Gentoo Sailing Team are pleased to announce a partnership with ocean charity Blue Marine Foundation. Blue Marine focuses on addressing overfishing, creating marine reserves, and restoring vital habitats. Its mission is to see 30 percent of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030.

Blue Marine’s logo is proudly displayed on the Gentoo IMOCA race yacht, and through this partnership Gentoo Sailing Team will be spreading the important message of ocean conservation as we sail around the world.

During this important Ocean Decade, collaboration and working together are key to reaching the United Nations target of protecting at least 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030. That’s why we are thrilled to be partnering with Gentoo Sailing Team, and to welcome its skipper, James Harayda, as a new Blue Marine Ambassador. By working together we can raise awareness of our vital work among the sailing community and further afield, as Gentoo sets sail around the world.” – Sara-Jane Skinner, Head of Partnerships at Blue Marine

To most people the ocean, specifically its importance and fragility, is essentially unknown. We want to use Gentoo Sailing Team to spread awareness and showcase its importance to the planet. Gentoo will be seen by millions of people over the next six years, and it is a pertinent and prominent means to convey the message of ocean conservation.

Both as Skipper of Gentoo and as a Blue Marine Ambassador, James will be a focal point in his sailing endeavours with the message that the ocean and whole “seascape” provide a significant share of the world's oxygen and can absorb more carbon than rainforests – therefore proper management and protection zones for the ocean are vital for sustainability and combating climate change. Blue Marine work on several very impactful projects to protect the ocean and are supported by many who love it – from the yachting, powerboat and superyacht communities to those who love surfing, diving, snorkelling and just swimming in the sea.

Gentoo Sailing Team plans to educate, innovate, and promote environmental initiatives that really matter. By working with new technologies and sustainable materials, Gentoo plans to sail the 2024 Vendée Globe completely carbon neutral. We also have our own youth development programme for 16-23 year olds, an initiative set up in 2022 with an aim of supporting and inspiring the next generation of sailors and ocean advocates.

James Harayda, skipper of Gentoo, has long been fascinated with the marine environment. Born and raised in Singapore, James spent much of his early years sailing with friends around the island, exploring tropical waterways and mangrove forests. Recently, James was appointed as Blue Marine’s newest Ambassador. He’ll be using his platform to spread the message of ocean conservation, particularly to the younger generation, as he sails around the world, completing various races in the lead up to his goal, the 2024 Vendée Globe as the youngest competitor in the race at just 25. 

“I'm really excited to be taking on this role as an ambassador for Blue Marine Foundation. The global projects that the team at Blue Marine are working on are crucial to the health of our ocean and planet. Much of their work does not only impact coastal areas, but also the most remote parts of the ocean, which I am fortunate enough to see and call my racetrack”, said James Harayda, skipper of Gentoo Sailing Team and Blue Marine Ambassador.

Having also recently become a member of the Blue Marine Yacht Club, a platform set up by Blue Marine in 2012 to unite the world's yachting community in defence of our oceans and which its,  supporters play an active role in ensuring our seas remain a resource to be enjoyed by future generations, Gentoo will become a floating science lab/data collector. We will be collecting data during our racing and training in areas such as; noise pollution, biodiversity, salinity, and water temperature. This will be utilised to develop a better understanding of our environment and help develop future strategies to combat climate change and other environmental threats. 
The Gentoo team will get involved over the coming years with Blue Marine projects, volunteering and helping to promote their vital work.

James has already started playing an active role to support Blue Marine initiatives on projects including the Solent Oyster Restoration project and more recently the Blue Oceans Global Clean Up run by Blue Marine’s partners Burgess Yachts. These projects play a key role in bringing communities together. Gentoo Sailing Team hopes to further this education and awareness in schools and throughout communities around the world.

“We want to help encourage communities to support impactful projects, such as rewilding marine habitats, and help educate them on the importance of Marine Protected Areas.” - James Harayda.

In addition, Gentoo Sailing Team hopes to act as a conduit to encourage fundraising to further enable Blue Marine to activate these important initiatives.

© Photo: James Tomlinson

The Vendée Globe is renowned for being the toughest sporting challenge on the planet and is a lifelong dream of Harayda’s. A solo, non-stop, and unassisted race around the world. It is, however, much more than just a yacht race; it’s about human endeavour and is where the environment, adventure, technology, and sport intersect.

Source : Gentoo Sailing Team