As the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team begins its preparations for the upcoming global Ocean Race, we take a closer look at what the Team will be seeking to achieve both as leading sportsmen and women and well-informed environmentalists.

With the promotion of marine conservation as one of the founding principles of the Mirpuri Foundation, the creation of a high-profile ocean racing team was seen as an imaginative and effective means of assisting the Foundation to carry its central message on the real perils currently facing our oceans and sea life to the four corners of the earth.

It was also seen as a means of attracting significant international publicity for the campaign to keep our oceans, and their wellbeing, at the forefront of public consciousness.

With the decision to establish the philanthropic Mirpuri Foundation, President Paulo Mirpuri respect for the ocean was never far away, and the year 2017 the foundation saw the birth of the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Academy in Cascais, with the purpose to inspire local youngsters to share his passion for the sea and protect it for future generations.

But it was the spectacular success of the first two international ocean sustainability campaigns, the Atlantic Crossing “Save the Ocean” and the Volvo Ocean Race “Turn The Tide on Plastic” campaigns that really sowed the seeds which grew into the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team.

The Mirpuri Foundation joined the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18 as the Race Principal Sustainability Partner as well as the Founding Partner of the Turn the Tide on Plastic Boat and Racing Team. 

This was a quite successful project. The campaign was about promoting Sustainability values in and outside the water. And in particular about the very serious problem of the large quantities of plastic that are ending up in our oceans every day.

The Campaign sparked a global movement against plastic pollution to restore ocean health, that survived the end of the race. And this is a wonderful and very powerful legacy.

The Turn the Tide on Plastic team carried the Clean Seas message, with its clear and simple message to act now against throwaway plastic pollution clearly emblazoned on its hull and sails. The around the world race was already one of the world’s most challenging competitions, but the added pledge to run the most sustainable race ever, drastically reduce use of plastics and, in doing so, to change mindsets around the world was something incredible to be involved in. It showed a vision that encompassed the entirety of the plastic problem, from the disposable bottle in a spectator’s hand to the tiny microplastic that threatened wildlife far out to sea. The Mirpuri Foundation was determined though to share it’s vision with the world.

And share it the Foundation did.

Along the way, the Foundation set out to tackle plastic use in the race villages (12 cities across six continents), devised compelling educational programmes, and organised groundbreaking scientific research in some of the world’s remotest waters.

Working in partnership with the United Nations, the Foundation’s aim was to amplify the Clean Seas campaign with a view to turning the toxic tide of marine plastic pollution.

And the Mirpuri Foundation saw its efforts pay off. The race’s plastic footprint was estimated at 21.3 tonnes, with 17.7 tonnes recovered, including 2.6 tonnes of soft plastics. Water refill points meant around 388,000 single-use plastic bottles were not used and some 20,000 people signed up to UN Environment’s Clean Seas pledge.

And, somewhere within that incredible event, the idea to establish the Mirpuri Foundation Racing team finally took shape.

Paulo Mirpuri, as well as being a competitor, he is also a doer. So once he decided to establish a team for the race, it was all hands on deck at the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team, and so it will remain until his objective is attained. Paulo Mirpuri will do everything that he can to build an aggressive and powerful team with one target in mind: the Trophy.

The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team will carry the Foundation’s messages on marine conservation around the world. Hopefully, all the way to the winner’s podium.