Get involved: The yachting charity events to support this season
by Zoe Dickens
With the ever intensifying crisis of ocean plastic pollution and the recent devastation of Caribbean island nations due to Hurricane Irma, now more than ever the yachting community is coming together to raise awareness and funds for a myriad of worthy causes. From getting your cycling gear on to join to London to Monaco bike ride to nominating an ocean conservation organisation for the Ocean Awards, here’s how you can support some of the yachting charity events taking place this season.
London to Monaco bike ride
Now in its third year, the London to Monaco bike ride will kick off on September 19, 2018 with dozens of amateur cyclists testing themselves on a 1,400km route ending in Monaco on September 25 to coincide with the Monaco Yacht Show. Organised by the Blue Marine Foundation to raise awareness and financial support for projects including marine reserves in the Ascension Islands and the South Atlantic island of St Helena and introducing sustainable fishing in the Aeolian Islands, cyclists opt to either take part in one of four stages or complete the whole gruelling route with over £570,000 raised since its inauguration in 2016.
While not officially affiliated with the yachting industry Maserati's Paris-Modena charity bike ride does offer participants the chance to visit some of Europe's yachting hubs, such as Versilia, while raising money for children's charity Reves. Taking place from June 8-13, the invitation-only event is now in its fifth year and will see 35 cyclists cover 600 kilometres with €1 for every kilometre covered donated to the charity. As well as Versilia, participants will stop in Lyon, Alpe d'Huez, Turin, Alba and Montecatini Terme and this year will be joined by international sportspeople including cycling world champion Alessandro Ballan, alpine skier Manuela Moelgg and form F1 driver Paul Belmondo.
Volvo Ocean Race
Serious sailor looking for a philanthropic challenge? This year’s Volvo Ocean Race sees two teams taking part with marine causes at their heart and it’s not too late to put your name down. First up Vestas 11th Hour Racing will, as the name suggests be taking part in support of Wendy Schmidt’s 11th Hour Racing project - which engages sailors and the maritime industry in stewardship of the ocean - and is being led by American duo Charlie Enright and Mark Towill. Meanwhile, British skipper Dee Saffari will be heading up the Turn the Tide on Plastic team with support from the Mirpuri Foundation and Ocean Family Foundation. Throughout the eight month race, the team will be working to garner awareness for the UN’s Clean Seas: Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign while competing hard – watch them on their first competitive race day in the video above.
The Ocean Talks
Organised by Boat International Media in partnership with the Ocean Family Foundation, the inaugural Ocean Talks will take place in London on June 13, 2018. Hosted by Lady Georgina Ainslie, speakers from across the world's of yachting and ocean conservation will share their insights and experiences to help encourage wider conversation on how to best tackle the crisis in our oceans. Confirmed speakers include Espen Oeino, Lilly Barclay, co-founder of Being Human, and Marnix J Hoekstra and Bart M Bouwhuis of Vripack. To register your interest in attending click here.
Riviera Water Bike Challenge
Taking place on June 17, 2018, the Riviera Water Bike Challenge will see 15 teams race 20km from Pointe Ciappara to the Yacht Club de Monaco on Schiller S1-C water bikes. Organised by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, all funds raised by the sporting event and subsequent gala dinner will be used to support the foundation’s work encouraging children's passion for sport, teaching them to swim and educating young people about water safety. Each team will feature one celebrity rider, with this year's stars including Paula Radcliffe, Valterri Botas, Felipe Massa, David Coulthard and Princess Charlene herself.
Zurich to Monaco bike ride
While dates and details are yet to be announced, 2017's inaugural Zurich to Monaco bike ride proved to be such a success that it will be returning for a second year. Hosted by ocean conservation body Switzerland for the Oceans, which was founded at the Gstaad Yacht Club in August 2017, the initial event took place from September 17-26 and hoped to raise CHF100,000. Taking place over ten stages, the amateur cyclists were joined by 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and all money raised was donated to support monk seal conservation in the Augean region, the creation of an Aeolian Islands marine reserve and OceanCare's efforts to reduce ocean plastic pollution. Stay tuned for more information about 2018's cycle.