In view of combining their two passions – ocean racing and ocean protection – Pierre Casiraghi founded together with Boris Herrmann Team Malizia in 2016. On board the team’s IMOCA 60 racing monohull Malizia Yacht Club de Monaco and in preparation of the ultimate aim – to sail around the world and compete in the Vendée Globe 2020 – they have been participating with great success in numerous sailing races.

The origins of Team Malizia in 2016: Two sailors combining two passions: ocean racing and ocean protection. Photo credit: Messmer.

Skipper Boris Herrmann is currently in fourth place in the IMOCA Globe Series World Championship (season 2018-2021) and will take the opportunity to further improve his ranking following the first regatta of the year, the Bermudes 1000 Race, starting Wednesday, 8th of May, from Douarnenez/Brittany.

Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann presenting their objectives during the Monaco Ocean Week. The team’s ultimate aim behind them on the screen: A non-stop, single-handed circumnavigation of the globe. Photo credit: Cedou.

Meanwhile, Team Malizia’s project goes well beyond sailing and a Vendée Globe campaign. Malizia has been extended to the Malizia Ocean Challenge, which is based on three main pillars: sailing, science and education. So, in addition to racing across and soon even around the globe, the team has been focusing on two more missions: A) Contributing actively to ocean research so as to help scientists to better understand the process and impact of climate change on marine environments, and B) educating, fascinating as well as sensitising children and the youth about the ocean, marine life, current climatic developments and sustainability.

The Malizia Ocean Challenge concept.

All these objectives are already being put into practice. During the Monaco Ocean Week in March, Boris Herrmann explained how the team participates in marine research:

Boris Herrmann at the Monaco Ocean Week. Photo credit: Cedou.

“We have an automated laboratory on board, which weighs 30 kilograms. It is a very high-tech system equipped with sophisticated sensors. We gather basic data, such as temperature, level of salinity, PH value as well as a number of additional biological parameters. Now, what we are specifically interested in, or at least what I am most interested in personally, is the level of ocean CO₂ and pCO₂ [partial pressure of CO2].

In order to determine these values, we have to extract the gas from the ocean. So, while sailing we permanently pump seawater through the sensor. It is a fairly complex process. We have a technologically advanced system counting on more than ten years of experience.”

 

SubCtech sensor “OceanPack™ RACE” installed on board Malizia. Photo credit: Boris Herrmann Racing.

The system or ‘laboratory’ Boris is referring to has been built by SubCtech, the specialist company from Kiel that has also provided the sensors for the yachts Turn the Tide on Plastic and AkzoNobel during the past Volvo Ocean Race. Since 2018, Malizia also carries SubCtech’s scientific equipment called the OceanPack™ RACE, an instrumentation package which has been specifically developed for high-speed offshore racing.

The sensor has already collected reliable data during Malizia’s trips last year, including the Route du Rhum 2018 race in November, for instance. Over the current 4-year-long campaign, more than 70.000 nautical miles will be sailed and valuable data from all over the world will be recorded. Team Malizia collaborates with experts from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg and GEOMAR in Kiel, who process and finally evaluate the collected data.

Boris Herrmann presenting the scientific data collected during the Route du Rhum 2018 Race on the occasion of the boot Düsseldorf in January. Photo credit: Boris Herrmann Racing.

Now, why is measuring CO₂ in the ocean of such great importance and relevance? The oceans are by far the largest carbon sink. By understanding the ocean uptake of carbon dioxide and the storage process better with the help of collected data, scientists can analyse when the oceans will reach a limit of CO₂ absorption and consequently assess the implications for the future. Rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification in the context of climate change will affect a great number of marine species and the marine ecosystem. We are happy to support the scientists in the field of ocean research by collecting sea surface data over a significant period of time and in some of the world’s most remote and scarcely explored sea areas.

 

The Malizia Ocean Challenge includes an extensive education programme: Here, Boris’ presentation at the Kids University in Kiel together with scientist Toste Tanhua. Photo credit: Philipp Mann.

In parallel to this major scientific project, the Malizia Ocean Challenge aims at teaching children more about the marine environment and climate change in the context of offshore sailing: We want to fascinate, engage and inspire young minds and create future ambassadors for ocean protection by sharing our sailing adventure.

Over 140 children at the presentation during the Monaco Ocean Week. Photo credit: Cedou.

In this respect, many talks have already been given by Team Malizia – be it during the “Maritime Night” at the Technical University Hamburg, at the Kids University in Kiel, or lately at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco during the Monaco Ocean Week. Furthermore, many online live conferences have been held and the team has had hundreds of school children on board Malizia to experience the ocean first hand. Our aim is to continue to educate and inspire as many children as possible around the world.

 

The education kit

On top of that, team member and teacher Birte Lorenzen has developed the Ocean Challenge Kit with learning materials translated into German, English and French that are being used around the world. Over 4300 children from six countries are engaged in our project, with this figure set to increase in the future.

On the occasion of the Monaco Ocean Week, Pierre Casiraghi expressed once more the pleasure and privilege to talk to students about sailing, the ocean, climate change, environmental protection and sustainable development, and the great value of “bringing the oceans to the schools”, as he says:

Pierre Casiraghi at the Monaco Ocean Week. Photo credit: Cedou.

 

“We have made the education kit, which we distribute to the children, so that they can follow our boat, the race, what we do on the boat and learn, which kinds of scientific measurements we take. The children are very dedicated, curious and do actually know a lot for their age. We can see that there is a lot of work going on in the schools in Monaco in view of raising consciousness and finding solutions so as to consume less, to consume environmentally better.”

 

 

 

In fact, all the schools in Monaco have joined the project and a great number of schools in Germany and France are working with the team’s Ocean Challenge Kit, too.

Certainly an unforgettable experience for the children to come on board Malizia. Photo credit: Boris Herrmann Racing.

Finally, children do also have the chance to get on board Malizia, meet the crew and really gain some first-hand experience, while learning more about the boat, sailing, navigation and ocean-related topics. The team has invited kids on board during the stays in Monaco, Bermuda, Hamburg, Kiel, St. Malo and Guadeloupe, and is looking forward to continuing these engaging activities with the younger generation at their next race, the Bermudes 1000 Race in Douarnenez, and throughout the year.

Boris explaining the navigation instruments on board. Photo credit: Boris Herrmann Racing.

 

For Pierre, Boris and the entire Malizia team, it is always a great pleasure to spread the message of sustainability, to raise awareness for ocean protection and to meet students personally. We would like to thank all of our Malizia Ocean Challenge supporters, including Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Yacht Club de Monaco and United Wind Logistics, as well as the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco for their continuous support of our work.

Pierre Casiraghi, Boris Herrmann and Stefan Raimund from SubCtech presenting at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. Photo credit: Cedou.

About the Malizia Ocean Challenge:

Report on Team Malizia’s talk during the Monaco Ocean Week 2019 by MonacoInfo (in French).

Voici le reportage sur le Malizia Ocean Challenge. La course au large et la navigation en IMOCA 60 au service de la recherche et de l’éducation…

To download the Malizia Ocean Challenge Education Kit (English, German and French), click here.

Coming up: Malizia will be participating in the Grand Prix Guyader 2019 from the 4th to 6th of May! Three days of fantastic inshore coastal racing off Douarnenez/Brittany and we will be having a very special guest on board: German Olympic sailor Susann Beucke will race for the first time on board an IMOCA 60. So, keep an eye on our NEWS page to follow the action!

Grand Prix Guyader 2019. http://www.grandprixguyader.com/programme-sportif/imoca

Yannick Kethers