Vestas 11th Hour Racing

Joining forces for the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race, Vestas and 11th Hour Racing aimed for exemplary results – both on the water and for the planet. The team set the goal to be the most environmentally sustainable team to have ever competed in the Volvo Ocean Race.

A selection of initiatives from the team’s robust sustainability strategy, included:

  • Following an internal Environmental Purchasing Plan for food and team operations that put environmentally conscious and local foods at the forefront, along with materials used for base operations.
  • The team reduced its carbon footprint through a range of initiatives, including biking, public transit, and ‘Meatless Mondays.’ All travel was tracked to calculate the team’s carbon footprint as they traveled the globe. The team offset its footprint through Seagrass Grow.
  • The team responsibly managed waste, water (consumption and quality), and energy (efficiency and renewable). The team also monitored impact and reporting progress against sustainability targets.


2018 Vestas 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Report. Photo credit: Ainhoa Sanchez/The Ocean Race


  • The team tracked and offset its carbon footprint of 1,218 tonnes CO2e by restoring seagrass and salt marshes with Seagrass Grow.
  • The team achieved a 74% landfill diversion rate of the waste produced through careful recycling and composting.
  • 92% of housing was within walking, biking, or public transportation distance, reducing the team’s transportation-related carbon footprint while at stopovers.
  • By not eating meat one day a week, the team reduced its carbon footprint by 2.72 tons, along with preventing the use of 671,000 liters of water.
  • 15,987 single-use 500ml water bottles were not used thanks to Bluewater filtration units that supplied the team, sponsors, and guests with fresh water. 
  • More than 99,300 people visited the team’s Exploration Zone learning about renewable energy solutions, ocean research, innovations to prevent microfiber pollution, and the principles of a circular economy.
  • $120,000 in grants were awarded to environmental organizations to support local innovations in sustainability and ocean health.
  • 314,000,000 media impressions were generated specific to the team’s sustainability efforts, with more than 550,000 views of videos discussing ocean health and environmental issues.


Charlie Enright and Mark Towill came away from the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race with an important message and an inspired mission:

“As sailors, we have a direct connection to the ocean. It’s our office, our playground, and our livelihood; ultimately, we are responsible for taking care of it. Circumnavigating the globe opened our eyes to the tremendous amount of pollution that exists and has motivated us to do something about it.”

Under their leadership, Vestas 11th Hour Racing set out to participate in the most grueling race on earth, sailing to the most remote places on earth, while bearing witness to global change and sharing the import message of protecting and restoring our oceans.

The team is intent on winning on and off the water; promoting renewable energy and ocean health, with a particular focus on reducing marine debris, and implementing a comprehensive sustainability plan for the sailing team.