World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award Finalists Announced

World Sailing

The four finalists for this year’s World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award have been announced. Held annually, the award celebrates the delivery of high-impact, replicable sustainability within the maritime industry, aligned to World Sailing’s Sustainability Agenda 2030.

The nominees are the following organizations:

  • Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation (South Africa)
  • Foiling SuMoth Challenge (Italy)
  • International Optimist Dinghy Association (Global)
  • Northern Light Srl (Italy)

Each innovative project represents varying efforts to make a difference around the world and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Keep reading to learn about each organization, and vote for the winner before the December 2, 2021 deadline.

Vote for the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award and the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award!

“The four finalists for the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award represent the incredible breadth of 2021 applicants,” said Todd McGuire, managing director, 11th Hour Racing. “I am enthusiastic to see the variety of sustainability initiatives from working to increase diversity in sailing to removing the barriers to entry for the sport along with classes, design initiatives, and research and development working towards a circular economy.”

The initial judging phase of the 2021 World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award was conducted by an expert panel of World Sailing officials, 11th Hour Racing staff, and sustainability experts. 

The winner will be announced at the virtual World Sailing Awards ceremony on Thursday 2 December 2021 and will receive a prize of $10,000 USD to fund their continued sustainability efforts along with the iconic trophy which is made from recycled carbon fibre from an America’s Cup boat and infused with bio-resin.

Meet the Finalists

Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation

In 2008, sailing in Durban was dominated by elite white males. The Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation set out to change this by growing the number of sailors from across South Africa’s diverse ethnic groups – this has been successful with several sailors having been youth captains at yacht clubs, sailed the two-handed Nastro Rosa Tour, been sailor of the year at different clubs and have received Provincial sailing colours. This earned the Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation the National Award “for changing the lives of fellow South Africans through sport” in 2016.

The Foundation has also focused on growing the number of girls from diverse groups through its school and University programs to empower and increase the number of girls racing and their local podium places. The Foundation coupled this with a life skills program to ensure positive sustainable outcomes. This program was profiled as a #SteeringTheCourse case study (2021). And supported the South African Government’s Blue Economy thrust, through quality maritime education programs linked to sailing. This has earned the Foundation the Ethekwini Maritime Cluster Award for Empowering Youth in 2017. The programs enhance sailing sustainability by raising awareness in non-sailors, including government, of the impact of sailing, bringing people into sailing that would never have had the opportunity and reducing inequality and ensuring social sustainability, while investing in human capital by developing education, reducing poverty and creating environmental awareness.

Foiling SuMoth Challenge

The SuMoth Challenge brings together students across the world in a competition to design, manufacture and sail a Sustainable Moth (IMCA). The ultimate goal of the SuMoth is to promote novel sustainable design and manufacturing techniques to the industrial ground. The students start from a blank page, allowing them to include sustainability in different aspects of the boat, from innovative design features, to material selection for its components and moulds, to the manufacturing processes and the end-of-life plans.

Unfamiliar with traditional Moths, the soon-to-be engineers are not constrained to follow the state-of-the-art manufacturing methods of foiling boats. Their innovative ideas will be the tipping actions from the traditional manufacturing methods towards more sustainable ones by putting the target into a negative CO2 emissions industrially. The three SuMoth challenge evaluations held since its foundation in 2019 allowed the teams to showcase their ideas, challenge the carbon-composites status-quo designs using bio-based alternative materials and manufacturing techniques that surprised the experts in the Jury.

To support the students coming from different backgrounds, an open-access ongoing series of technical masterclasses was developed with the most prominent academics, designers and builders around the world.

International Optimist Dinghy Association

In 2021, the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA), the largest youth sailing class in the world, introduced a new Program called ROPE (Recycled Optimist Parts and Equipment). IODA aims to promote sustainability and social responsibility with its ROPE program by engaging the sailors worldwide to recycle and re-use Optimist Parts and Equipment by sharing with their peers all around the World. The purpose of the program is to promote sustainability, the circular economy, and peer-to-peer support from sailors to sailors.

The program involves sailors bringing extra equipment to IODA Championships, so it can be collected, catalogued, and distributed to local sailing schools in need as well as to specific schools, clubs, and countries that are in dire need of this equipment, giving it a second life and good use.

The pilot project was successfully introduced at the 2021 Optimist North American Championships in Mexico, and again at the World Championships in Italy where numerous sails and other equipment were generously donated. The recipient at the Worlds was The Yacht Club of Hyderabad Foundation Program in India, that introduces young children from under privileged families to sailing in the Optimist Dinghy. Other sustainability initiatives of IODA include the recent introduction of a ‘Paperless Measurement System” and Mobile APP to completely eliminate the use of paper at IODA events. Last year IODA introduced a co-branded IODA version of the World Sailing Sustainability Education Programme to Members and Optimist sailors around the globe.

Northern Light Srl

After the launch of the first eco-dinghy in 2020, this year Northern Light Srl has presented the first recyclable sportboat in the world: ecoracer.

It is the first recyclable racing boat – 7.69 meters long and built with recyclable technology including thermoplastic resin, recyclable cores and natural fibres. The boat will be unveiled at Genoa Boat Show in September 2021.

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