06.07.2012 - Natural Sciences Sector

Race for Water sets sail for Brest

© Thierry-Martinez / MOD S.A.

When a small flotilla of identical world-class trimaran sailboats gather in New York Harbor under the Statue of Liberty today to compete in the Krys Oceans race, one of these elite crafts, christened Race for Water, will also launch another pursuit -- a global awareness platform in partnership with UNESCO to help protect the world’s most precious resource: water.

The Multi One Attitude Foundation (MOAF), a charitable organisation that aims to use sailing as a means for education and awareness of key water sustainability issues, has joined with UNESCO, to promote a shared mission to raise public understanding of the urgent need to preserve and protect our ocean and fresh water.

Departing days after the USA’s Independence Day, the destination of this transatlantic race is Brest, France at the tip of Brittany and the estimated date of arrival is Bastille Day, 14 July. Brest is the site of the 2012 European capital of sea and maritime activities and host of the 20th Les Tonnerres de Brest festival that includes more than seven kilometres of quays showcasing an extraordinary range of boats.

En route from Europe to the New World to compete, renowned Swiss navigator Steve Ravussin, skipper of Race for Water released a subsurface profiling float, part of the international Argo programme of oceans floats,  implemented under the auspices of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) which measures the temperature and the salinity of the global ocean in real time.

The IOC is delighted to join the international sailing community to raise awareness and encourage action to conserve the world’s ocean and freshwater resources,” says Wendy Watson-Wright, the Assistant Director-General in charge of it. “Sport is an excellent means to convey this message, and we are proud to be partners of the Multi One Attitude Foundation in the Race for Water.

The Swiss-based Multi One Attitude Foundation is the philanthropy arm of the Multi One Design SA – the company that manages the MOD70 trimaran race circuit. A trimaran is a multi-hulled boat consisting of main hull and two smaller, outrigger hulls, a design derived from ocean vessels first crafted by native Pacific Islanders. MOD70 is the only race circuit centered on completely identical oceanic multihulls: the concept is for everyone to race on an equal footing on the ocean planet.

Following the stop in Brest, the race is scheduled to continue in September with stops in Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and France and then continue to others port in the Pacific.

In each port-of-call on the race circuit, MOAF will mount a pavilion that will be a platform dedicated to raising public awareness about water conservation. Part of the Water Pavilion is dedicated to a special programming for children, with a teaching area and the hosting of educational and recreational workshops. Another area is for associations, partners and businesses proposing projects linked to water conservation. The aim of the pavilion is to create a global vision of the challenges represented by the pollution of oceans and the lack of freshwater.

UNESCO bring its expertise and scientific content to bear on issues related to water through its International Hydrological Programme and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

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