It was also a chance to share their experiences of the ocean plastic crisis, including floating plastic chairs and the need to educate children about ways to improve the health of our seas.
Dee Caffari, skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag's Annemieke Bes, Mark Towill, co-skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Simeon Tienpoint skipper of team AkzoNobel, MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernandez and Carolijn Brouwer of Dongfeng Race Team joined the discussion on stage.
Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari said: “We’ve been in places such as the remote Southern Ocean, miles from anywhere, and we were still finding microplastic present there.
“Travelling from Hong Kong to Auckland we passed a beautiful tropical island on one side of the boat and on the other there were bottles and plastic packaging polluting the beautiful waters.
“We’ve been seeing it first hand and it just makes you aware of the scale of what we’re fighting to protect. We’re now acting as ambassadors for the sport and for ocean health.”
Promoting the UN Environment’s #CleanSeas campaign, the Turn the Tide on Plastic boat collected microplastic samples to provide scientists with a better understanding of the scale of the plastic problem.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Team Director Mark Towill, set a positive tone for what the race has achieved in terms of promoting the issues and the solutions.
He said: “These Ocean Summits have been incredible and the progress, as a community we have made is unbelievable and the future is bright.”
Donfeng’s Carolijn Brouwer, added: “For my son who’s been following me around the world, in Newport, for example, there was a kids Exploration Zone, and they were teaching kids about plastic in the oceans.
“I came home one night, and there was a note from my son on my bed, and it said, ‘Mommy, I will not put any plastic in the oceans, and I will put it in the bin.’ This is raising awareness, this is impact – he’s only seven years old, and when he goes back to school he will do a show-and-tell, and these are the kinds of things he will share.”
Team AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpoint, reflected: “Our oceans are the most beautiful back garden we have in the world and just as we teach our children not to throw trash in the street, we should also teach them not to throw it in the oceans.”
Annemieke Bes, from Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, told the audience how, even though they were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, she saw a plastic chair floating by.
During the two-day event, a range of announcements helped develop a roadmap for future solutions to improve the health of our sea, setting a course for a healthier future for our oceans.