Please select your home edition
Edition
Doyle Sails 2020 - Cruising Confidence 728x90 TOP

Lifting the lid on boat build impacts: New case study & material life cycle analysis of IMOCA class

by 11th Hour Racing Team 18 Feb 13:01 PST
New case study and material life cycle analysis of IMOCA class race yacht © Lou-K√©vin Roquais / 11th Hour Racing

A dramatic rise in the carbon footprint of the build of a performance race boat has been unveiled in the Sustainable Design and Build Report from US-based offshore sailing outfit 11th Hour Racing Team, leading to a call to action for the marine industry to align with the Paris Agreement.

Data from the build of the brand new 60-foot race boat, Malama, has revealed a 60% increase in the build's greenhouse gas emissions from a previously measured 340 tons [Kairos 2010 - LCA of an IMOCA 60] to 550 tons. This footprint is the equivalent of 1.4 million miles [2.2 million kilometers] driven by an average passenger vehicle - 55 times around the equator.

The Team is sharing these findings with the wider marine industry to bring together boat builders, designers, suppliers and partners to commit to reducing by 50% the industry's footprint by 2030.

Damian Foxall, Sustainability Manager at 11th Hour Racing Team, explained why there was such a significant increase in the carbon footprint: "Over the past ten years, there has been amazing progress in on-water performance in our Class, but this has come at a high price. Since 2010, the footprint of an IMOCA has increased by almost two-thirds, and is on course to double in the next few years. This is an overall trend we see in pretty much any industry driven by performance: we have accelerated too fast in the wrong direction, and put performance ahead of responsibility.

"But this challenge is also our opportunity," continued Foxall. "Innovation is at the very heart of our DNA in this industry. We need a paradigm shift that places sustainability alongside performance within our Class and race rules, and allows our designers and technicians to make good decisions."

Team CEO Mark Towill explained how the build program had been structured, with the Team based in the heart of the offshore sailing world, in Brittany, France: "By working from the inside of the industry, alongside the suppliers, the rule makers, the designers, and the builders, we have used our influence, and ultimately our dollars, to be proactively reviewing the way performance boats are built.

"We've been pressing for change to the normal way of doing things, innovating and funding new solutions, and asking the question of 'Why does it have to be done that way?' while at the same time sharing openly our learnings and recommendations for change," he concluded.

A critical part of the report's research was to understand where the emissions arise. This is often easier said than done, as Amy Munro, Sustainability Officer at 11th Hour Racing Team, explained: "Building a race boat is a complex process involving a huge number of stakeholders and components. This is why we have meticulously measured the impact of every step in the design and build process of our new boat and conducted a full life cycle analysis which helped us to uncover underlying issues. We were then able to address some of these during the build, and also found opportunities and solutions to reduce the overall impact."

11th Hour Racing Team will be joining a series of workshops, organized by the IMOCA Class, to bring together the performance marine industry to collaborate and learn how to implement strategies to reduce the footprint of new builds. With an unprecedented number of IMOCA boats under construction and boat yards booked up years in advance, a growing number of teams are calling for a shift in the policy around the class rules for performance yachting:

  • Sustainability to be placed as a key criterion within Class and race rules to define how boats are designed and built.
  • Minimum standards to be established on sourcing, energy, waste, and resource circularity.
  • Use of less impactful alternative materials such as recycled carbon, flax and bio-resins.
  • A threshold established for carbon emissions based on LCA data.
  • Setting of an internal price for carbon emissions.

The Team has also drafted a series of recommendations for future IMOCA Class boat builds across energy management, materials resources, the supply chain and waste management.

After more than 18 months in the build shed, the roll-out of Malama in September 2021 was a seminal moment for the entire team. CEO Towill explained: "Malama has become a pilot project for sustainable innovations, and there are many areas of the build where we would have liked to push even further in this space. However, one key learning of this process was the timeline constraints associated with implementing these innovations, such as the use of alternative materials. There are significant lead times associated with the research, development and testing of alternative materials in order to have proven solutions that are to the same structural and safety standards of what's currently being used in new boat builds. Our aim is that this report provides insight into the barriers and opportunities for innovation to be more broadly incorporated going forward," he concluded.

Download the report here

Related Articles

Newport Bermuda Race: "A wild ride"
Elena Hight and Ian Walsh on11th Hour Racing Team cross the finish line At 06:48 EDT, 11th Hour Racing Team crossed the finish line of the 2022 Newport Bermuda Race after a grueling 41 hours and 28 minutes 43 seconds at sea. Posted on 19 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team starts Newport Bermuda Race
Starting at 1320 EST, the only entry in the Open Division At 1320 EST, 11th Hour Racing Team crossed the start line for the 52nd edition of the Newport Bermuda Race. Posted on 17 Jun
Under the Hull now available on YouTube
Brand new 11th Hour Racing Team documentary Under the Hull is now available on YouTube Premiere, allowing viewers to enjoy the first showing of the feature length documentary from anywhere in the world. Posted on 16 Jun
Elena Hight & Ian Walsh join 11th Hour Racing Team
For the 635-nautical mile Newport Bermuda Race Extreme sports icons Elena Hight (USA) and Ian Walsh (USA) will join 11th Hour Racing Team for the 635-nautical mile (730-mile or 1,022-kilometer) dash from Newport, Rhode Island, down to the North Atlantic island of Bermuda, departing on June 17. Posted on 16 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team to release TJV documentary
Under the Hull will be a feature length documentary 11th Hour Racing Team will release Under the Hull a feature length documentary following the offshore sailing team as they take on the infamous French race, the Transat Jacques Vabre Posted on 10 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team arrive in Newport, RI
Signifying the first visit of the new IMOCA race boat Malama to the USA The new IMOCA race boat Malama arrived in its home port of Newport, Rhode Island, this evening at sundown following a successful 10 day transatlantic training run from Concarneau, France. Posted on 7 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team work with EMG
Teaming up with Environmental Monitoring Group for clean water in Cape Town 11th Hour Racing Team to support South African NGO Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) as part of the Team's legacy grantee program during The Ocean Race 2022-23. Posted on 31 May
Celebrate our Blue Planet at #OceanHour Week
Immerse yourself in the culture of professional sailing with 11th Hour Racing 11th Hour Racing will host a free week-long, ocean-themed initiative in Newport, R.I., from June 12 to 18, to celebrate 11th Hour Racing Team's return to Narragansett Bay, the organization announced today. Posted on 29 May
11th Hour Racing Team sets sail for Newport
Skipper Charlie Enright joined by newcomer to the team Francesca Clapcich Professional offshore sailing outfit, 11th Hour Racing Team, has set off for its first major ocean crossing in its new IMOCA race boat - Malama. Posted on 27 May
11th Hour Racing Team and Save The Med partner up
Dedicated to the regeneration of the marine ecosystem in Mallorca's Formentor area 11th Hour Racing Team and Save The Med Foundation have launched an innovative partnership dedicated to the regeneration of the marine ecosystem in Mallorca's Formentor area. Posted on 5 Apr
Marine Resources 2022 - FOOTERJ Composites 2022 - J99 FOOTERVaikobi 2021 Boots - FOOTER