"Together we have the power to protect the oceans"

For all those who love the sea, World Oceans Day represents the opportunity to send a message and raise awareness of the urgent need to take care of it. The world of ocean sailing and its sailors have a very special relationship with the ocean and are natural protagonists of this day, as Barcelona will also be over the coming months.

 "It's essential for us to remember the importance of the oceans in maintaining the balance of our planet, but also that our own lives depend on them. Without oceans there wouldn't be life anywhere".That's what Aleix Gelabert had to say, co-skipper on One Planet One Ocean for Barcelona World Race 2014/15. His partner for the world's greatest double-handed ocean adventure, Dídac Costa added: "One Planet One Ocean means that everything is interrelated. In the same way you could say that our lives are connected to the ocean! We sailors are very aware of that!"

These words are of particular significance today, June 8th as we celebrate World Oceans Day. Both sailors will be sailing round the world with the slogan chosen by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission over a decade ago for their campaign to raise awareness of the importance of the oceans to life on the planet. The aim of this project is to foster the union and collaboration between science, policy and society with solid associations with institutions and activities which share and promote the values underpinninng those values. Ocean sailing has a lot to contribute.

In 2014 that union is more significant than ever. World Oceans Day coincides this year with the New York to Barcelona Race, whose skippers are currently in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. As Barcelona awaits their arrival, in Portal De la Pau the Barcelona Renault ExperienZE has been installed, as have the marquees for the Barcelona World Race Educational Program. These initiatives offer a fantastic opportunity to experience the fascinating relationship between science and sailing up close and to see how industry and ocean racing draw together human and technological feats in a bid to promote sustainability and respect for the environment. 

The World Oceans Day initiative was launched in 1992 at the Earth Summit held by the United Nations in Rio de Janeiro, and since 2008 it has been celebrated every June 8th. The day celebrates the fact that oceans connect countries and to raise awareness of the crucial role that they play in our lives, as well as studying the different ways in which we can all help to protect them.

Since then, the science of oceanography has made huge leaps in terms of knowledge of the sea. We now know that the oceans act as a huge lung which allows the CO2 that we produce to be absorbed; they are an inseparable part of weather and climate processes in our atmosphere; marine species offer invaluable data on the origins of life on Earth and they warn us when the delicate balance of life on our planet is upset and tell us that we have a lot of work ahead to protect it.

Jean-Pierre Dick, twice winner of the Barcelona World Race, said on the 30th of May at the UN Headquarters: “Having sailed for over 12 years, completing four round the world regattas and the equivalent of six circumnavigations of the globe through southern waters between races and transport passages, I'm no stranger to environmental concern and more so given my background as a vet. Today I am very happy about the start of this project between UNESCO and the FNOB to collect scientific data from the oceans. This global focus is very important to me, because it guarantees the fact that real data can be collected and the possibility of predicting climate change in the long term. I am delighted that the skippers are getting involved in collecting the data by launching the Argo floats at strategically planned points along the course of the next Barcelona World Race"

This year the FNOB, which has been collaborating with the UNESCO IOC since the first edition of the Barcelona World Race in 2007, has taken a big step forward in the development of the union between science and ocean sailing. The Barcelona World Race 2014/15 is a pioneering platform for the development of synergistic sea science projects. In November, the 2nd International Ocean Research Conference will put Barcelona on the map as the world capital of sea sciences. (See message from Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO, on World Oceans Day).

More information: http://www.unesco.org/new/ocean_day