Our friends at 11th Hour Racing, a Newport, RI-based organization that establishes strategic partnerships within the sailing and maritime communities to promote collaborative, systemic change benefitting the health of our ocean, have announced three new grantees within its Ambassador Program. The 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Program comprises a community of marine industry professionals committed to ocean health, and representing many sections of the sport of sailing.


Mystic Aquarium volunteers remove marine debris from the shoreline. © Mystic Aquarium

The East Bay Sailing Foundation was chosen by Ambassador John Mollicone, the Mystic Aquarium was chosen by Ambassador Anthony Kotoun, and the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve was chosen by Ambassador Elizabeth Kratzig. The Chicago Maritime Arts Center was chosen (for the second consecutive year) by Ambassador Dave Rearick.

All 11th Hour Racing Ambassadors have the opportunity to work with a non-profit organization of their choice, focusing on specific ocean health projects. While these collaborations are an important element of 11th Hour Racing’s mission and programmatic strategy, they also empower the Ambassadors to act as real changemakers in their communities and use their influence to unite their fans and peers around shared values.

“I am thrilled to see the range of grantees and the solutions they bring to the table for solving a multitude of dynamic environmental issues faced by our ocean, bays, and the Great Lakes,” said Michelle Carnevale, 11th Hour Racing’s Grant Program Director. “As our Ambassador grant program continues to grow, it is exciting and rewarding to see how these professional athletes are driving change in their communities while embracing the role of ocean stewards.”

The Chicago Maritime Arts Center works to increase access, respect, understanding, and appreciation for maritime arts, local waterways, and the environment among communities in Chicago, IL. This program is the first youth boat building program in the city, and its afterschool and summer camp programs are quickly gaining popularity. This grant marks the second year that 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Dave Rearick (Chesterton, IN) has worked with the organization, bringing his stories from sailing around the world to students.

The East Bay Sailing Foundation in Bristol, RI is a public community sailing center and sailing training program offering classes for children and adults. Together with 11th Hour Racing Ambassador John Mollicone (Providence, RI), head sailing coach at Brown University, the organization will install and test an electric outboard motor to determine if this cleaner technology can be a feasible option for coach boats for yacht clubs, college sailing teams, and sailing centers.

Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT is well known for its stunning aquarium, home to more than 300 species, allowing children and adults alike to fall in love with the underwater world. But its mission goes well beyond the facility, with programs that work to inspire people to care for and protect the ocean through conservation, education, and research. Inspired by 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Anthony Kotoun’s (Newport, RI) passion for fishing, Mystic Aquarium will help foster connections between the recreational fishing community and the coastal ecosystems to increase environmental stewardship.

The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Port Aransas, TX is expanding its citizen science program to map plastic pellets (often called nurdles) around the Gulf of Mexico, with the ultimate goal of empowering change at the state and federal level to end this type of pollution. Having witnessed firsthand the scale of the nurdles issue on the beaches of her hometown in Corpus Christi, TX, 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Elizabeth Kratzig (Miami, FL) select an organization engage her local community to take action against this environmental threat.

Founded in 2010, 11th Hour Racing has been harnessing the power of sport with an innovative and comprehensive approach through three primary areas of engagement: Sponsorships, Grantees, and Ambassadors. Since 2015, 11th Hour Racing Ambassadors have worked to foster systemic change in the maritime and sailing communities focused on restoring ocean health. As representatives of 11th Hour Racing, they help promote sustainable operations at regattas, engage in community outreach, and identify potential partners and solutions to reduce environmental impacts of the maritime industry. To learn more, log onto 11thhourracing.org. ■

Previous Article