At The Ocean Race stopover in Aarhus, a small group of young people from different organizations, but all connected through our title sponsor 11th Hour Racing, came together to challenge the status quo and share their passion for the future.

Meet the generation of change. 


For each of the stopovers in The Ocean Race 2022-23, 11th Hour Racing Team is supporting a local grassroots organization to drive positive change and take action for ocean health and local communities as part of our legacy grantee program.

In Denmark during the Aarhus stopover, we met UNLEASH. A local organization that offers programs for young people to envisage an impactful change through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their community, region, or even worldwide. Essentially, in their own words, they’re ‘mobilizing youth around the world to co-create a sustainable future’. 

Unlike our legacy grantee activations in other stopovers, this event provided a rare opportunity to bring together several ‘force for good’ projects, all connected through 11th Hour Racing and the larger family of philanthropic organizations and initiatives started by Eric and Wendy Schmidt to make the world a better place for everyone. 

Building the future: about the projects

Rise: An initiative of Schmidt Futures and the Rhodes Trust, Rise is the anchor program of a $1 billion commitment from Eric and Wendy Schmidt to find and support global talent. Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative that brings skilled people together in networks to focus their talents on specific challenges.  Rise finds promising young people and provides opportunities for them to work together in service of others.

Ripples of Change: four teenagers from Rhode Island (RI), winners of The Ocean Race’s ‘Generation Ocean’ competition, who want to share Ocean Rights and create policy change in their home state.

UNLEASH: UNLEASH is a global initiative committed to bringing youth together to share ideas, build networks and create innovative and scalable solutions to help reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Their mission is to accelerate positive change towards the SDGs by mobilizing young talented people in community leadership, problem-solving, and launching social and environmental solutions.

NextGen: A young professionals mentorship program run by our team with a purpose to expand the team’s legacy and increase access to the professional sailing world. The aim is to bring together and empower students and young professionals who can benefit from the team’s #oceanhour sustainability training program, and provide unique insights into the operations of a professional sailing team. 

‘My mind was blown’

Each of the participating students had worked on a community-based project that could improve the environment. As Rise, Ripples of Change, NextGen and UNLEASH stepped up individually to present their projects to a room packed full of 11th Hour Racing Team sailors, shore team, the wider Ocean Race community, and sponsors and partners to the Race, the atmosphere was slightly different to what one might expect at a ‘conference’. Where people’s attention might peel off after a certain amount of time through minor distractions, this room was full of engaged, committed, and eager participants.

This was a group of peers who clearly had a great deal of respect for one another. A group who, thanks to support from forward-thinking organizations, are creating tangible change for the future. 

Whether it was local or global, a solution for waste management in remote arctic communities or never-before seen innovations for water purification, everyone was bringing something to the table.

My mind was absolutely blown,” said Skipper Charlie Enright, “Did you hear their ideas? This is the generation of change, I’m telling you. We need to be thankful we have people like this in the world. These are the future leaders of tomorrow. I need to go back and talk to them, I’ve got so many questions. They must all be under 25. Unbelievable.” 

He’s right, the projects were unbelievable. 

Connecting the dots for a better future 

Managing Director of 11th Hour Racing, Todd McGuire said, “One of the things that we like to do at 11th Hour Racing is to gather groups from the wider Schmidt network together so they can learn from each other, engage with each other and inspire each other. It is incredibly inspiring to hear from these young adults who are focused on solutions to real world ocean health problems. 

“They are not out there focused on being a teenager or just being a kid. They are incredibly worried about the health of our planet and not just letting life happen around them. Each and everyone takes a really serious approach, saying ‘I’m going to do something about this’.”

Unlike Rise, Ripples of Change and UNLEASH, NextGen is not a standalone project. It is a young professional mentorship program embedded within 11th Hour Racing Team and run by Sustainability Program Managers Amy Munro and Damian Foxall.

Amy Munro has been responsible for the day-to-day engagement of the NextGen students, both remotely and on site:

“Our NextGen mentorship program was designed to give young people with a passion for sustainability  access to a high performance sailing team and our series of OceanHour Sessions, sustainability curriculum, and networking opportunities,” she explains during a break in presentations at The Youth Summit. “Over the course of the campaign, the eight mentees, from the US, France, Argentina, Jamaica and Chile also brought a critical youth voice to our team. They held us to account, and asked us the hard questions, to make sure we were always driving to be more ambitious with our actions.”

Two mentees on site with 11th Hour Racing Team in Aarhus were Rose Gallichan and Jazmin Sopeña. Both attended and presented at The Youth Summit as part of the NextGen program.

“What stuck with me after the Ocean Youth Summit was a really strong sense of community among uprising change-makers,” says NextGen intern Rose Gallichan.  “The variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, as well as personal interests and skill sets, meant that nobody had exactly the same perspective, ideas or approach to addressing the common goal of ocean health. This diversity brought a true richness to the summit.”

Fellow intern, Jazmin Sopeña had a similar experience: “The Ocean Youth Summit in Aarhus filled me with inspiration, it equipped me with tools to delve deeper into the sustainable world, and connected me with like-minded friends from around the world, all sharing the same goal.”

Together we are better 

Through bringing together like-minded people from all over the world, the opportunity to see them flourish is evident, but this is about more than just individual success. This is about some of the brightest and passionate young minds being given the platform to strive together towards a common goal: one for a better world.

This might be the generation of change, but one key takeaway from this whole event is they can’t do it alone – we all need to step up and act to ensure this isn’t an uphill battle for those with the vision. 

Let’s not let them do this by themselves.