Monday, January 12, 2009

Volvo Ocean Race saves the World (almost)

While the Vendee Globe has caught my imagination there is of course another round the world yacht race on at the moment, the Volvo.

We are hampered here in the UK in that the main TV rights are owned by the subscription channel Sky, and even before the credit crunch hit us had no intention to pay Rupert Murdoch anything if could help it.

But there was a segment on the brilliant as usual Channel 4 News at 7pm last Thursday which found very interesting. It started with the usual life at the extreme talk, with shots of Volvo 70's surfing down waves at 30 knots or something.

However then it got serious. The fleet might be waiting in Singapore for the next leg, but the reporter was more interested in the scientific work they are doing to track invasive marine species, in particular those that get carried in the ballast of commercial shipping.

The damage already done is huge, with a jelly fish invasion of the Black Sea, killing of 90% of the fish and the Zebra mussel (above) returning the favour in the US and Europe. Its already a problem in London as posted before here and here.

The economic and environmental damage can be horrific. Any information that can help scientists track how far these invaders has got to be a good thing, and that's where the crews of the Volvo yachts come in. Each has a crew member trained to take samples.

Alas the shipping industry has been far to slow in reacting to this and putting in place the technical measures that could stop these alien invaders. One hopes they will soon pull their fingers out.

You can watch the report for a few days more at the C4 News web site by clicking this link here (note: it might be UK only, let me know if it works elsewhere).

The player should look like this:

There's also an piece on the Volvo web site itself from back in August last year here.


Guy said...

the link also worked for me (USA) thank you for bringing that to our notice!

New Sailor

JP said...

Good to hear it works and you enjoyed it!