The Ocean Race Uses Cutting Edge Science Equipment in Vital Environmental Role

11th Hour Racing is proud to be the Founding Partner of the Sustainability Programme and Premier Partner of The Ocean Race. Check out the latest news below.

For the first time, high-quality oceanographic data is relayed ashore in real-time to improve models and predictions on ocean health and climate.

The Ocean Race, the world’s toughest, fully-crewed around the world sailing race, has enthralled and inspired a global audience since 1973.

At the same time it has provided new perspectives on the ocean that covers more than 70% of our blue planet, bringing some of the most remote corners of the Earth up close and personal for viewers around the world.

Recent years have seen a growing awareness of the challenges facing the ocean and an increasing appreciation of the fundamental role it plays in maintaining the health of the planet.

This is an issue that The Ocean Race has stepped up to address, determined to use its global platform to educate and spread the word about ocean health issues – and to promote available solutions.

With the half-centenary of The Ocean Race coming into sight over the not so distant horizon, the 2022-23 race could see a step-change in that commitment, by expanding the scientific data gathering across the fleet.

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

“Everything we are doing under our new Racing with Purpose initiative, which has been developed in collaboration with 11th Hour Racing – our Founding Sustainability Partner as well as the Premier Partner of the Race – is aimed at taking that legacy and accelerating action to improve ocean health.

“The new and pioneering scientific equipment – now 30% lighter and 20% more energy efficient – is yet another example of the innovative record of onboard instrumentation and, paired with the fact that teams on The Ocean Race go deep into some of the most remote areas on the planet like the Southern Ocean, means that we are again in a unique position to contribute, this time to gather real-time scientific data to help inform decision making.”

The latest generation oceanographic equipment in question is the OceanPack – a device which records essential ocean data from aboard the yachts. During a 14-day transatlantic crossing in August 2020, the 11th Hour Racing Team used an onboard OceanPack to sample seawater 24/7.

In a first for this type of data collection from racing boats, the high-quality data was relayed in real-time, in the last edition of The Ocean Race data transfer was done on arrival in port.

During the passage from France to Newport, Rhode Island, the crew aboard the IMOCA 60 racing yacht also deployed a Drifter Buoy in a target area where there is a gap in buoy coverage for long-term real-time monitoring of ocean conditions. These are particularly valuable contributions given the dramatically reduced opportunities to collect data and deploy monitoring equipment during COVID19 restrictions.

Image credits: Amory Ross | 11th Hour Racing

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The 11th Hour Racing Team sailors visited Clean Ocean Access and their Healthy Soils Healthy Seas initiative at Rhode Island Nurseries to find out more about composting. Credit: Amory Ross | 11th Hour Racing