NEWPORT, R.I. — On the heels of The Ocean Race win by its sponsored team, our friends at 11th Hour Racing are expanding their work beyond sustainability and ocean health to champion diversity, opportunity, and access in sailing. The organization announced that its first sponsorship to advance this work is with professional sailor Francesca Clapcich, who joins 11th Hour Racing’s global initiatives working toward a more inclusive, sustainable future.
11th Hour Racing will power Clapcich to further advance her efforts in cultivating a safe, diverse, and equitable environment within the sailing industry. © Harry KH / 11th Hour Racing
Clapcich’s endeavors are geared toward breaking down barriers and fostering a community that values diversity and inclusivity. The focus on access and opportunity underscores the commitment to creating a level playing field where all individuals can engage in sailing activities.
Clapcich is one of the world’s most versatile professional sailors: the first Italian to win The Ocean Race, a 32,000 nautical mile race often described as the world’s longest and toughest professional sporting event; a two-time Olympian; and a member of the American Magic Women’s Team for the Puig Women’s America’s Cup in 2024. She is one of a handful of athletes who have competed in many disciplines at the highest levels of the sport, and her future goal is to compete in the 2028 Vendée Globe, sailing solo, non-stop around the planet.
The Italian, born in Trieste but now living in Park City, Utah, U.S., is the latest of 11th Hour Racing’s sponsorships, all working to drive a shift in the sailing industry’s approach to sustainability.
“For over a decade, our organization has harnessed the power of sport for positive impact, focused on material and operational solutions,” said Jeremy Pochman, co-founder and CEO of 11th Hour Racing.
“We are excited to support an athlete who prioritizes social progress. This is an important step toward broadening our work to focus on social sustainability in sport and competitive sailing. Our project with Francesca is part of our commitment to create positive social and environmental change, build a more diverse talent pipeline in sailing, and foster career opportunities for everyone,” Pochman said.
“It’s always special when you can start a long journey with a sponsor who shares your values and believes in the importance of making positive changes in the industry and beyond,” said Clapcich. “11th Hour Racing has an impressive legacy around impact, as we saw in their work in the last three editions of The Ocean Race. “I believe in the importance of making a tangible impact too – not just on the racetrack – and it’s where I feel my responsibility lies, beyond the sport.”
Having personally encountered the challenges of pursuing ambitious goals in the sport she dedicates her life to, Clapcich mentors young women and works to facilitate access to resources, sports, and the outdoors for individuals of all backgrounds in her hometown.
“I am here to represent a diverse community within our sport and on the most prominent stages. I’m here to show the next generation of women that anything is possible and use the privilege I have for a positive impact on everyone. Together, we can create a future where inclusivity thrives, barriers crumble, and every individual, regardless of background, feels seen, heard, and empowered. It is my mission to inspire change and foster a community where diversity is celebrated and equality is the norm.
“The most amazing part of being the newest member of 11th Hour Racing is working with the people within their organization, how they believed in me, how they are willing to work together to find solutions, and how they, too, want to challenge the status quo. I’m being challenged myself each and every day, and it’s an exciting future for us all,” Clapcich said.
11th Hour Racing and Francesca Clapcich will announce their racing and social impact plans in the coming months.
About 11th Hour Racing
11th Hour Racing works to mobilize sports, maritime and coastal communities with an innovative approach to inspire solutions for the ocean. Since 2010, 11th Hour Racing has been promoting collaborative, systemic change through three primary areas of engagement: sponsorships, grantees and ambassadors. These philanthropic activities are provided through 11th Hour Racing, Inc., 11th Hour Racing Charitable and 11th Hour Racing Action. Learn more at www.11thhourracing.org.
About Francesca Clapcich (She/Her)
Born: Trieste, Italy
Resides: Park City, Utah, U.S.
Family: Wife, Sally Barkow / Daughter, Harriet
Italian by birth and now residing in Utah with her wife and daughter, Francesca Clapcich’s career has taken her from the Mediterranean shores of Trieste, Italy, to the biggest stages of professional sport. She has twice represented her country at the Olympic Games, is a World Champion, European and National Champion, Italian Sailor of the Year, the first Italian to win The Ocean Race, a CrossFit Coach, triathlete, and ski instructor. In her hometown, Clapcich is involved in various community projects, mentoring others, creating safe places, and supporting access to resources, sport, and the outdoors for everyone in the region.
- Started sailing with the Italian National Sailing Team at 11 years old
- Represented Italy at London 2012 in Laser Radial (19th) and Rio de Janeiro in 2016 in 49erFX (5th)
- 2015 World, European, and National Champion in 49erFX Class
- Raced in La Solitaire du Figaro in 2021 – a solo multi-stage sprint around the coastline of France – where she was presented with the Fighting Spirit award
- Competed in two editions of The Ocean Race, with Turn the Tide on Plastic in 2017-18 (6th) and 11th Hour Racing Team in The Ocean Race 2022-23 (winner)