SailGP launches Race for the Future

SailGP has announced its intention to accelerate change to a cleaner and more inclusive future via a newly launched initiative: Race for the Future.

It aims to deliver actions and innovations that advance the global adoption of clean energy while setting a new standard as the first climate positive sports and entertainment property. All this as it’s working to progress gender and racial inclusivity.

Having postponed its second season events due to the pandemic, SailGP is building on the foundations set in year one when it launched a gender-balanced youth and community outreach program – SailGP Inspire – and set the initial goal of winning the race to zero carbon.

“Sustainable development is paramount to the world’s future, and through SailGP, we have a unique platform to accelerate change,” says SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts. “Race for the Future takes us from intention to action, with a real ability to effect environmental and social transformation within and outside of the sport.

“Having a zero-carbon footprint and a diverse staff is not enough; we’ve challenged ourselves to think bigger and broader. These issues go beyond SailGP, beyond the sport and beyond the industry, and we will strongly advocate for the critical adoption of clean energy, while serving as champions of inclusivity.”

To be climate positive, SailGP says it will both drastically reduce its carbon output and invest in projects to eliminate more than the remaining emissions, ultimately creating an environmental benefit.

The organisation will track and verify its carbon emissions through a partnership with One Carbon World, a global resource partner of the UN Climate Neutral Now Initiative.

Three primary activity areas – on the water, onshore and in cities – have been identified to reduce the league’s carbon footprint.

The remaining carbon that cannot be eliminated will be offset through One Carbon World and via the advancement of blue carbon projects, helping to maintain or restore critical carbon-sequestering shoreline ecosystems around the world. Blue carbon projects will be delivered through a partnership with Worldview International Foundation, starting with planting mangroves to contribute to the charity’s ambitious goal of planting a billion trees and mitigating 500 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.

A key project to ensure both the race and support boats are powered by nature is reducing the carbon impact of the support boats – so the plan is to transition 11 boats to ePropulsion motors for the start of Season 2.

SailGP has also partnered with Evoy (high-output electric propulsion systems) to find a solution for the electrification of the league’s high-speed chase boats. Through a ‘pilot partnership,’ an initial boat will be upgraded to test at the first European event in Season 2 and, if successful, a plan will be implemented to transition the remainder of the boats to electric engines.

The overall goal is to have a fully electric support boat fleet by 2025 – removing the equivalent of 175 cars from the road – and helping to lead a clean energy revolution in the marine industry.

Onshore in Season 1, a mobile off-grid solar solution was used to recharge the race boats batteries (used for electronics) and this will be expanded to power additional elements of its technical boat operations, including the electric outboard motors that will be used by the support boat fleet.

Another key onshore project is looking at the circularity in the production of the race boats. A partnership with ELG Carbon Fibre – the world’s first carbon fibre recovery plant based in the UK – will allow waste carbon fibre from the F50s to be recycled and reintroduced into the manufacturing process for the evolution of the race boat in future seasons.

“SailGP’s global platform is a massive opportunity to accelerate change and shine the light on key issues facing our environment,” says New Zealand SailGP Team co-CEO Blair Tuke. “Our partner Live Ocean will help raise awareness for the protection and restoration of our oceans, which are one of our best defences against climate change. It’s really exciting that as a league we can bring focus on the urgent need for change using Race for the Future.”

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