known for his ability competing short-handed. He is a winner of the Route du Rhum and the Fastnet Race as well as being the IMOCA Globe Series champion in 2021. But he also has experience and an ambition to race in a crewed format, and says the two disciplines complement each other.

Paul Meilhat and Richard Brisius shake hands at Race Control in Alicante | Credit: Alexander Champy-McLean/The Ocean RacePaul Meilhat and Richard Brisius shake hands at Race Control in Alicante | Credit: Alexander Champy-McLean/The Ocean Race

“From a sporting standpoint, it's great to have the opportunity to race around the world, to test our boats and to compete with the best with a full crew on board. It’s a different culture with a lot of engagement on board between the sailors,” he says.

“The crew brings a real dynamic. On The Ocean Race Europe, we clearly saw that there was good energy on the boats and notable progress over the rest of the season.

“Racing with a crew also allows us to sail more than we do alone. During The Ocean Race we will sail almost more than on the entire IMOCA solo or double-handed programme over the next three years. This volume of racing is very beneficial, with the stopovers allowing for development, restarting, and so on.

“The new format of The Ocean Race matches perfectly with our current IMOCA programme and schedule. It's one of the great races which is consistent with what we do and which has the advantage of taking us to the Southern Ocean, sailing in difficult and challenging conditions, which helps us develop our boats and ourselves as sailors.”

The new Biotherm is expected to be launched in August and will compete in the Route de Rhum this autumn before returning to Alicante, Spain for the start of The Ocean Race on 15 January next year.

“It’s fantastic to have Paul and his Biotherm team confirm they will join The Ocean Race,” Johan Salén, managing Director of The Ocean Race said. “Paul was among the first IMOCA skippers to signal his ambition and intention to compete and we know he worked very hard over the past three years to bring this project to the start line. We’re looking forward to seeing him race.”

Paul Meilhat’s Biotherm joins skipper Boris Herrmann’s Team Malizia and skipper Charlie Enright’s 11th Hour Racing Team as confirmed IMOCA campaigns for The Ocean Race 2022-23. The full list of registered teams in both the IMOCA and V65 classes can be found on the official race website, and The Ocean Race promises further team announcements shortly.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The Ocean Race has joined forces with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) to help increase understanding of the ocean and inspire action to protect it.

Their new partnership hopes to contribute to global ocean action in what is set to be a significant year for the seas — starting with the One Ocean Summit in Brest, France which starts today (Wednesday 9 February) and aims to increase international action and drive tangible commitments.

The new collaboration combines The Ocean Race’s experience of the seas, from nearly 50 years of around-the-world racing, with IOC-UNESCO’s leadership in ocean science and sustainable ocean management.

It will use the race’s global platform to raise awareness of the impact that people are having on the ocean and the vital role that it plays in our lives.

As an ‘Impact Collaborator’, IOC-UNESCO will work with The Ocean Race on its science programme which gathers data about the state of the marine environment, including in remote parts of the ocean that are largely inaccessible to research vessels.

The partners will work together to ensure the data collected by the sailing teams helps to advance ocean research with the support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), which is now in its second year.

Data will contribute to the IOC-UNESCO-led Global Ocean Observing System and other organisations who are tracking key ocean threats, such as marine debris, microplastics and acidification — a key indicator of climate change.

Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of IOC-UNESCO, said: “Creating the ocean we want by 2030 – an ocean that is healthy, resilient, sustainable, safe, and inspiring – is the central objective of the UN Ocean Decade, and from the start it has been clear that we need to broadly partner across science, government, philanthropy and civil society to achieve that.

“Since 2015 we have been in partnership with the sailing world through the IMOCA Class, and I think our new partnership with The Ocean Race demonstrates this community’s growing commitment to understanding and protecting the ocean.”

The Relay4Nature baton on route to One Ocean Summit in Brest, France onboard Alan Roura Racing | Credit: Austin Wong/The Ocean RaceThe Relay4Nature baton on route to One Ocean Summit in Brest, France onboard Alan Roura Racing | Credit: Austin Wong/The Ocean Race

IOC-UNESCO will also be involved in The Ocean Race Summits, which bring together global decision-makers to help to drive new and improved policies to protect and govern the ocean, and will help to amplify The Ocean Race’s Learning programme, which teaches children about the importance of the seas.

During the next round-the-world race, which starts in January 2023, the partners will engage children in the eight Race Villages where ocean health will be a central theme.

Richard Brisius, race chairman at The Ocean Race, said: “The Ocean Race and IOC-UNESCO share a common goal of raising awareness of the vital role that the ocean plays in sustaining all life on Earth. Only by growing understanding of our blue planet can we drive greater action to protect it.

“We share the same values as the IOC and by combining their expertise in ocean science and our global platform we can inspire audiences — like the sailing community, sports industry, businesses, host cities, governments, fans and sponsors — to make change that supports a healthy, thriving ocean.”

The collaboration builds on the growing relationship between the two organisations, which has included Dr Ryabinin speaking at The Ocean Race Summit in The Hague in 2020 and the endorsement of several of The Ocean Race’s activities by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

The UN Decade is a global movement to unlock the knowledge needed to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and create improved conditions for sustainable development of the ocean.

Partnerships are a key element of The Ocean Race’s award-winning ‘Racing with Purpose’ sustainability programme, which brings together a range of tangible ways that the race can have a positive impact on the marine environment.

Working with 11th Hour Racing — founding partner of the Racing with Purpose programme and a Premier Partner of The Ocean Race — the race organisers are 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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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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