Safe & Green – Memorial Day Weekend!

The crew here at Sailors for the Sea is very excited for Memorial Day Weekend – and like many people in the country excited to be near the water and aboard a boat! This weekend our staff will be attending two exciting Clean Regattas, The Atlantic Cup and Figawi Race Weekend! At both events race organizers have used strong preparation to make their event follow our Clean Regatta Best Practices.

Many of these Best Practices can be applied to anyone’s weekend adventures – so here are a few tips for boating clean this weekend!

 Pump_out-04Overboard Discharges: Don’t discharge untreated sewage or blackwater in harbor (it’s gross) and very bad for your harbor – Find a list of pumpout stations here.


Non_toxic_cleaning-04Green Cleaning Products: More often than not, when you clean your boat the suds get washed off into the water. Learn more about Green Cleaning Products that can be bought or made for your boat.


water_bottle-04Reusable Water Bottles: Eliminate the use of single-use, disposable water bottles in your home and on your boat by switching to reusable water bottles. It make’s clean up at the end of the day so much easier!

For more ideas read our Clean Boating Resources.  

We wish everyone a safe & green Memorial Day Weekend!


Living on the Edge

Last Thursday, Sailors for the Sea board chairman, David Rockefeller, Jr. kicked off an exciting event Living on the Edge: The Atlantic Cup presents Coastal Communities & Climate Change.


The evening celebrated The Atlantic Cup, a two-time gold level Clean Regatta and the first carbon neutral sailing race in the United States. David noted, in his opening remarks: “Of course, sailors are natural supporters of the environment. That’s why we do it, that’s what we love, but we’re not always aware of the problems under the hull, and we know that with the help of events like the Atlantic Cup, we can galvanize sailors, in particular, into action to protect our oceans.

The Atlantic Cup is environmentally forward-thinking, and a truly unique race.  Boats use alternative energy including hydro-generators, fuel cells and solar panels. Another great fact is that no single use plastic water bottles are used at any time during the race!


The panel entitled “Telltales” was moderated by Global Green USA’s President Matt Petersen (far right) and discussed climate change at the convergence of land and water. Panelists from left to right included: Chip Giller, President and Founder of, Hannah Jenner, skipper for 40 Degrees Racing, and Dr. Ben Strauss the Chief Operating Officer and Director on Sea Level Rise for Climate Central. We have pulled a few highlights from the evenings discussion – we hope you enjoy!.

Dr. Ben Strauss made the point that storms are like a pot of water, as you increase the heat, the pot goes to a rolling boil. We currently have a similar situation with the oceans. The increased ocean temperatures are like turning up the heat on the stove and we are seeing more powerful storms. This clearly will have an affect on boaters around the world.

Hannah Jenner noted how she felt sailors are an important part of environmentalist movement stating: “We not only see the storms, up front, in your face, we also see the trash…plastics floating past and oil slicks coming off of ships passing, and it’s upsetting.

Chip Giller noted: “It all is very grim, but I just want to say, this discussion wouldn’t have been happening 10 years ago. And it’s a testament to Sailors for the Sea and others to keep the battles going so we really can’t give up hope.” He also noted that sailors can make a difference by looking at their own boats: “it’s a place where you guys are already adapting, thinking about how to make do with less and being really efficient, and I think there could be some cross-pollination in terms of the adaptation discussions. I think you should all make sure that you are members of Sailors for the Sea. I think there are ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Those are the practical things.

Matt Peterson ended the panel encouraging people to: “reclaim your role as citizens, become a citizen entrepreneur, unleash your crazy ideas as you try to take responsibility for your little corner of the world, on the ocean, or if it’s your twitter account, using whatever channels you have, what ever communities you are part of, to be a part of turning it all around!

Antigua Sailing Week!

Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 2.29.05 PMThis weekend kicks off Antigua Sailing Week! This year race organizers have teamed up with a local organization, The Environmental Awareness Group of Antigua & Barbuda to help them run Clean Regattas. The event organizers are aiming for Bronze Level Clean Regatta certification by implementing 6 of our Clean Regattas Best Practices. This includes:

  • Water Bottle Reduction
  • Trash Free Regatta
  • No Discharge of  sewage
  • Encouraging use of Alternative Fuels
  • Recycling
  • Reducing Bottom cleaning to reduce bottom paint leeching

Race organizers have also done an excellent job encouraging those racing to join the cause. To learn more, click here.

Moth North American Championship

Moth_North_AmericasThe 2013 Gorilla Rigging Moth North American Championship was held this past weekend in Charleston, SC. Regatta organizers and sailors worked hard to achieve a Bronze Level Clean Regatta certification by meeting 5 of our Clean Regatta Best Practices.

This fun and exciting sailing class actually moved their winter series from Miami to Charleston this year based on the problem of running over plastic bags in Miami. Plastic bags, often mistaken by turtles as jellyfish, also cause big problems for Moths; generally causing them to flip and loose the race. Other rather gruesome face cuts and bruises resulted from plastic bags as well. Learn more about the damages to the Moth fleet by the  bag fish in our past blog post: Plastic Pollution: Have you caught a bag fish lately?

Sailors were happy to report that no one ran over any trash during the regatta and they even held a beach clean up to ensure the beautiful Cooper River stays clean for years to come! Congrats to the sailors and their new US Class Sponsor, our partner 11th Hour Racing for working hard to make this an environmentally friendly regatta. Watch the video below to see the moth sailors in action.

Gold for BVI Spring Regatta!

Pictured: Simon Potter, (Managing Director, RTW), Judy Petz (Regatta Director), Dan Pingaro (CEO) & Annie Brett, Sailors for the Seas, Governor Boyd McCleary, Abby O'Neal Green VI (Board of Directors), Jacob Barron, Master Glassbower, Green VI

Pictured: Simon Potter, (Managing Director, RTW), Judy Petz (Regatta Director), Dan Pingaro (CEO) & Annie Brett, Sailors for the Seas, Governor Boyd McCleary, Abby O’Neal Green VI (Board of Directors), Jacob Barron, Master Glassbower, Green VI

The BVI Spring Regatta just finished another great Clean Regatta! Last year the event was the first ever Gold Level Clean Regatta outside of the United States. One of the major accomplishment that year was offsetting the regattas carbon footprint. This was done in thanks to race participants and Heineken supporting local recycling initiatives through GreenVI.

This year, the BVI Spring Regatta continued their strong record and earned Gold certification again. Some of the Best Practices implemented include:

Glass is collected separately and recycled at the Green VI glass blowing studio.

Glass is collected separately and recycled at the Green VI glass blowing studio.

  • Distributing reusable water bottles to race participants and placing free water stations throughout the venue (No small feat in the Caribbean)
  • The Green Rangers, a large and enthusiastic green team made up of local youth, keeping the event site free of debris
  • Working with Green VI to recycle glass and aluminum
  • Placing oil spill kits in all motorized vessels
  • Electronic registration systems and TV screens to display race results (A major paper reducer!)
  • Biodegradable cups and utensils at the bar and food vendors
  • Notice to participants emphasizing gray water reduction, conducting maintenance in contained locations, not cleaning hulls in sensitive harbor areas and using shore facilities to prevent blackwater discharge
  • Food vendors collected food waste in buckets to be given to local pigs.
  • Non-toxic cleaning products used and promoted to competitors
Pigs! - A creative composting option.

Pigs! – A creative composting solution.

We continue to be inspired by the enthusiasm and dedication of the BVI Spring Regatta and it’s sponsors, and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future to promote ocean conservation in the Caribbean.

Sustainability in the Caribbean

Green VI Glass StudioThis week the BVI Spring Regatta gets underway and many sailors have descended upon Tortola for this exciting event. The regattas organizers have made a strong commitment to Clean Regattas over the past four years, and last year was the first Gold Level Clean Regatta outside the United States. (Look for a report on their 2013 Clean Regatta certification next week.)

Glass Souvenirs from Green VI

Glass Souvenirs

With such a strong focus on sustainability at the regatta, we wanted to learn more about green initiatives year round.  This months Ocean Watch Essay features Green VI, an organization dedicated to addressing waste management issues in the British Virgin Islands. We were surprised to learn that an estimated 3.8 million bottles were imported into Tortola in 1996. The Green VI’s glass studio takes some of that  trash and turns it into treasure! The beautiful, handmade glass blown objects are then sold as souvenirs,  and profits support other environmental initiatives in the BVI.

Learn more about their work by reading the full essay:  Waste Management Problems in the Caribbean: How Green VI targets these issues.

2013 Clean Regattas Season

Colorful spinnakers at the 2013 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Photo credit ©Bob Grieser/OUTSIDEIMAGES.COM

Colorful spinnakers at the 2013 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Photo credit ©Bob Grieser/OUTSIDEIMAGES.COM

The 2013 Clean Regattas season is off to a fantastic start with our first Clean Regatta in Japan kicking of the year! Next the fifth year of participation from the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta lead to their first gold level certification, and currently Bacardi Miami Sailing Week is aiming for bronze level certification for the first time! Clean Regattas produce less waste, reduce an events environmental impact, and raise awareness of ocean conservation. Register your regatta today! Below is a list of regattas currently registered for 2013!

Louis Vuitton Cup – San Francisco, CA, July 4 – August 30
Red Bull Youth America’s Cup – San Francisco, CA, September 1 – 4
America’s Cup Finals – San Francisco, CA, September 7 – 21

San Diego Yacht Club – San Diego, CA, Full 2013 Season
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta – St. Maarten, Feb. 28 – March 3
BVI Spring Regatta – Nanny Cay Marina, March 25 -31=
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week – Charleston, SC, April 18 – 21
Nantucket Race Week – Nantucket Community Sailing, August 10 – 18

MC Nationals – Clear Lake Yacht Club-MC Sailing Association, June 26 – 29
Vineyard Cup – Sail Martha’s Vineyard, July 12 – 14

BACARDI Miami Sailing Week – Miami, FL, March 3 – 9
Regata Internacional Bahia de Banderas – Vallarta Yacht Club, March 19 – 23
WesMex International Small Boat Regatta – Vallarta Yacht Club, April 18 – 21
Antigua Sailing Week – Antigua Yacht Club, April 27 – May 3
SJRYC Centennial Year Rhumbline Regatta – St. Joseph River Yacht Club, June 14 – 15CleanRegattas_Logo_Copyright2
Emerald Cup Regatta
 – Triton Yacht Club, June 28 – 30

Hayama Marine Yacht Club – Toyko, Japan, Feb. 3
Barbados Mount Gay Rum Regatta – Barbados, May 16 – 19
Sails Up 4 Cancer – Mystic River Yacht Club, June 21 – 22

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta started today! Race organizers have been working hard to mitigate their environmental impact on this beautiful island. While there are many challenges faced to make an event in the Caribbean a Gold Level Clean Regatta, organizers have found creative ways to reduce their environmental impact and raise awareness of the importance of ocean conservation. (See the list below pictures)

1.Biodegradable Water Bottles
2.Supporting conservation on island by collecting donations for Nature Foundation
3.Reusable water bottles & coffee tumblers given out in goody bags & to volunteers
4.Cups and bags used made from plant sourced biodegradable materials
5.Eliminated use of straws, reducing plastic waste
6.Education through Regatta Art Competition
7. Raising awareness of ocean conservation with Sailors for the Sea Clean Regattas messaging
8. Boats participating in regatta are not allowed to throw trash overboard
9. Trash bins are well placed and readily available at top of docks
10. Reusable Trophies
11. Paper free results & no flyers in goody bag – this has helped the regatta reduce paper use by at least 6 cases over the years.
12. Recycling – first year they are able to recycle cans & water bottles!
13. Beach Clean Up – Clean St. Maarten hired during event, and they will hold a second clean up with children after the event.
14. Reusable bow stickers
15. Gill the tech gear sponsor provided shirts made from 100% Recycled Polyester for regatta staff, additional some of the regatta merchandise is made from this material as well.

America’s Cup World Series achieve Platinum Clean Regatta certification

Green Team sorting at recycling station.

Green Team sorting at recycling station.

Sailors for the Sea is recognizing the America’s Cup World Series San Francisco regattas each with the first-ever Platinum level Clean Regattas certification. These regattas are the first to achieve platinum level certification, which recognizes achieving almost all possible points.

Some innovative highlights that helped the America’s Cup achieve this certification include:

  • Styrofoam (from computer packaging) was donated to Waste to Waves – to make surfboards!bike guide
  • Sourced Non-PVC branding materials for signs/banners
  • Providing free local drinking water for spectators
  • Use of of biodiesel and solar for event power
  • Serving only sustainably harvested seafood
  • Compostable service ware at concessions
  • Strong plan to encourage spectators to use bike and public transit
  • Outreach programs promoting marine protection through the America’s Cup Healthy Ocean Project.
  • A 98% landfill diversion rate at the second ACWS San Francisco event last October. Green teams helped separate, trash, composting, and recycling. 9.89 tons of waste was recycle, 3.28 tons composted, and only .27 tons sent to the landfill.

IMG_0968We are very excited to see the progress made by the America’s Cup World Series events in regards to their commitment to Clean Regattas, which started by achieving a Bronze level certification at the first event in Cascais, Portugal. Sailors for the Sea executive director Dan Pingaro notes, “The AC World Series events have been conducted with a high degree of environmental consciousness and attention to minimizing any potential negative impact the events could have on the local ecosystem. Together we have established a strong track record of success that includes action and education.”

For more information, read the full press release.

Clean Regatta Video

We would like to give a special thanks to all the organizers, participants and volunteers who have helped grow the Clean Regattas programs! Thanks to your efforts, this year:

  • Over 80,000 sailors participated in Clean Regattas
  • 75,000 disposable plastic bottles were prevented from entering the waste stream
  • Over 30 tons of food waste was composted
  • 17 regattas achieved Gold certification, including the first ever Gold outside of the US at BVI Race Week

This commitment helps ensure that our oceans will stay healthy for generations to come. Check out our new video, which illustrates the impact just one regatta series can have:

Now is the time to register your 2013 Clean Regatta! We’re adding tons of new resources this year, web badges to show off your certifications, and more. As always, please let us know if there is anything you would like to see improved about the Clean Regattas experience.