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 second year, the London to Monaco bike ride kicked off on September 17, 2017 with dozens of amateur cyclists testing themselves on a 1,400km route ending in Monaco on September 26 to coincide with the Monaco Yacht Show. Organised by the Blue Marine Foundation to raise awareness and financial support for projects including a marine reserve in the Ascension Islands and introducing sustainable fishing in the Aeolian Islands, cyclists opted to either take part in one of four stages or complete the whole grueling route.
Cogs 4 Cancer
If you didn’t get your fill of cycling from London to Monaco then sign up for Cogs 4 Cancer - a 10-day ride from London to Antibes aimed at raising money for cancer charities across Europe. Founded by Ben Young, managing director of Superyacht Management, the event has raised over €900,000 since it began in 2013 and this year will see captains and engineers from yachts including Eos, Lionheart and Twizzle take part while the event has also garnered support from high profile figures including Rihanna, Roman Abramovich, Sylvester Stallone, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg.
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 Awards
Organised by Boat International Media in partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation, the Ocean Awards recognise and reward the effort put in by organisations and individuals around the world working to solve the crisis in our oceans. Nominations for this year’s five categories are now open with finalists announced in February 2018 and winners published in the June 2018 edition of Boat International. If you know of a charity, individual or programme anywhere in the world that deserves the recognition of this prestigious award submit a nomination here.
Riviera Water Bike Challenge
Taking place on June 4, 2017, the Riviera Water Bike Challenge saw ten teams race 21km from Beau Rivage beach in Nice 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 to transform the Monaco Milan World Expo 2015 pavilion into a hospitality, first aid and CPR training centre for Burkina Faso as well as building an aquatic rescue centre to train lifeguards and swim instructors. Each team featured one celebrity rider, including Paula Radcliffe, Nico Rosberg, David Coulthard and Princess Charlene herself, and while it may be too late to join in this year, it was so successful that we may well see a repeat performance in 2018.
Zurich to Monaco bike ride
Another to add to your diary for 2018, this year's Zurich to Monaco bike is the first event hosted by new ocean conservation body Switzerland for the Oceans. Founded at the Gstaad Yacht Club in August 2017, Switzerland for the Oceans hopes to raise CHF100,000 through the bike ride which began on September 17 and, like the London to Monaco cycle, will end in the yachting hotspot in September 26. Taking place over ten stages, the amateur cyclists are joined by 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and all money raised will 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.