Emily lives in New South Whales, Australia and is 11th Hour Racing’s first junior ambassador. At 13 she already aspires to sail in the Olympics.
Recently I went up to Queensland to participate in a youth week regatta. This was my first event as an 11th Hour Racing ambassador and was the first time I had the opportunity to look more closely at how a sailing event is run. The number of committee, coach, support and spectator craft is actually quite staggering. There were 225 boats racing on three courses, we had a start, finish, top and bottom mark boat, an on water judge and lots of coach and spectator boats on our course. When you stop to take notice, it is hard to imagine a totally impact neutral, dinghy regatta.
We stayed in a Motel, but the option was available to camp on the Regatta grounds, which a lot of people took up. It is a fantastic idea and credit should go to the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for making the grounds available.
At the regatta, there was a spring water bottle set up for people to help themselves to a plastic cup of water. I filled my water bottle from here each morning. This caught on pretty quick and there was a line of kids refilling their single use water bottles from here by the second day of the regatta. On the down side, there were no recycling bins available, so a lot of plastic got thrown in the general waste bin, including all those plastic drinking cups. Had it been an option, I believe everyone would have used recycling bins.
Perhaps there will be a different set up at NSW Youths Championships coming up in October. With an expected 200 entries, the opportunity to reduce human impact is there. For now, I wonder what we as youth sailors can do to create change. I say start small. Talk to the coaches, yacht clubs and regatta hosts about their recycling set up. How will they make water available to sailors and will sailors be encouraged to reduce, reuse, recycle.