College Sailing Comes Clean by John Mollicone

John is the Head Sailing Coach at Brown University.  An outstanding coach, and sailor, John’s coaching goes beyond his tactical expertise.  He sets the bar high when it comes to sportsmanship and stewardship. 

http://www.johnpaynephoto.com/

There is so much information out there about the pollution in our waters and the coastal environment.  The problem is how many of us are doing anything to make things better?  Well, College Sailing (The Intercollegiate Sailing Association) is taking steps in the right direction to ensure that its sailors and coaches are doing their part.  In recent years, College Sailing has instituted rules and policies to bring a different perspective to the world we spend more than half of our year in.  College sailors and coaches practice and compete more than 30 hours per week six months a year making our oceans, rivers, and lakes our home.  If you sail in college then you probably spend more time on or near the water than you do in your dorm room or in class.  Here are some of the ways the college sailing world is making a difference:

Personal Water Bottles: At Brown University, we give each sailor their own water bottle when they join the team.  They bring it to practice each day and to regattas.  It’s College Sailing Policy that each sailor and coach bring their own water bottle to every regatta, eliminating the cases of water bottles we saw for decades.  It is now frowned upon to show up to a College Sailing event with a single use plastic water bottle.  We bring this policy into our daily practices as well.

Powdered Energy Drinks: Sailors are athletes and every athlete needs energy.  Gatorade is popular with our team and instead of using plastic bottles of Gatorade we buy a can of Gatorade powder and our sailors add the right mix to their personal water bottles.

Regatta Hosts Provide H20: At nearly every venue in College Sailing, the regatta hosts provide a water source so sailors and coaches can refill their water bottles.  Zip dispensers, water fountains, and tap water can be found at our weekend events to refill.

Bring a Cooler: Almost every team on the College Sailing Circuit has at least one team cooler to travel to regattas.  Eliminate plastic bags and accumulating trash and keep all of your food in the cooler.  You will save your condiments and left over food for the regatta if you have a cooler to keep everything cool.  You’ll save lots of money as well.

Throw it Out: College Sailing venues are certainly getting cleaner, and picking up trash in parking lots, along the coastline, and in the water is something that college sailors are doing more of.  Having the mindset to keep our waters clean is becoming more evident in the world of College Sailing.  On almost a daily basis, one of my sailors will come along side the coach boat with a piece of trash they picked up while sailing and throw it in the coach boat.  It’s not that hard!

College sailors are carrying these practices into their daily life’s and doing what they can to protect our environment.  Why wouldn’t you when the water is your home more than half the year.

johnpaynephoto.com

All Photos by JOHNPAYNEPHOTO.COM

Checking in from Queensland by Emily Summerell

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. 

SONY DSC

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.

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.

reusable bottle

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.

Atlantic Cup Leg I: Charleston

feather flags

Spring isn’t the only thing in the air in the historical town of Charleston, SC.   The Atlantic Cup has arrived and is in full swing.  With 7 teams and 4 countries represented, this group of short-handed sailors are eager to get off the dock and start the race.

For now the weather predictions are looking, as we say up north, “wicked”  for the first leg which means, the voyage from Charleston to New York City will be highly technical.  This is good news for all of us who will be tracking the race.

The boats have been equipped with hydrogenerators, fuel cells and alternative fossil fuel for the engines they seldom use.  Single use plastic water bottles have been banned from use during the event, both on and off shore, filling stations have been provided, waste has been significantly reduced and recycling bins are abundant.  Top this all off with the fact that Green Mountain Energy has partnered up with the Atlantic Cup to off set the remaining carbon foot print and we are now looking at one of the worlds cleanest professional regattas in the world.  This model for hosting a sustainable event is admirable and one we all hope will continue to catch on globally.

Hydrogenerator

BioDiesel

Zip2

It’s been a pleasure to meet the skippers and learn about their experiences off shore and how using the alternative energy can improve their performance.  Working to find winning solutions for the sport of sailing while increasing the personal investment of sailors in the health of our oceans are attainable goals.  Let’s hope the Atlantic Cup will inspire and set the trend in the sport of sailing.