Please select your home edition
Doyle Sails 2020 - Pure Brilliance 728x90 TOP

How The Ocean Race 2022-23 drove action to protect the seas

by The Ocean Race 18 Jul 07:03 PDT
The Ocean Race 2022-23 - 4 March 2023, Leg 2, Day 6 onboard GUYOT environnement - Team Europe. View of the african coast as they get closer to Cape Town © Charles Drapeau / GUYOT environnement - Team Europe / The Ocean Race

The Ocean Race 2022-23 featured the most ambitious sustainability programme in the Race's 50 year history, including initiatives that were firsts in the event industry and sports' world, from efforts to influence global ocean policy to pioneering ways to reduce plastic on site.

  • The Race featured the most comprehensive science programme created by a sporting event, with more than 4 million pieces of ocean data collected
  • Support for Ocean Rights was gathered throughout the world, from heads of state to race fans
  • 30,000 school children learnt about ocean health in the Race's host cities
  • The event was Climate Positive, with emissions reduced by over 75% compared with the previous edition

Driving support for the recognition of the ocean's rights was a central theme of the round-the-world sailing Race. Through The Ocean Race Summits policy-makers, scientists, business leaders, athletes, youth and ocean advocates gathered to advance solutions to protect the seas. Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, Ulisses Correia e Silva, First Lady of Panama, Débora Carvalho and Secretary of the Indigenous People Ministry of Brazil, Eunice Kerexu, were among the speakers who voiced their support for ocean rights, along with 30,000 people who signed the One Blue Voice petition for a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights. The petition, along with draft principles on ocean rights, which have been developed in tandem, will be presented to members of the UN General Assembly in September.

The Racing with Purpose sustainability programme, which was created in collaboration with 11th Hour Racing, also featured the most comprehensive science initiative created by a sporting event. The fleet - arguably the fastest 'research vessels' in the world - collected over four million measurements during the six-month race, many from remote parts of the planet where data is lacking. This information will feed into major reports about the ocean and climate.

There was a significant focus on slashing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), resulting in a reduction of over 75% compared with the previous edition1. More GHGs were drawn down through supporting blue carbon restoration and conservation programmes than were produced, making the event climate positive. Sailing teams, host cities, partners and suppliers were also engaged and supported to reduce their GHGs.

Meegan Jones, Senior Sustainability Advisor, The Ocean Race said: "Sport has the power to make a difference, and in this edition of the Race we have been able to inspire action for the ocean like never before. We set out not just to make our event as sustainable as possible, but also to use our unique platform to reach diverse audiences and champion the rights of the ocean. Along the way we have gained support from heads of state, helped thousands of children understand the crucial role that the ocean plays, provided valuable data to leading science organisations and pioneered new ways to host an event sustainably.

"There has also been an unprecedented spirit of collaboration during this edition of the Race. Our work wouldn't have been possible without the support of race teams, partners, and host cities. It has been the ultimate example of teamwork."

Key achievements of the Racing with Purpose sustainability programme during The Ocean Race 2022-23:

Science onboard

  • Over 4 million measurements were captured by sailing teams, in the most comprehensive science initiative in the sporting world
  • 15 different types of data were captured including sea surface temperature, dissolved carbon dioxide and microplastics, along with several new variables, such as oxygen levels and trace elements
  • Innovative methods were successfully trialled, including eDNA sampling to test ocean biodiversity
  • 14 autonomous drifting buoys were deployed in the southern hemisphere
  • 13 science organisations across the world are analysing the data, which feeds into crucial reports that inform critical decisions about global environmental policy
  • A new science platform for exploring the data launched:

Ocean rights

  • 30,000 people signed the One Blue Voice petition calling for a Universal Declaration of Ocean Rights
  • 108,500 people visited the One Blue Voice Immersive Experience in Ocean Live Park (the site in each host city where visitors got to experience the Race firsthand) to discover the race to protect the ocean

The Ocean Race Summits

  • 5 Summits focused on how recognising the ocean's rights could help to protect our blue planet were held on four continents
  • Speakers included UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, Freeride World Champion 2022, Jess Hotter and Josh Angulo, World windsurfing champion
  • 150 experts took part in the Genova Process - the initiative which is drafting principles underpinning ocean rights - the results of which will be presented to members of the United Nations General Assembly in September


  • 30,000 school children learnt about the importance of the ocean at Ocean Live Park
  • Over 10,000 people took part in Wisdom's Way in Ocean Live Park - the self-directed, family-friendly activity, centred around ocean health, ocean rights, science and the Race

Sustainable event

  • The Race was climate positive, drawing down more emissions than were produced, and organiser emissions were slashed by at least1 75% compared with the previous edition of the Race
  • The first circular flag2 in sport was flown at two of the stopovers. In a pioneering initiative aimed at reducing the amount of wasted branding at event sites, 30 kg of flags from The Ocean Race Europe were made into yarn and woven into new flags.
  • No single-use plastic was used in the food and drink service at Ocean Live Park, with a range of alternatives including reusable cup systems, returnable food containers, water refill points and compostable serviceware
  • The Race's plastic footprint was measured3, marking the first time any major sporting event has taken such efforts
  • ISO 20121 Event Sustainability Management System. The Ocean Race implemented the global standard in event sustainability management and was externally audited by World Sailing and certified by Bureau Veritas Italy

Todd McGuire, Managing Director at 11th Hour Racing, Premier Partner of The Ocean Race and Founding Partner of the Racing with Purpose sustainability programme said: "Through the Racing with Purpose program, The Ocean Race has created a blueprint for how global events can use their platform to leave a positive impact and legacy."

"Our involvement with The Ocean Race is about creating lasting and positive change — and the Racing with Purpose initiatives do exactly that. They enable other sports, teams, event organisers, and communities to utilise and learn from resources that have proven successful in helping restore planetary health."

Working with partners, teams and stakeholders was critical to the sustainability efforts. All of the sailors signed The Ocean Race Team Sustainability Charter, in a fleetwide commitment to sustainable operations and supporting a healthy ocean. Teams also brought their own sustainability campaigns to the Race to encourage action for the ocean and climate.

The nine cities that hosted the Race were also instrumental to the success, with many pioneering new sustainability initiatives. For example in Aarhus, Denmark, the main stage was powered by GEM, an installation that runs off energy created by wind,solar and hydrogen fuel cell energy, while in The Hague, Netherlands, the 800 meals a day for crew and volunteers were provided via a new reusable, returnable take out container service.


  1. This reduction applies to the event organiser-controlled emissions. Specific percentage of the emissions reduction will be available later this year once all data has been processed. Additionally, the report will include stakeholder GHG impacts and reductions.
  2. A circular supply chain is where used products or their parts are returned or processed so they can be repaired, resold, refurbished or recycled - which reduces waste from the supply chain and is more sustainable.
  3. A detailed report on The Ocean Race's plastic footprint will be available towards the end of 2023.

Related Articles

The Ocean Race and Cabo Verde team up
Signing a Memorandum of Understanding to protect and restore ocean health Following a successful stopover and hosting of The Ocean Race Summit in January 2023, Cabo Verde and The Ocean Race will focus on protecting and promoting ocean health through sport and science... Posted on 20 Sep
Call for recognition of inherent ocean rights
Made by The Ocean Race and global partners The Ocean Race, the Government of Cabo Verde and US-based Earth Law Center present principles to guide a new relationship with the ocean. Posted on 19 Sep
eDNA data collection in The Ocean Race
Scientists found a link between latitude and the abundance of ocean bacteria that break down plastic Environmental DNA, known as eDNA, one of the most cutting-edge ways to measure ocean health and biodiversity, was collected during The Ocean Race 2022-23 in a world first for racing boats. Posted on 16 Sep
Winner of the 2023 Magnus Olsson Prize announced
English navigator Simon 'SiFi' Fi won The Ocean Race with 11th Hour Racing Team The following is sent on behalf of the Magnus Olsson Memorial Foundation. Posted on 5 Aug
Growing number of cities express interest
In hosting The Ocean Race Europe 2025 Iconic cities across the European continent are expressing their interest in hosting the IMOCA fleet along The Ocean Race Europe route in 2025. Posted on 2 Aug
2023 Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy concludes
Record number of entries take to water A record number of entries across six sailing classes took to the water in Cascais, Portugal, for three days of racing over the weekend of 7-9 July. Posted on 10 Jul
The Ocean Race Grand Finale in Genova
Sunny skies, very light and shifty winds and enthusiastic crowds on shore Sunny skies, very light and shifty winds and enthusiastic crowds on shore and on the water were the order of the day as this six month, around the world odyssey came to a close. Posted on 1 Jul
11th Hour Racing first US The Ocean Race winner
With North Sails' cutting-edge sail innovations Global leader in sailmaking and performance clothing, North Sails, is proud to have again been the Official Sail Supplier at the Ocean Race 2022-23. The Ocean Race is the ultimate test of sailing prowess, covering 32,000 nautical miles over six months. Posted on 30 Jun
Record number of female sailors in The Ocean Race
More than in any of the previous events in the Race's 50 year history The Ocean Race 2022-23 featured more female sailors than in any of the previous events in the Race's 50 year history. Posted on 30 Jun
11th Hour Racing Team welcomed into Genova
Conquering heroes of The Ocean Race This one was a long time coming. Two days after the IMOCA fleet arrived in Genova, Italy, 11th Hour Racing Team arrived at the Grand Finale venue as worthy champions of The Ocean Race. Posted on 29 Jun
Cyclops Marine 2023 October - FOOTERSOUTHERN-SPARS-MISSY-FURLING-BOOMS-728-X-90 BottomRooster 2023 - FOOTER