The Real Bananas. An Interview with Andy Green

Andy Green was lead Colour Commentator for the 2007 America’s Cup for US Network Versus and in 2009 for the America’s Cup World Feed.  Along side Tucker Thompson, Andy Green is providing America’s Cup fans world wide with an exciting and up to the minute view of the 2013 America’s Cup.  

2013 America's Cup

While in San Francisco a few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to catch a little bit of  the 2013 Louis Vuitton round robin racing.  While there, I witnessed Teams Oracle and Luna Rossa making their way around the course and by my last day in the city, all 4 were out practicing.  Believe me, the AC72 is more than impressive and with the Golden Gate Bridge and rolling hills that line the bay, It’s a view that would take anyone’s breath away.

With the America’s Cup village set up at Marina Green and the America’s Cup Park at Pier 39, the spectating opportunities are vast and entertaining as well.  Despite the fact that only one boat was sailing at a time, America’s Cup commentators, Andy Green and Tucker Thompson were able to provide the crowd with valuable information about the race, model of boat, and tid bits about what it’s like to sail on San Francisco Bay.

While visiting the Puma Lounge, I took a minute to chat with Andy Green, 11th Hour Racing Ambassador, to get his perspective on the 2013 America’s Cup.

This Is The Reason by Jeremy Pochman and Connor Wallace

Co-Founder of 11th Hour Racing, Jeremy’s goal is underscore the bonds between human and water and land through sailboat racing, recognizing that we can push each other to find better solutions for better sailing practices.

A few weeks ago, my friend and colleague – Captain Connor Wallace – went out for a sail on his Hobie 16.  His goal was to fly a hull over a jetty.  Yes, a rock jetty.  It might sound like a ridiculous endeavor – and perhaps, maybe, it is – but look at what came out of it.  This is the reason, I think, we all sail.  Thank you, Connor.

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.

If I knew then, what I know now by Dave Rearick

Dave Rearick began sailing as a teenager on the shores of Lake Michigan. Follow Dave’s adventures leading up to his single-handed sailing Bodacious Dream around the world this fall at www.bodaciousdream.com & www.bodaciousdreamexpeditions.com

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I’ve said it, you’ve said it, everyone has said it at one time or another … but have any of us ever really considered what it means? Just imagine … if you DID know then what you know now? What if you knew about recycling, say back in 1960, or about sustainability when you were 12 or about global climate change in 1980, when you were just 9 years old?

In May, in between Atlantic Cup race legs, 11th Hour Racing and race organizers honored several of us skippers with the opportunity to spend a sunny afternoon in New York City and a drizzly one in Newport, RI with groups of school-aged kids, touching upon all sorts of things sailing and ocean-related. Suddenly, we found ourselves cast into a whirl of questions, laughter and boundless energy, sharing some of what we know “now” about the life we live and love, with kids today … of all ages, a sort of current day pool of “then.”

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BoDream’s co-skipper Matt Scharl lets the kids try on a PFD.

We watched 5 and 6 year olds giggling as they turned winches at the dock, 8 and 9 year olds visiting a harbor world in the very heart of their own city, that they probably didn’t know existed, 12 and 14 year olds tossing out questions as they sat on a Class 40 and listened to a skipper talk about sailing across an ocean or around the world. It provided us a special opportunity to share some of our experience – the mistakes, the rewards and the accomplishments with these open, fresh minds that might one day benefit from knowing some of what we know now in their years of “then.”

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Matt and Dave field some tough questions.

Of course, nothing can keep these kids from doing their own stumbling, but along the way … whatever touches them today, helps to shape their tomorrows, and perhaps some of what they saw and heard and did, may just stick with them.

It was a wonderful and empowering experience, one I’d not trade for anything. In the course of it, I optimistically hoped that the young girl who climbed all the way into the very front of the forepeak and wouldn’t come out until everyone was leaving, might one day grow to have just as much tenacity and confidence when backed into a tight spot negotiating an environmentally sensitive treaty … or that the group of seven kids, who joined with Sam Holiday, to try with all their might to win a tug-of-war contest against the turn of a winch powered by one small hand, might grow to remember how a group of people can stand up to and eventually hold back the inappropriately powerful turn of a bad industry. And the young girl, frightened to take that step from the dock to the boat, who looked down at debris floating in the water and asked, “What’s that stuff? Might she grow up instead to ask … “WHY that stuff?”

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Sam Holiday w/ some of the kids.

Though it seems all fun and whimsical when lively, giggling kids come bounding down the docks, it reminds me of the immense responsibility we have as adults when graced with these chances to help guide and share with young minds some of the knowledge (and more importantly, the wisdom) that we have gathered through our years that might possibly one day help to tip the scales for them in favor of the amazing future that awaits us all, if we learn to learn together.

“Education” is a hotly debated term these days … and as such, its future is questioned and argued daily, mostly by people who are neither students nor teachers. “Learning,” on the other hand, is personal and life-long. You may well use a smartphone, a tablet, an online course … not to mention a sailboat, to educate yourself about something, BUT the true test of what you learned will not be your test score as much as it will be the tangible gifts that a new skill or awareness brings to your life and to your relationships with others.

As sailors know only too well, we all learn from each other. We learn from each other at any age, and so we should try not to hesitate, but to reach out and share our experience … because wisdom, hard won, is one of life’s greatest gifts. But only when it’s shared, does its power to inspire and change become activated.

That seems to me to be the key to building the kind of world where we can learn to identify and solve problems together … because soon enough, we will sail beyond the horizon, and it will be these kids’ turn to be the voice of experience and to share their “now,” with another new generation being their “then.”

                 Life is a grand adventure,

                                               live it all,

                                                         live it always.

– Dave Rearick (Skipper of Bodacious Dream #118)

 

Running The Carbon Neutral Sailing Race by -Julianna Barbieri

 

Julianna is the co-creator of the Atlantic Cup and co-Founder of Manuka Sports Event Management, the company that organizes and puts on the Atlantic Cup each year.

I often get quizzical looks when I tell people I run a carbon neutral sailing race. Most people, who don’t sail, simply assume that sailing is carbon neutral. Logic would say that sails are powered by wind and therefore you aren’t using any fossil fuel so what’s the carbon impact.  Yet when you start to add up all the myriad of things that go into running an event (not just a sailing event)…well there’s an awful lot of carbon emissions created.

For instance:

  • Electricity usage
  • Hours of monitor usage
  • Hotel night stays
  • Attendee travel
  • Printing of signage
  • Food production
  • Food waste and other waste
  • Shipping
  • Creation of event materials – programs, tickets etc.
  • Office supplies
  • Water bottles

Now add in the sailboats and teams

  • Support and Competitor Fuel consumption
  • On board energy production
  • Competitor travel
  • Water (not the water they sail on)
  • Cleaning products
  • Waste

When you stop and look at everything we do to put on one event it really does demand a lot of the earth’s resources.  Getting back to just the sailing , what many people don’t realize is that to race offshore you need electronics and as we all know electronics don’t mysteriously power themselves.

The Class 40, the boat used in the Atlantic Cup, is designed to race offshore and has a good deal of electronic systems on board: standard navigational displays, routing computers, water ballast and an autopilot to name a few.

So where does all this energy required to get everyone and everything from one place to the next come from?

The Atlantic Cup takes an overarching approach so that all event operations are looked at through the lens of how can we minimize impact.  Looking at that list above again, here are some of the ways we aim to reduce our carbon footprint:

Staff travel

Most of the staff car-pooled together white van and box truck, which also transported our equipment and the skipper’s gear.

Hotel Stay

In New York and Newport we stayed in apartments or houses. This eliminated maid service and daily laundering, it also reduced the amount of waste creation in mini soaps and supplies. And by staying in housing as opposed to hotels we were able to minimize our electricity usage as well.

Electricity usage

We aim to host outdoor events but when that’s not possible, we work with venues who use energy-efficient lighting and then track all those hours of monitor time, electricity time and calculate our kWh usage.

Hours of monitor usage

This year we estimated 1,824 hours of monitor use for staff and competitors.

Attendee travel

Always a tough one to calculate, but it’s important to determine how many miles people traveled to come to the myriad of events we put on. Our post-race estimate is 62,259.75 miles traveled by attendees.

Printing of signage (banners, flags, tents)

Things we keep in mind when purchasing any banners or signage: Where are the signs coming from? Are they made with recyclable materials? Will they have a usable life of more than one year? For instance, a lot of durable outdoor signage is made with PVC, we aim to avoid purchasing any PVC signage. Also vinyl is not recyclable, however there is an after market so we will bring what we no longer need to a facility in Pawtucket, RI so it can avoid the landfill.

Food production (i.e. where does the food come from, is it from a sustainable source)

This involves asking a lot of questions of the restaurants, venues and caterers and then working out a menu that keeps food as local as possible and as sustainable as possible. (i.e. Shrimp can come from as far away as Thailand, perhaps that is not the best option.)

Food waste and other waste (where does the food go, where does all of the other trash and/or recycling go)

We calculated the distance all of our waste had to travel this year to get to a landfill or recycling transfer station. Some cities have a shorter distance to travel than others. For instance in New York City waste travels and average of 272 miles before getting to a landfill. In Newport and Charleston we coordinated with local compost facilities and our event staff personally drove the compost to area facilities.

Shipping

This can be a huge carbon offender and it’s somewhat unavoidable, however, some there are things we do to mitigate excessive shipping. By driving our staff and all of our gear to and from all of three cities we travel to we eliminate the need to for shipping of our gear and skippers’ gear. However, there are a lot of items we have coming to us from various places so again looking at our vendors and asking where their facility is located, how far will this have to travel to get to us can help us make informed decisions about who to work with. Often times you can find vendors who offset the shipping as well. We ordered recycled paper for printing of all of our posters and the company we worked with offsets all of their shipping costs with wind power.

Creation of event materials – programs, posters, flyers

One of our race partners is WindCheck Magazine and they print our race guide. Their magazine is always printed on 100% recycled paper and instead of printing a separate guide we are an insert within their May issue. This reduces the amount of additional printing resources and also keeps our material on recycled paper.

Office supplies

This really isn’t difficult, but it is a mindset and there is definitely a cost associated with making sure you buy recycled, renewable and sustainable product

Water Bottles

The Atlantic Cup has a no single use plastic water bottle policy. To fulfill that goal there are always a lot of reusable bottles around. All event staff and volunteers are given bottles. All guests at our events in New York City were given bottles. We work with all of our event venues to make sure no one is serving or selling any plastic water bottles. Another race partner Zip2Water supplies our water filling stations that travel with us from venue to venue so that there is always a source of water available to anyone.

Liberty Bottleworks

Now add in the sailboats and teams

Support boats

Support boats are a huge offender of fuel consumption, but they are a necessary evil of running a sailboat race. I am hopeful that someone who has the engineering know how can create a completely hybrid electric engine that we can use for our race and other races across the country. One thing we do though in the meantime is use boats that are in each city as opposed to transporting boats by land to each place we go.

Competitor boats

The Class 40 requires all boats to have an engine, which generally is used for getting to and from the docks and for charging and powering electronics while offshore. It’s also often used as a heat source. The Atlantic Cup or the Class do not make any stipulations about carrying a certain amount of fuel while racing, giving teams the option to lighten their weight by minimizing the amount of fuel they take and deriving their energy from an alternative fuel source. Most teams, however will carry some fuel in case of emergency and to get to and from the docks.

To mitigate this, Newport Biodiesel supplies all of the competitor boats with biodiesel to create a B20 blend (that’s 80% unleaded and 20% biodiesel). Realistically you could put 100% biodiesel in your marine engine and some of the teams do use more, but we set the bar at 80/20.

biodatcupOn board energy production

The Class 40s are strongly encouraged to carry an alternative source of energy production separate from their engine. Some teams use a hydrogenerator, some use fuel cells and some use solar panels. This year Dragon sailed by Mike Hennessy and Rob Windsor did both distance legs of the Atlantic Cup without turning their engine on once and only using the hydrogenerator as a fuel source.

Competitor travel

Again tracking where are the competitors coming from to be able to do the race. In many instances they’ll have sailed into Charleston, but a lot of them do fly in so we track their travel and add that to our overall footprint.

Water (not the water they sail on)

For whatever reason using plastic water bottles has seemed to become the norm on a lot of sailing vessels these days, perhaps it’s a lazy habit, but in any case we don’t allow them in the event. All Class40s  hold at least 1 40 liter tank of water. We supply the teams with water bottles and a filling station so they can fill up and use their tanks while racing.

Cleaning products

Many boat-cleaning products are highly toxic. We supplied all teams with Matt Chem Marine hull and deck cleaner, black streak remover and engine cleaner this year. Matt Chem’s products are all biodegradable and sustainable and what we heard is that they work, which we know has been a complaint from competitors in the past about some of the eco-friendly cleaning products.

Waste

We supply each team with compostable trash bags. Most of the waste that the teams create that isn’t recyclable while offshore will break down over time in a landfill.  So why would we give the teams plastic trash bags that will never breakdown?

greenclean

Throughout the event we were tracking our footprint and when the event concluded we provided a recap document to Green Mountain Energy, the official energy sponsor and carbon offset provider to the Atlantic Cup. They currently have our information and are calculating what our footprint for the 2013 event was. Once that’s complete they will purchase Renewable Energy Credits and Carbon Offsets to bring us to a carbon neutral status.

While in some respects we are a significant event in the US on the sailing calendar we are in many respects a small event in comparison to a Super Bowl or Olympics. However, what we’re doing is scale-able and it’s doable, as long as those who are in charge of the event adopt a mindset and approach that puts sustainability and our planet first.

atcupprizegiving

Two Chains, Four Wheels by Terry Halpin

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.

~ Charles M. Schulz

On May 16th, 11th Hour Racing and Manuka Sports hosted, Living on the Edge, a panel discussion on coastal communities and climate change.  The panel discussion, in conjunction with the Atlantic Cup, took place in New York City, more than 200 miles from 11th Hour Racing’s home in Newport, RI.  The majority of our staff took the train in to the city to attend the event.  However Rob MacMillan, our Program Adviser and Terry Halpin, 11th Hour Racing Ambassador, decided it would be a grand adventure to ride bikes to the city.  This is their story.


Ride to NYC

Rob's big adventure

Q: You are both active sailing competitors.  How does riding a bike compare to sailing?  Do you feel there are similarities?

There are many similarities that make the two sports complimentary.   There are many disciplines and subsets within each sport that allow for participation and enjoyment for just about anybody at every level.

Competitive, big boat sailing requires physicality, coordinated team work, tactical genius, and the use of technology as the cornerstones of success.  The same is true of professional bike racing teams that compete in prestigious events such as the Giro D’Italia or the Tour de France.  Both require intense training, mental focus and commitment.

There really is something for everyone under the umbrella of each sport and they both offer ways to satisfy the desire to compete and enjoy the beauty of their respective operating environments.

Q: Where in the world have you ridden and how does it compare to riding in the US?

Cycling is a part of the culture in Europe.  I feel fortunate to have been able to ride in most of the locations that I have traveled to for competitive sailing.  New Zeland, France, Italy, Spain, and South Africa and for the most part, my experiences have been overwhelmingly positive.  The same can be said for the riding both Rob and I have done here in the US, including  most of New England, South Eastern Florida, and the Bay Area of San Francisco, oh and a couple of thousand laps around Aquidneck Island.  What should be stressed is that the steep, twisting country roads of coastal Sardinia are no more or less dangerous to bikers than the back roads or suburbs of any-town USA.  It’s about driver awareness and in the US, it just isn’t woven in to our fabric yet.

tour-de-france_2

Q: Choosing to Ride through NYC is not something everyone would want to sign up for.  What led you to that decision and how did it compare to other rides you have done in the states.

Rob planted the suggestion a couple of weeks before the Atlantic Cup and shortly thereafter, it became something more like a challenge.  Originally, he wanted to ride the length of the 180 or so miles from Newport to New York over a two-day period; Instead we drove to New London, took a ferry across to Orient Point, and began the 110 mile trip from there.  I had entered a 100 mile race in New York that would cap the weekend so at that point, I was all in.  While I was well-trained for the upcoming race, I had never ridden more than 75 miles in one go and had a feeling that neither had Rob, this was certainly going to be interesting.  Despite the insanity of riding through Queens during rush hour, we both felt that crossing over into Manhattan after starting in the “wine country” of Long Island hours earlier, was a great feeling.

Interestingly, the ride through NYC proper (if you don’t count the borough of Queens) was actually pretty easy.  The many recently added bike lanes improved the conditions and once south of mid-town at rush hour, the traffic thinned out and it was clear “sailing” to the event location at North Cove.

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Q: Along the way what did you notice about the roadways or landscape you rode through.  Do you feel the trash and pollution you found relates back to Marine debris and Clean regattas?

The amount of trash along the roadways was ridiculous.  It stretched far off the road and was much more obvious from the bike than would have been from a car.  Sadly, the majority of the trash and waste will end up in the waterways eventually.  Seeing this re-enforced the idea that everything is connected and we have to do a much better job of recognizing the impact everything can have.

For those who aren’t familiar with the North Fork of Long Island, it’s pretty rural with many farms and vineyards as you head West.  What I found interesting about the first 35-40 miles is that while the scenery is reminiscent of famous paintings the road itself was a constant stream of heavy, commercial vehicles heading (loudly) in both directions.  The noise and soot produced from the traffic was, at times, a little overwhelming, the diesel particulates and dust would take a toll on my lungs later on in the ride.  Around mile 40 the scenery changes quite dramatically to one of endless strip malls and it doesn’t stop until you get to the affluent areas around Huntington.  Shortly after that you’re in the borough of Queens.  While for a good portion of the ride we were afforded either a generous bike or break-down lane, it was often littered with broken glass, fast-food containers, or just bits and pieces of vehicles that had fallen off and been kicked to the curb by the traffic.  One of the more depressing sights was an estuary of Long Island Sound we passed by just before entering Queens.  The tide was out and the exposed muddy bottom was strewn with the remnants of old docks, sunken and abandoned boats, and many more examples of the detritus of people.  The water was the color of hot chocolate and looked as if nothing could be capable of living in it never mind using it for recreational activity.  You have to wonder how the people we as humans can accept this as normal and how did we become so careless.  It’s a monumental task but we have to do a better job.

terryandrobride

Photo Credits:

Tour de France scene

Bike Lane

This Dragon is hungry for the Atlantic Cup by Rob Windsor

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Rob Windsor is an 11th Hour Racing ambassador.  When not sailing short-handed across the Atlantic, he enjoys relaxing at his home with his family in New York. 

Another Atlantic Cup has come and gone and it appears I will have to wait another year to go for the win in America’s Sailing Race.   I returned to the event for the 3rd time. This year sailing on Michael Hennessy’s Dragon. We had some flashes of brilliance and led both of the offshore legs for a bit. While we would have liked a different result, I felt the event was stellar.

Manuka Sports and 11th Hour Racing put forth a quality regatta including several new events at each stopover. Each were fun and exciting to be a part of. In Charleston I had the pleasure of speaking to CORA (Charleston Offshore Racing Association) at their annual meeting. It was great to see the excitement in the members about having a professional offshore event in their back yard. I also gave them a little story about Dragon’s experience on the last day of Charleston Race Week. We had a scary mishap that almost put us on the rocks. A harsh reminder to be aware of your surroundings and keep your head in the game. The group proceeded to talk about their own challenging experiences and the deep connection between sailors and predictably, unpredictable weather.

In NYC, we attended Living on the Edge, a panel of scientists, journalists and sailors, discussing the fate of our oceans and what we as sailors can do to facilitate change. I enjoyed this one the most; As an 11th hour ambassador and someone who makes a living on the ocean, it was nice to hear that there are proactive individuals and communities interested in protecting our waters

In Newport, we attended newportFILM‘s screening of The Last Ocean. A film about over fishing in Antarctica and what is being done to stop it. It was an eye-opening film, shining a light on the fact that we have obviously taken all we can from the rest of the sea if we are now headed to the end of the earth to find fish. It’s scary when you think about it that way and should act as a red flag to all of us.

In the end, the event was well run and competition was close. I will be chomping at the bit for the next 11 months waiting to get back to Charleston, SC for the start of the 2014 Atlantic Cup.
The Atlantic Cup

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.

Rule 55

Written by Matt Knowles

Matt is the president of the Moth class and member of the US Sailing racing rules committee.

The letter was originally published on Sailing Anarchy under the thread: Nanny State about Rule 55

The Racing Rules of Sailing 2013-2016 includes a new rule, rule 55 TRASH DISPOSAL: A competitor shall not intentionally put trash in the water

Moth sailing

I want to take a crack at arguing that ISAF was on the right track with the new rule 55, which bans intentionally putting trash in the water.

I am a member of the US SAILING Racing Rules Committee, which proposed the rule to ISAF last year.  I am also the head of the US Moth Class, which recently partnered with 11th Hour Racing to improve the environmental impact and image of our class and our sport.  Let me start with this premise: sailors should not intentionally discard non-biodegradable objects (i.e., trash) in the water.  For those who don’t buy that premise, all I can say is I am glad that fewer and fewer sailors agree with you.

But for those who agree that sailors shouldn’t be intentionally throwing trash in the water, here is my argument for why this rule is a good thing.  First, there is a problem: anyone who looks carefully knows that most major regattas lead to a certain amount of trash ending up in the water, whether intentionally or not.

Second, the current solutions are inadequate.  True, in the US state and federal laws generally prohibit discharging trash.  But this isn’t the case everywhere.  More importantly, these rules are not getting the job done.  One person remarked that if rule 55 is going to be added, why not add a rule against murder on the racecourse too?  Well, we don’t have a murder problem at most regattas, but we do have a trash problem.  Unlike laws that are up to the police to enforce, the RRS are rules that each of us has a duty to enforce and self-police.  Likewise, there are a lot of federal and state laws that sailors don’t take seriously – life is too short – but by putting this rule in the RRS, the message is that environmental impact is something that our sport must take seriously if we are going to grow and thrive.

Third, this rule isn’t actually a new addition to the rule-book.  It has long been part of the standard sailing instructions listed in Appendix L – and most regattas adopted it.  Given this, ISAF decided to move it from the “default” rules of Appendix L to the main body of the rules which apply without being invoked by sailing instructions.  This just changes the default.  If you are a regatta organizer and think that having clean water to race on is less important than allowing boats to discharge rubber bands into the water to make their kite sets better, then you can delete rule 55.

Fourth, this rule is in part about image – and that’s a good thing.  Sailing faces many challenges, and one of our selling points is the fact that we don’t need to consume much carbon or produce that much trash to do what we do.  Image is important, and laws and rules do reflect values.  I think a core value of our sport is that we do what we can to protect the racecourse we sail on, and I’m glad that, for all its flaws, ISAF got this one right.

*This letter has been modified for this this blog post.  To read the original please visit sailinganarchy.com