By Yoann Richomme – Skipper of The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team in The Ocean Race

What does it mean to take on a challenge? Is it a question of proving yourself, rewarding the ego? Showing that you have the skill, determination, courage to push towards a goal and overcome the obstacles? Where do we find the motivation to meet these difficulties head on?

As a sailor with over two decades of experience on the waves I have faced my fair share of challenges. Each time I take them on and succeed, or fail, I learn and I build experience. In order to win we must experience failure. Through patience and persistence, I have improved and learned a lot about myself. Success is never final, neither is failure.

As the skipper for The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team in The Ocean Race, one of the most extreme tests of human endeavour, the concept of motivation interests me greatly.

What will it be when we are sailing in darkness in the unforgiving Southern Ocean, the crew is hungry, tired and cold that gives us the will to carry on? Pride? Fear? Ambition?

These are strong ‘peak’ motivators, they can ignite your ‘fight or flight’ instinct but they will not last, they will not drive me to leave my family for nine months and risk my life on the world’s most punishing seas, there is a stronger motivator than all of these and I find it in the eyes of my partners in this endeavour – purpose.

At the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team, we are racing for a purpose. As a sailor I have seen first-hand the devastating impact of climate change. We have seen sea levels rise, weather patterns change and witnessed our oceans drowning in plastic. I do not have all of the answers, I do not have a silver bullet, but I do know that the answer is not to do nothing. The Ocean Race is a truly global platform, we host more than 2.5 million people in our Race Villages during the event and our viewing numbers reach into the billions. I cannot make the difference on my own, I am one man, but I can carry the message, inspire and educate. I cannot be the fire, but I can be the match.   

At the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team, we have two goals, one is to win The Ocean Race, the other is to inspire change to create a better world. One is a race I want to win, the other is a race we cannot afford to lose.

As a species we have failed the planet, we consume her resources and ignore her needs, but this failure doesn’t need to be final. We are waking up to the damage we are causing and organisations like The Mirpuri Foundation are investing time, energy and resource into finding solutions but we cannot leave this challenge to be met by someone else.

Sailing is my sport, my medium and my passion, follow us and together we can each use the tools we have to create the change we need.

Yoann Richomme – Skipper of The Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team in The Ocean Race

Photo credits: Marc Bow