Spread your sails, race around the world and turn the tide on plastic: Volvo ocean race environmental team
On Sunday 24th (June, last weekend) , after 9months at sea, the Volvo ocean race came to an end, with arrival in Den Haag.
Quickly, for those interested but are not avid sailors, The Volvo race is a 45000nautical mile race around the world, consisting of 11 legs, where boats get points according to finishing positions of each leg. It is pretty intense, with 24 hours a day sailing in some pretty treacherous conditions, and this makes it one of the top 3 sailing competitions.
Those of you who know me, know that I am passionate about sailing and super happy about boats, so I am happy to say that I was lucky enough to go to the finish line to watch it happen. While I had some issues with the rigidity of the organisation of the event itself (perhaps more to do with the Dutch way than the Volvo itself..). But I won’t divulge too much on the winners, or the ceremony, or the sailing itself. But I will tell you how this year race contributed to raise environmental awareness and particular about two interesting teams, which not only endured this long race around the world but also actively contributed to marine conservation.
Firstly, this year race website features a sustainability page. Check it out here.
They are being careful reducing their footprint on ocean villages at host cities, by reducing plastic, monitoring energy, sourcing sustainable food..and provided a very interesting guide on how to turn the tide on plastic at sporting events (downloadable here), nice idea! For example, they had eco plaza sponsoring their plastic free aisle (at the moment only in their Amsterdam store, hopefully more to come), had plastic cups made from plant plastic etc...
They also aim to leave a legacy with their science project.
From their website “ Over the course of the 45,000 nautical mile (83,000 km) route, the teams will gather meteorological and oceanographic data as they race through parts of the globe that are often inaccessible to the world’s climate scientists.
The Science Programme is being made possible thanks to the support of Volvo Cars, Kiel Cluster of Excellence - The Future Ocean, our sustainability partners and a scientific consortium including NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), JCOMMOPS (UNESCO-IOC), GEOMAR and SubCtech.It is comprised of three elements:
Firstly, all of the racing yachts will send 36 data points back to race control every 10 seconds including temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction. This data will be passed on to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts. Where it will contribute to more accurate weather forecasts and climate models.
Secondly, during the four most isolated legs in the race, all seven yachts will carry scientific-drifter buoys equipped with satellite communications equipment to transmit information on ocean composition and currents.
Finally, the Turn the Tide on Plastic team skippered by Dee Caffari, and up to two other boats, will carry instruments onboard to test salinity, dissolved CO2 and Chlorophyll-a (algae) directly in the sea water around them.
These key metrics for ocean health will be logged in addition to test trials for microplastics in order to create a complete snapshot of the world’s oceans.”
Two teams in particular, turn the tide on plastic and vestas aimed to bring environmental awareness to the race.
Both had very informative stands at the ocean village in den Haag and am assuming has similar sort of stands in the other 11 cities where the race has stopped in the last 9 months.
All in all I think more sporty events can learn from this! Looking forward to see more awareness for our surroundings and environment without which we wouldn’t have a ground to do our sports (no sailing without winds, no surf without waves, no canoeing without lakes and rivers, no skiing without snow...)
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