Offshore racing is a sport that compromises with the elements and upon oceansthat represent a precious and threatened playground. Professionals of the sea are the first witnesses of the global impact of mankind on this fragile environment.
Although propelled by the wind, sailing yachts such as IMOCA monohulls have a significant environmental impact linked to their construction, the organisation of events in which they participate and the management of their end-of-life. It is one thing to note this, but it is now time to take action.
The purpose of the IMOCA and its members' approach is to act with both humility and determination in order to minimize our impact within our industry and to broadcast cautionary and positive messages to our global audience.
The objective is to put together an extensive programme, proposing practical and achievable actions and involving as many protagonists as possible, beyond the ocean racing environment.
We hope that skippers, teams, suppliers, events and partners can take ownership of some of the proposed actions and that everyone can become an ambassador for the programme.
FOUR AREAS OF WORK
The IMOCA is a think tank geared towards limiting the global footprint of the sector with the aim of designing boats that do not use fossil fuels and integrating bio-composite materials by 2024.
Use all the possible means of communication to broaden the spectrum of awareness and inspire as many people as possible to take action to protect our environment.
Events are key moments to share our messages and convey an image that respects our environment, in particular by helping to design responsible race villages.
Both skippers and events can contribute to the preservation and understanding of the oceans by collecting data and exchanging observations with marine experts.
To reverse the trend by 2030, the United Nations has established an agenda, illustrated by 17 Sustainable Development Goals corresponding to universal objectives. The latter provide a common basis that allows organisations adopting a sustainable development approach to illustrate their objectives and ambitions with the same references.
Our programme proposes actions in four areas varying long-term objectives and deadlines stretching through to the Vendée Globe 2024. We have decided to integrate these objectives into our approach and make sure our programme is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, by selecting the objectives that correspond with our actions.
A COLLABORATIVE MOVEMENT
The IMOCA Class and its members work together to think, understand and act.
Founding of a sustainable development committee within the Class with a specialized commissionwhose objective is to pool knowledge and define the voices of evolution within IMOCA activities (constructions, life cycles, practices within teams, life of events, messages, etc.). A charter is currently under construction thanks to the support of WWF.
Evolution of rules and measurements: the IMOCA Class regularly submits to the vote of its members all the rules governing the design of the boats as well as their operation and the competition program. These rules are established by the various commissions existing within the Class (sporting, technical, sustainable development). This shared responsibility leads the actors to propose rules that will lead to a better sustainable performance.
Advancing science at sea: several IMOCA skippers use on board and/or deploy instruments at sea during the races to collect meteorological and oceanographic data in areas where monitoring is complicated for scientists (little frequented areas, outside the main trade routes): pressure, salinity, temperature, speed and direction of currents. This long-term project is carried out in collaboration with IOC-UNESCO and JCOMMOPS.
Sharing the knowledge of plankton in our Ocean: with the association Plankton Planet, some skippers are testing at sea an instrument called a 'planktonscope' to collect plankton in the different zones crossed by the boats and thus help scientists to map and better understand the plankton.
The IMOCA Class plays a role in amplifying the initiatives of the skippers in their mobilization for a more sustainable environment. Committed to working alongside associations leading actions in favor of a healthier oceans or better living together, IMOCA skippers are keen to use their voice and image to advance the causes. Find the ambassadors here.
Working with race organizers on the implementation of concrete actions to limit the impact of events and develop public awareness (The Ocean Race Summits series, XXL exhibition in the Vendée Globe village, No Plastic Challenge in the Transat Jacques Vabre).
In July 2020, the IMOCA Class organized, with the event company Sea to See, the Vendée-Arctique-Les Sables d'Olonne, the last single-handed offshore race before the Vendée Globe. In the context of COVID-19, the format of the event has been totally rethought to ensure the good health of the racers, organizers and the public. The race chose to support the Institut Pasteur via an appeal for donations, visibility on the boats and the sharing of video testimonials from researchers on their mission and the parallels with ocean racing.
The Give Box: the "re-userie" of ocean racing - an operation conducted in collaboration with Audelor (economic development agency of the Pays de Lorient Bretagne Sud) with the aim of encouraging the exchange of equipment between ocean racing professionals and thus reducing waste.
In order to move forward hand in hand with institutions and federations and to build a long-term program that acts in depth, the IMOCA Class supports and relays the actions of World Sailing and the French Sailing Federation.
Signature of the "Sports for Climate Change" commitment letter, which brings together sports institutions and organizations that are taking steps to limit the impact of their activities.
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