When sailors swim…

Moth Spash

Getting ready for a swim?

Have you ever spent a day on the water where you did more swimming than sailing? Whether it be due to a hot day and no wind, or a sailboat that just wants to eject you, swimming seems to be inevitable around boats. So if you are planning your first day on a windsurfer, a moth, or you just want to anchor and know the water is clean for your kids to take a swim, there is now an app for that.

The Swim Guide is an app for iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® and Android that makes it easy to explore and enjoy the best beaches in these areas — Alabama, Alberta, British Columbia, California, Florida, the Great Lakes, and the Ottawa River region.”

If you need some inspiration for some radical and wet sailing, check out The Plymouth Capsize Club video below.

If you know of a good website, or another app that covers different regions please share in the comments.


Atlantic Cup – in photos

With an amazing three weeks of racing, the 2012 Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing has come to a close. We were very excited to be part of this impressive regatta that puts running an environmentally responsible event at the forefront of planning. Congratulations to Manuka Sports Event Management for making the Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing a gold level Clean Regatta and the first carbon neutral regatta in the United States.

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Dan Pingaro presents the Clean Regattas certificate to Hugh Piggin and Julianna Barbieri. Photo by Billy Black.

Sailing Anarchy covered the awards ceremony, click here to watch our executive director, Dan Pingaro present the Clean Regattas certificate. His presentation starts just before the three minute mark.

Swiftsure Yacht Race – 3rd year as a Clean Regatta

Swiftsure International Yacht Race

We are very excited to have the Swiftsure International Yacht Race – hosted by the Royal Victoria Yacht Club – participating in the Clean Regattas program for the third year in a row! This year event organizers are working to be certified at the silver level. Swiftsure is now actually five different races over three separate courses, plus the two day inshore regatta and festival on shore. Each Steering Committee chair and subcommittee has pledged for 2012 to uphold the spirit of Clean Regattas, environmental initiatives include:

1. WATER BOTTLE REDUCTION – Reduce single-use, disposable water bottle use
2. GREEN TEAM – Assemble a volunteer team to help carry out Clean Regattas
3. TRASH FREE REGATTA – Keep your shores and waters clear of debris
4. NO DISCHARGE – Prevent discharge of untreated sewage or blackwater
5. RECYCLING – Provide and promote recycling services
6. NON-TOXIC PRODUCTS – Use only non-toxic cleaning products during the event
7. GRAY WATER REDUCTION – reduce runoff of phosphates and nitrates
8. OIL SPILL PREVENTION – Require that motorized vessels shall carry spill kits
9. PAPER – Use 100% post-consumer recycled paper or using an electronic registration service
10. BOTTOM CLEANING – Prevent bottom cleaning in harbor and sensitive areas
11. REGATTA AWARDS – Present recycled or practical race awards

Every year, the Swiftsure International Yacht Race is a major community event – the premiere long distance sailing race in the B.C. and US Pacific Northwest area and a festival on shore.  It is a race in which yachts, both racing and cruising, and crews capable of adventure in exposed waters are encouraged to compete and test their skills.  Swiftsure has drawn boats and sailors from California, Hawaii, New Zealand, and even Russia.  For more information on the history of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race; including photos, past results, trophies, and records visit:  www.swiftsure.org

We thank the event organizers and sailors for their commitment to the environment!

America’s Cup Venice recap

The America’s Cup in Venice was simply spectacular: the racing, the backdrop, the excitement of the crowds. Bruno Trouble of Louis Vuitton called it the best show he’s ever seen in his decades of working with the America’s Cup, and we have to agree.

From a Clean Regattas standpoint, Venice faces it’s own set of local challenges. Just as we have seen lately with the regattas we work with in the Caribbean, islands pose some unique problems to organizers. In the case of Venice, it’s 118 small islands and a mind-boggling series of canals. Everything must not only be brought from the mainland, but transported within the city itself, by boat. Because of this, things like composting are impossible. Plastic bottles for water and other drinks are simply unavoidable.

Despite the changing local circumstances and unique challenges faced in each venue, many of the Clean Regattas Best Practices have become an ingrained part of regatta operations. In Venice, the following actions were taken:

  • Trash and recycling bins throughout the site
  • A motivated Green Team, cleaning the event areas and the water around them
  • Recyclable, paper products used in lunches
  • Water filling stations and reusable bottles for staff
  • An emphasis on paperless, electronic communication
  • Reuse of signage between events
  • Oil spill procedure and spill kits in all power boats
  • Shore pumpout of black and grey water
  • Water only washdowns for all boats
  • Stormwater pollution prevention plan in place
  • Maintenance fully contained with vacuum sanders etc
  • Drivers educated in fuel efficiency
  • Shore power used instead of generators
  • Non-toxic cleaning products and copper free bottom paints used
  • Boats washed to prevent spread of invasive species before departure
  • Healthy Ocean Project public education exhibits from IUCN and local NGOs

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We’ve been very involved in the local planning process for the coming America’s Cup event in Newport, which promises to be a fantastic Clean Regatta. Come check it out: June 26- July 1.

America’s Cup saves birds in Venice

Yesterday morning representatives from America’s Cup teams, media and staff all came together here in Venice to help WWF protect a rare species of plover. This sea bird is an important species in the Dune Alberoni, a local marine protected area, and because it nests directly on the sand it is very vulnerable to human traffic.

Learning about MPAs

The HOP group headed over to Lido, an island just off of Venice that is popular for its beaches, and learned about the importance of protecting these birds. As an umbrella species, their health is crucial for the health of the MPA as a whole. However, in recent years, the number of nesting birds has declined drastically because of heavy tourist traffic on the Lido beach. Last season, there were only 16 couples.

Team members digging post holes

To help protect the birds and keep their nests safe from human activity, America’s Cup volunteers worked with the local Forest Service to build an enclosure around an area of beach. This enclosure will allow these plovers to build their nests on the sand and remain undisturbed throughout the nesting season.

The enclosure in progress

We here at Sailors for the Sea are excited to continue working with the America’s Cup as they commit both to Clean Regattas and Healthy Ocean Project outreach, leaving a positive lasting legacy on our oceans.

National Ocean Policy

Getting involved locally with the National Ocean Policy – originally published by the Bangor Daily News

As I gaze appreciatively out on the harbor this morning, I must remind myself that I sat down to write about some things that are happening in Washington that might forever change the character of life here in Friendship. The connections between the two places, at least in my thoughts today, are the budgetary battles in Washington over whether to restrict funding for the implementation of the National Ocean Policy and the important regional ocean planning efforts that should soon follow.

Why should a lobsterman from Maine care about such things? The obvious answers, of course, are that the ocean is our our workplace, our cultural heritage, and economically sustains us and our extended communities as it has for generations. Those of us who work on the ocean day to day live with the effects of small changes in climate and observe changes in habitat, all of which may be evident in our catch rates or how species progress through seasonal cycles. We are also solely dependent on a healthy resource that must be managed intelligently and effectively while remaining accessible to us.

We would be the ones to notice the first effects of ocean acidification caused by our carbon-based energy production and we are also the ones who might be displaced by the ocean renewable energy projects put in place to combat it. Ours are the communities that must decide whether to gear up for the economic growth of aquaculture or to try to retain the qualities and spatial freedom of “wild caught” fish.

The calls for ecosystem-based management, protection and restoration of important habitat areas as well as protection of wildlife and endangered species are all important goals that affect the sustainability and economics of our fisheries and our daily lives.

These ocean and coastal agendas, uses and causes that we care about certainly are going to require many tough decisions and negotiations, and I for one would like to have a direct voice in whatever process is used to decide and plan for them. Presently, it would seem, we have two choices. The status quo is that whatever proposal is being made goes to multiple government agencies that believe they have jurisdiction. From there they go on to public hearings, impact statements, the courts and all the rest with each proposal handled as a separate project and locale. This would all be carved out with little if any requirement for planning as to regional placement or sense of purpose.

Secondly we have the introduction of the National Ocean Policy with its regional ocean planning or Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning. The virtue of the National Ocean Policy is that it develops and facilitates the planning process, deals with many overlapping ocean uses and expedites the approval process of new uses being introduced. Hopefully this will be done in a holistic fashion with the best available science, economic and cultural data, along with local place-based knowledge, all while keeping in mind the economic and cultural importance of the commercial and recreational fishing industries.

The National Ocean Policy offers an avenue for thoughtful planning and is the best choice for those stakeholders looking to be involved in the process or at least having some voice in the discussion. We should include these stakeholders from the beginning by forming advisory bodies made up of ocean users including fishermen who are out on the waters every day. This would go a long way in increasing the level and quality of stakeholder participation.

With the importance of our oceans to New England, our nation and the world, and with all the problems we face and solutions to be found, we would hope that Congress would support these endeavors or at the very least not stand in the way.

Richard Nelson is a lobsterman from Friendship, ME.

How you can get involved:
Click here
to go to the Ocean Conservancy’s website for information on how to let your congressman know that you want them to support the National Ocean Policy.

Marine Spatial Planning

Marine spatial planning is an important topic right now. An executive order has highlighted the importance of planning how we will use our oceans and great lakes as a resource. This means a regions waters will be analyzed for current and anticipated uses such as wind farms, fishing, drilling etc. The country has been divided into 9 regional planning areas, with each region being responsible to create a coastal and marine spatial plan for their waters.

A great example of the success of Marine Spatial planning can be found in Massachusetts with shipping lanes being changed for endangered Right Whales, resulting in an app that tracks Right Whales so ships and recreational boaters can avoid hitting them. Read the article:  A Success in Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning, Shipping Lane Shift Helps Mariners Steer Clear of Whales.

The Northeast Regional Ocean Council will help the regional planning body, along with SeaPlan, a non profit experienced in marine spatial planning. This summer, SeaPlan is running a survey for recreational boaters to see how they use the water, and how they impact the economy. As stakeholders in this resource, recreational boaters are a key component to marine spatial planning. Now is the time to share where you boat, and what you purchase, so that your uses of waterways and economic impact will be considered in plans for future use of our oceans and coasts.

So how do you get involved? This May, 68,000 boat owners in the Northeast (ME, NH, MA, RI, CT and NY) will receive invitations to participate in a survey. Any registered boat owner may get this mail, so please be on the lookout. Each month researchers will ask boaters to log onto a mapping website where they can draw their last boating trip on an interactive navigation chart and include information about fishing, wildlife viewing or other activities they did during their trip. Boaters will also be asked how much money they spent on various boating related activities so economists can determine the overall contribution of recreational boating to state and regional economies. Additionally if you do not receive this invitation, you can still participate, by submitting your information using a volunteer version of the mapping software at www.neboatersurvey.org.

What is the reward? By participating in the survey you will ensure that recreational boaters are spoken for in the implementation plan for your waters. However if you need more convincing sponsors have provided incentive prizes for participants, including a grand prize drawing of $5,000!

What if I don’t live in the New England area? Visit NOAA’s website on Coastal and Marine Spatial planning to find a more information about your regions governing body, and upcoming events. Click here for a map that outlines each region highlighted and links to the governing bodies.

If you have any questions or thoughts please share them below, we will do our best to get your questions answered.

Carbon Neutral & Gold Level Clean Regatta

This month, The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing, will get underway with the official race start on May 11th in Charleston, SC. Race organizers have left no stone unturned, as their environmental initiatives cover almost every item on the Clean Regattas Best Practices list, with an aim toward gold level Clean Regatta certification. These initiatives include:

  • Alternative fuel sources used on every boat such as fuel cells, solar panels and/or hydro-generator (see video below for how the hydro-geneator works)
  • Biofuel used when engines are required (provided by Newport Biodiesel)
  • Plastic water bottle free event – boats will use water tanks and fill reusable canteens
  • On land, Zip 2 Water will provide an onsite water filling station – no disposable bottles will be available
  • Recycling at every port stop
  • Environmentally friendly cleaning products used to clean boats
  • Carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates will be purchased and retired with support from Green Mountain Energy
  • 100% post-consumer recycled paper used where paper reduction is not possible
  • Only glassware or biodegradable plastic will be used at hospitality events
  • Local students will attend an educational workshop to meet the teams, tour the boats, and learn about how making small differences in our everyday lives contributes to a greener healthier planet.

Icarus Racing – 1 of 15 competitors registered for the Atlantic Cup

We are very excited by all of this hard work, please come out in Charleston (May 11), New York (May 19), or Newport (May 27) to see the racing and the Clean Regattas program in action!

If you have questions about how your regatta can adapt these best practices please ask in the comments section below!