Gentoo Sailing Team to Conduct World-Leading Ocean Research

The University of Portsmouth is partnering with Gosport-based ocean sailing team, Gentoo Sailing Team, to help protect our planet’s marine ecosystems.

The University is supporting James Harayda, Skipper and Team Principal, in his bid to compete as the youngest international sailor in the world’s biggest and toughest ocean race, the Vendee Globe, a single-handed (solo) non-stop round the world yacht race.

The skipper will be competing in the 2024 edition of the round the world race (with the aim of winning the 2028 race and being the first Briton to do so) which will start and finish in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France.

University researchers will use his yacht, Gentoo, as a platform to conduct world-leading global marine research to help measure the challenges faced by the world’s oceans, such as climate change, pollution and disappearing biodiversity. The partnership will also raise awareness with the general public and within schools internationally.

The partnership contributes to the UN Ocean Decade of Science for Sustainable Development led by the UNESCO-IOC (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission) to advance global ocean science, foster sustainable development and protect marine ecosystems through collaborative research and innovation.

Commenting on his own motivation, 26 year old double British Champion, James Harayda said: “The oceans are not only my racetrack but also the lifeline of our planet’s health. It’s crucial that we, as a population, begin to take the protection and management of our world’s oceans more seriously. I am extremely proud to be using Gentoo Sailing Team as a platform to not only raise awareness and inspire the next generation of ocean advocates, but to collect invaluable data to help inform policy makers and drive positive change to our oceans.

“Gentoo is an IMOCA class racing yacht, a Formula One car on the high seas, so to accommodate the equipment and research tasks within my 24/7 working day will be a challenge, but one that I am delighted to take on.”

Professor Alex Ford, Deputy Director of the Centre for Blue Governance, said: “We will conduct world-leading oceanographic research to understand and inform international decision-making to address the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

“This project is the latest one of several we have been fortunate to work on involving oceanographic races. These provide unique opportunities to sample in global locations and in ways not undertaken before and help us better understand our planet and the impacts we humans have on our environment.”


More news from All At Sea