Ocean Racing Club of Victoria
Steb Fisher

We’ve been weird, wonderful and winners

Casting our gaze over the recent offshore season, the Clean Oceans team are incredibly proud of the efforts and enthusiasm exhibited by the club and members to deliver initiatives in the name of sustainability. The ocean racing community is one of great passion, and a vote for protecting our oceans is a vote for the longevity of the sport we know and love. Let‘s look back over some of the highlights so far:

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The ORCV’s destination races saw the introduction of the Species Showcase, a corner that shines the light on unique marine species, iconic to the area our fleet are visiting. Beginning in Hobart with the 2023 Westcoaster, the Handfish became the star of the show, with one species, the critically endangered Red Handfish, found ONLY in the Derwent River. These abstract looking creatures have also attracted the nickname of the world’s rarest fish as their numbers continue to be heavily impacted by habitat change, ocean warming and pollution; and are the focus of a dedicated research conservation team.

Shifting our focus to the Melbourne to King Island, our fleet was greeted by the unmissable chorus of Little Penguins, our next showcased species. For a bird only 30cm in size, these little fellas are truly impressive with their long-distance deep diving, spanning tens of kilometers each day. Recent research investigating growing levels of chemical pollution recorded in the penguins’ blood is a stark reminder that at the end of the day, our land-based actions are intrinsically linked to like above and below the water.

Finally, we wrapped up the season with the crowd favorite, the Nudies! The Apollo Bay race featured the Vercos Nudibranch, a flamboyant and almost fictional looking creature, that inhabits the local marina and coastal reefs along southern Australia. Nudies are the dazzling jewels in the crown of our marine fauna. Like a neon sign, they remind us just how intricate and interconnected the ocean and its life is, and what wonders lay beneath the surface.

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As well as showcasing marine wildlife, we have also collaborated with some fantastic organisations working to conserve, educate, create and inspire meaningful change in the ocean community. The ORCV are incredibly grateful to have engaged with the Handfish Conservation project and Otway Ocean Care to promote conservation work, and Recolab and Castaway Textiles, for the work they do to divert waste from landfill while creating stylish and unique produce to be enjoyed by the yachting community and beyond.

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We are always looking for innovative ways to engage the ocean racing community with the ocean beyond racing. Over the last 12 months we have worked to further develop the microplastics water sampling initiative for the return legs of major offshore races. Often times, in the science space, deploying teams of researchers at sea can be costly and difficult, and so the idea to create a citizen science program with our fleet, was born. In classic scientific style, we are working through trial and error to optimize and refine the method and data generation process. We look forward to reigniting this program in the new season and thank all the crews who have been part of this process so far!

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In recognition of the ORCV’s efforts in the sustainability space, we have been awarded silver medals by the Sailors for The Sea Clean Regatta’s Program for our destination races, a brilliant outcome that we aim to build on with the oncoming season – going for gold! This internationally recognised certification framework is a great way to demonstrate effort over time, and nurture continuous improvement, innovation and creativity. We can’t wait to build on the already strong foundation of the 2023-24 season, so let our team know if you have any ideas or connections you think could add value in the sustainability space!

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Lasty, a huge thank you goes to our members who continuously show interest and enthusiasm in the Clean Oceans Program. Our members are what bring our initiatives to life and ensure continued stewardship of our oceans



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3 Aquatic Drive, Albert Park VIC 3206 Ph. 0493 102 744 E. orcv@orcv.org.au