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Cowes Week 2014: sustainability unwrapped at world famous sailing regatta



A spectacular highlight of Britain’s sporting calendar, the annual racing regatta of Cowes Week is set to open with a ‘Green Blue Day’ on Saturday, which will encourage acts of sustainability, and provide a platform to raise awareness of the impact of boating on the environment.

Cowes Week has a glorious history and tradition as it is one of the oldest sailing regattas in the world. The yacht club, Royal Yacht Squadron, were the first to organise the prestigious race in 1826, which later grew into the event it is today. They also helped to formulate the early rules and regulations of sailing.

This long standing spectacle will attract around 100,000 spectators to the shores of the Isle of Wight, and 7,000 competitors will compete in 1,000 yachts across 40 classes.

As part of the week, the organisers have joined forces with The Green Blue and Sunsail to support green and environmental programmes at the regatta.

The Green Blue, created by the British Marine Federation and the Royal Yachting Association, is an environmental initiative to help boats reduce their impact on the environment.

Sailing holiday company, Sunsail, has been an instrumental player behind some of the recommendations for green initiatives, and continues to show its support for sustainable boating at Cowes Week. It has also made major advancements in environment management to the fleet in Port Solent.

Many of the green offerings, advice and incentives being promoted in 2014 include simple actions like bringing a reusable water bottle to the event, which can refilled for free during the week, and a range of free environmental products.

Jane Swan, The Green Blue project manager, said “The Solent [Isle of Wight] is a unique backdrop to this amazing event and the perfect platform to raise awareness of how easy sustainable boating can be and how important it is to keep the sailing waters around us in great shape.”

For sailing to continue to expand and thrive organisers of this and other events like the America’s Cup should look to recognise prominent environmental issues associated with the races and embrace landmark steps in sustainability, in order to continue to attract enthusiastic boaters and sailors and create a new era of responsible boating.

Photo: Christian Beasley via Flickr

Further reading:

A green Tour de France? Carbon Trust to measure environmental impact

Wimbledon 2014: serving strawberries and sustainability

Royal Ascot: what is horse racing doing around sustainability?

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Glyndebourne: why the UK’s leading opera festival backs sustainability