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Ocean-going sailing yachts: Innovative climate data acquisition at the ocean-atmosphere interface

Around-the-world races lead in scarcely explored sea areas of high scientific interest. These races take place regularly, but until now no measurement system was suitable for the difficult conditions on sailing yachts or comparable vessels, as space and power are very limited.

Since 2009, SubCtech is developing and testing small, robust and light-weight systems in cooperation with a number of scientific institutes around the world. SubCtech’s instrumentation package OceanPack™ RACE 5th generation gathers ocean and climate data automatically from the ocean-atmosphere interface. Initially designed for sailing yachts, the OceanPack-RACE can be used on any kinds of vessels under extreme conditions.

Data are internally stored and transmitted to the scientific community. The analyzing of these values will help to improve the spatial and temporal collection of scientifically relevant sea surface data. The number of parameters and type of sensors is not limited and is selected by the scientist, ship operator or customer. Satellite-based systems (remote sensing) have a global view on the oceans and need in-situ data for „ground-truth“ calibration, such as those gathered by the OceanPack™ RACE.

Of course, the OceanPack™ RACE 5th generation is energy optimized and light-weight. It does not need your attention while sailing. With its unique CO2 analyzing unit, it is the perfect tool for sustainable expeditions and races around the world.

Sailors don’t produce CO2, they measure it.

Our product is still performing successfully under conditions where classic flow-through systems like e.g. FerryBoxes usually are failing. The reason is our production based on a concept that includes:

  • High performance and speed capacity in changing open-ocean conditions
  • Effective removing of air bubbles in the seawater
  • Low power consumption – optimized for sailing yachts
  • Complete, able for hand-carrying and easy to maintain – relieving you from extra tasks
  • Flexible sensor equipment
  • Field tested
  • Many options such as self-cleaning, self-powering, real-time telemetry, remote control, …

Typical parameter:

  • Temperature (SST)
  • Salinity (SSS)
  • Carbon dioxide (pCO2)
  • Power of hydrogen (pH)
  • NEW – Micro plastic analyzer
  • Turbidity
  • Fluorescence (Chl a)
  • Dissolved oxygen (DO)
  • Nitrate
  • NEW – Radioactivity
  • Meteorological parameter, additional photoactive or global radiation
  • Ship data e.g. meteo, GPS, house-keeping


  • The global economic competitiveness cluster Pôle Mer Bretagne recognized the scientific programe in February 2012.
  • SubCtech and SailingOne, France, receiving the French-German Prize of Economy award in the Environment category. It is under the patronage of Dr. Philipp Rösler, Germany’s Federal Minister of Economics & Technology and German Vice-Chancellor; and Pierre Moscovici, France’s Federal Minister of Economics and Finances. The award ceremony was used to point out the large value of environmental technologies and several innovations in this sector (2013) – Deutsch-Französischen Wirtschaftspreis 2013


  • Boris Herrmann Racing: IMOCA yacht equiment on MALIZIA in cooperation with GEOMAR, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology MPI-M
  • Volvo-Ocean-Race selects SubCtech for scientific equipment, in cooperation with GEOMAR, NOAA and UNESCO JCOMMOPS. More infos: volvooceanrace.com
  • R&D project „ERA NET MARTEC – OSC – Entwicklung einer Geräteplattform für Segelschiffe“. Founded by ERA NET MARTEC, BMWI Germany – Förderkennzeichen 03SX371A
    May 2014 – July 2015
  • EU FP7 project COMMON SENSE (Cost-effective sensors, interoperable with international existing ocean observing systems, to meet EU policiy requirements.)Homepage: http://www.commonsenseproject.eu/
    Nov. 2013 – Feb. 2017



On board Volvo-Ocean-Race © Photo Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race
More Infos: volvooceanrace.com

Special design for Volvo-Ocean-Race

On board Volvo Ocean Race: Leg Zero, Turn the Tide on Plastic compete in the Around the Island Race. Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race. 02 August, 2017

Testing on Racing Sailing Yachts: EU project development www.commonsenseproject.eu. © Photo by Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / Vendeé Globe

Test on ALDEBARAN in the Northsea during the „Meereswettbewerb“ Plastic found during Volvo Ocean Race 2017-2018 (c) Volvo Ocean Race and GEOMAR
BARK EUROPA sailing 12 months in the Antarctic © Photo Bark Europa, The Netherlands – www.barkeuropa.com Bark EUROPA with the 2nd generation prototype on board anchoring at Port Lockroy (Graham Land – Antarctic Peninsula). © Photo Joanna Szczepanska – Bark EUROPA  – www.barkeuropa.com
pCO2 and Salinity data from expedition PITTARIK on DAGMAR AAEN by ARVED FUCHS sailing in the Arctic with the 4th generation of OceanPack-RACE.  © Data processing by Uni Hamburg, Uni Flensburg
Expedition vessel DAGMAR AAEN from ARVED FUCHS sailing in the Arctic with the 4th generation of OceanPack-RACE.  © Photo Arved Fuchs – www.arved-fuchs.de
All data incl. pCO2 of all time, but still „white holes“ in large areas in the south and north hemisphere of the world. (c) Takaschi et. al. Round-the-world ocean-races are sailing exactly there, where datas are rare. In the chart above the former tests with BARK EURPOE (south) and LA LOUISE (north – not in the chart) as part of the MARTEC OSC development program.
Additional equipment for data visualization or implementation of other sensor systems, connection to the ship data system etc. Simple to use professional equipment e.g. to control the water supply or to allow remote control for automatic start/stop, relieving you from additional tasks.


User statements

The scientific data … will represent a significant contribution to the already existing observation network. This approach will open the way to the participation of new communities in the observation of our Earth.“
Jacqueline Boutin, researcher at LOCEAN (Oceanography and climate Laboratory), and Fabienne Gaillard confirmed.

Your device is definitely awesome, and I’m absolutely delighted.“
Jérôme Chladek, Scientist at Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Hamburg.

The SubCtech technology is exactly the system we were looking for.“
Martin Kramp, Project Manager SailingOne, Oceanology International 2010 Conference