​Clipper Race Talks Ocean Health at Boot Düsseldorf

23 January 2020

The Clipper 2019-20 Race has brought its important and innovative research collaborations to the forefront at boot Düsseldorf, the world’s biggest boat show.

The Clipper Race has been deploying a series of drifter buoys which float on the ocean’s surface and underneath have a canvas tube, called a drogue, that travels with the surface layer of water and sends back its GPS position, barometric pressure and sea surface temperature.

The project is in collaboration with UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology in situ Observations Programme Support Centre (JCOMMOPs), and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

Image: Clipper Race Director Alex Smith and Chief Scientist and Chair of UNESCO-IOC/WMO,Toste Tanhua

Clipper Race Commercial Director Alex Smith was joined by Toste Tanhua, Chief Scientist and Chair of UNESCO-IOC/WMO, on boot Düsseldorf’s Sailing Stage to discuss the data collection project which aims to monitor climate change and the impact it is having on the ocean.

Speaking after the event, which looked at the importance of the study and the significant impact it will have in the future, Toste said: “The ocean is vast and and as a key driver of the planets climate and weather it is essential to monitor the state of the ocean to support climate and weather understanding and predictions. These observations range from ocean temperature to weather.

“The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is an ideal platform to make on-board observations and to deploy oceanographic instruments en route. Such data will be of great value for science and operational services."

Image: A drifter buoy being deployed from Ha Long Bay Viet Nam

This citizen-science driven project has empowered Clipper Race Crew from all walks of life to contribute to important global scientific research. Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) drifter buoys were put aboard four Clipper Race yachts in Cape Town and were successfully deployed by Unicef, Seattle, WTC Logistics and GoToBermuda during the Southern Ocean crossing. A further four buoys were deployed during the Australian Coast-to-Coast Leg, from Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam, Seattle, Zhuhai, Qingdao, as the teams raced from Fremantle to The Whitsundays.

Image: Find the Clipper Race Stand in Hall 15, B24 at boot Dusseldorf 2020

Gathered data will be used in two ways; to instantly generate significantly improved accuracy in weather modelling at Earth’s most remote latitudes and to generate data for long-term climate studies.

Clipper Race Commercial Director Alex Smith added: “We wanted to find a way to bring sustainability closer to our Race Crew and a more tangible part of their Clipper Race experience.

“Civil science is an increasingly important part of the scientific research space and the idea behind it fit so brilliantly with the values of the race and the global community that make up the crew. Collaborating with Global Ocean Observing Scheme and JCOMMOPs has provided the opportunity to the crew to help contribute valuable data to weather forecasting and climate science research.”

The Clipper Race is a 41,165 nautical mile circumnavigation which takes eleven months to complete. Crew can choose to race around the world or take part in one of more of the eight individual stages with the global route. The Clipper 2019-20 Race has just departed Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, Australia, to embark on Leg 5 and the eleven teams are heading for the next port of call in Sanya, China.

Image: Hamble School of Yachting is sharing the Clipper Ventures stand.

Clipper Ventures, the parent company of Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and Hamble School of Yachting, is exhibiting at boot Düsseldorf for the second consecutive year. You can find them both in Hall 15 stand B24.

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