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With a few weeks to go before the start of the New York – Vendee (Les Sables d’Olonne) transatlantic race, IMOCA Ocean Masters is pleased to unveil a new co-branded race logo with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO). The partnership is founded on a shared interest in better understanding the effects of the ocean on the overall health of our planet. The New York-Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne) is a unique opportunity to promote this strategic partnership internationally and the development of this co-branded logo confirms IMOCA Ocean Masters support of IOC-UNESCO’s objectives.

In December 2015, along COP21 events, IOC-UNESCO and IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship confirmed a formal partnership with the aim to gather climate data in remote oceans, and particularly in the Southern Ocean.
The ultimate goal of this partnership is to test new sub-surface micro profiling floats, (ALAMO floats equipped with Seabird and RBR CTDs technologies, designed and manufactured by MRV Systems in USA) which IMOCA Ocean Masters skippers would be able to deploy during the round-the-world races, including the Vendée Globe. Adding to a global network of almost 4,000 drifting Argo floats, the new technology will allow scientists to record data including salinity, pressure and temperature, at multiple depths down to 1,200 meters. Their compact design allows for a more practical deployment method, critically required on sailing yachts. These data, crucial for the scientific research, will allow contributing to the prediction of the earth’s climate evolution and to the better understanding of the ocean-climate interactions.
It is believed that the Southern Ocean not only represents Eldorado for world class offshore sailors, it also plays an essential role in global warming. Acting like a giant lung, the Southern Ocean absorbs vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2), heat and freshwater, playing a key role in regulating the earth’s climate.

Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of the IOC-UNESCO commented during the signature of the cooperation letter:
“The implementation of a sustained and balanced observing system in the Southern Ocean is an objective which seemed not too long ago almost unachievable. Research cruises cannot be established frequently enough, and we were lacking opportunities to deploy autonomous instruments or gather data from volunteer vessels, simply because there are no regular shipping lines. Contributions from the IMOCA racing yachts will help us filling up gaps in areas of highest importance for climate research, and without carbon emission. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO is delighted to coordinate these operations, in particular through its field office JCOMMOPS.”

Mathieu Belbeoch, Head of the joint IOC-WMO Observations Programme Support centre in Brest/France commented: ”This ambitious cooperation between oceanographers and skippers, tested successfully during the Barcelona World Race 2014, is a new step forward to optimize and modernize the global ocean observing system elements. JCOMMOPS is proud to foster such cooperation with civil society and sailing world, and to enable scientific, operational, promotional and educational outcomes. IMOCA Ocean Masters skippers will be our ambassadors to highlight the importance of ocean observations. We thank them to take up the challenge to release robotic instruments within a racing context and extreme environment, and look forward together with IMOCA60 Class partners to build up a solid and sustained cooperation.”

Jean Kerhoas, Chairman of the IMOCA60 Class commented: “We are tremendously excited to kick off our partnership with IOC-UNESCO with co-branded race logos on the mainsails of all IMOCA60s competing in the New York-Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne) race. The ocean is our field of play and we are fully committed with IOC-UNESCO to doing our bit to help the world’s leading scientist understand them better. Together with OSM, we look forward to making further announcements around this partnership over the coming months.”

The official website of the IMOCA Ocean Masters New York-Vendée (Les Sables d’Olonne) race is live! !


Find out more about the race, the skippers, weather analysis, photos and videos, and take on the Virtual Regatta challenge!


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