Record-breaking third time as official logistics provider with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion
After six months, 32,000 nautical miles, eight stopovers on four continents, two broken masts, a handful of foil replacements and countless urgent repairs, the yachts competing in The Ocean Race have crossed the finish line in Genova, Italy. And GAC Pindar has been at their side throughout.
The overall winner was the 11th Hour Racing Team, the first American-flagged team to win in the 50-year history of the Race. Also racing, were five VO65 yachts vying for the VO65 Sprint Cup, which rejoined for the final legs from Aarhus.
The end of the 14th edition of the epic sailing challenge marks a milestone for GAC Pindar, as the only official logistics provider supporting the event three times in a row. That meant setting up base camps at each of the stopovers at Cabo Verde, Cape Town (South Africa), Itajai (Brazil), Newport (USA), Aarhus (Denmark), The Hague and, finally, Genova, to provide vital event logistics and freight forwarding support for the teams, race stakeholders and media covering the event. And as each new leg of the race began, they packed up and moved everything to the next destination.
IMOCAs Holcim-PRB & GUYOT Environnement – Team Europe racing in The Ocean Race 2022-23
Throughout the Race, the GAC crew were poised to respond with solutions when an emergency arose. The first major challenge came during Leg 4 from Itajai to Newport, Rhode Island when Team Holcim-PRB lost their mast off the coast of Brazil. A Portuguese-speaking member of the GAC Pindar team flew to Rio de Janeiro to meet the yacht as it sailed into port under jury rig, while arrangements were made to send the stricken boat to Newport, arrange for a new mast to be delivered, and have the boat ready to join the Race for Leg 5. Despite the dismasting, Team Holcim-PRB finished the overall Race in second place.
GAC also came up with the solution to allow GUYOT Environnement – Team Europe to rejoin the race after they dismasted at the end of Leg 4. “We found a Ro-Ro solution to ship the yacht back from Halifax, Canada to Hamburg, Germany,” explained Verity Springer, the Project Manager responsible for the urgent shipment. “We then moved the 6m-wide yacht overland to Kiel, with emergency permits in place, where a new mast had been brought in from Lorient, France. We were determined to find a solution for the team and were very pleased to see them on the Leg 6 start line in Aarhus.”
Arrangements were also made for last-minute spares and equipment to be made available to get the 11th Hour Racing Team race-worthy after a collision in The Hague.
Sustainability and collaboration
Sustainability was one of the central messages of the Race as it circumnavigated the globe. That meant reduced freight, less time on the road, tracked co2 emissions and fewer team members on-site. An extensive report on the impact of the measures taken will be published later in the year.
Lily Xu Lijia & Francesca Clapcich speaking at the On the Horizon DEI event in Genova during The Ocean Race 2022-23
The event also championed diversity, equity and inclusion in sailing, witnessed by panel discussions and networking events, that were hosted by GAC Pindar, in Alicante, Cape Town, Newport and Genova. The ‘On the Horizon’ series was a collaboration between The Magenta Project, World Sailing Trust, GAC Pindar and The Ocean Race, all united to ensure this topic remains front and centre. More female sailors than ever before took part in this edition of the Race.
“This edition of the Race saw a reduction in freight requirements as all involved made efforts to reduce emissions through more locally based procurement, but the demands in terms of physical work, planning and implementing the logistics plan remained the same,” says Jeremy Troughton, GAC Pindar’s General Manager.
“The tight race schedule meant solid logistics planning was crucial, with multiple routings to ensure all race stakeholders had their equipment at the right place at the right time. This was achieved with the dedication of our team, their extensive knowledge gained from the past two editions of the Race and the good working relationships with our customers, agents and suppliers at each port of call. Collaboration was key.”
Members of the GAC Pindar team with staff from The Ocean Race and Revolve
“We are very fortunate to have a partner such as GAC Pindar,” explains Neil Cox, Technical Director for The Ocean Race. “We can tap into their experience of the other races. They are a great partner for our teams, with their huge bandwidth and understanding of what The Ocean Race is. Having their team members on site as part of our team gave us a huge advantage to deal with anything that came up unexpectedly and that’s when their experience is a big advantage.”
To ensure everything was in place at each stopover, the GAC Pindar crew worked closely with local GAC offices.
In Genova, GAC Group President Pontus Fredriksson presented Viva Mexico – the first Mexican team entry since the very first Whitbread race in 1973-74 – with the prize for 4th place in the VO65 Sprint Cup.
GAC Group President Pontus Fredriksson presents Viva Mexico with the prize for 4th place in the VO65 Sprint Cup