With just under one month until the start of the Volvo Ocean Race, the seven teams are working around the clock to ensure they're in the best possible shape for a round-the-world marathon.
But it's not all about training on the Volvo Ocean 65. For Vestas 11th Hour Racing, the 2017-18 edition is about winning on the water, but also their mission to become the most environmentally sustainable team to have ever competed in the 44-year-old race.
This week, the Vestas 11th Hour Racing sailors visited the University of Cambridge – one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centres – and the British Antarctic Survey, where they were given the opportunity to learn more about global environmental challenges related to ocean health and climate change, and even hold some 800,000 year old ice!
At the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), the team explored the opportunities for leadership in sustainability and reversing the trend of marine degradation through individual and systemic change.
The education today at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership has given the team a stronger understanding of how a sports team can ignite change around the worldCharlie Enright
Team members discussed how their role as sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race empowers them to become spokespersons for the ocean; by examining how to communicate on sustainability and leverage their influence to create behavior change. The training and targeted education also helped increase the individuals’ understanding and confidence as lifelong ambassadors for the ocean.
"Sailing around the world is a privilege," said skipper Charlie Enright. "I’ve done it once and I look forward to doing it again with a team dedicated to protecting the planet.
“When out at sea, the contrast of encountering beautiful wildlife one day and plastic pollution the next is truly an eye-opening experience. With that knowledge comes a deep sense of responsibility and the education today at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership has given the team a stronger understanding of how a sports team can ignite change around the world.”
Additionally, team members were delighted to have the opportunity to engage with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and view ice cores gathered on various expeditions. These are the oldest continuous ice cores on record, dating back 123,000 years in Greenland and 800,000 years in Antarctica.
Ice cores contain information about past temperature and past concentration of atmospheric gasses along with many other aspects of the environment – crucial for scientists working to deeper understand climate change.
This event offered an incredible opportunity to bring together Vestas 11th Hour Racing and some of the team partners – Musto, Bluewater, as well as co-title sponsors Vestas and 11th Hour Racing – to learn about the most recent science on climate change and focus on a goal-oriented action plan.
The teams are currently in a mandatory Assembly Period, which sees all boats out of the water for a final tune-up in Lisbon until 30 September. On 8 October, the non-scoring Prologue stage from Lisbon to Alicante will begin, before the Alicante Race Village opens on 11 October.