Clean Green Regatta

What’s Green in 2019

Water Bottes- Single Use Plastic Free

“Single Use Plastic Free”  Many crews are trying to use refillable water bottles, but we still see cases and cases of single use plastic bottles going on board race boats.  If you can’t beat em, join em, so this year we will again offer refillable water bottles, encourage use on all boats and have free water available in the village, but we will also have a contest to ensure all those plastic bottles get recycled.  You have 24 in a case, you bring 24 back to the recycling area and you’ll be a winner.  We will all be winners.

Youth Sailors Go Old School

To help recycle the thousands of single use bottles, a number of dingy’s will be postponed around the Regatta Village to make it easy to deposit your empty bottle.  Like old days of collecting bottles for the deposit, the BVI youth sailors will earn $.05 cents for each bottle they collect which will go towards continued rebuilding of the the youth sailing equipment.   

Reducing our environmental footprint has been the goal of BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival.  We have partnered with Sailors for the Sea, a leading conservation organization, to bring innovations to Caribbean regattas for the last decade.  Our moto has always been “recycle, reuse, repurpose”.  Living in a territory of islands surrounded by some of the most beautiful waters in the world has made us more cognizant of the fragile balance between man and nature.  Since Irma and Maria devastated the BVI, creating 5 years of debris in two single day events, living responsibly and sustainably is more important than ever.

As pioneers aiming toward sustaining this wonderful land where we work and play, the BVI Spring Regatta has tried to up our game each year by adding new policies to extend our reach and allow us to impact our community more positively.  We understand that reaching out allows a mutual understanding of the importance of education and practices that help us set priorities.  The regatta allows us to use our international platform to educate others in ways that encourage people to become more aware of the effects their lifestyle choices have on the environment and the community and by doing so, encourage them to incorporate sustainability in their daily lives to protect our finite resources.

Among the measures the Spring Regatta has incorporated to create a more sustainable event are:

2008    Recycled glass and plastic during regatta even though there was no official recycling program on-island.  Reserved for future recycling program.

2009    Became the first regatta recognized as a Clean Regatta by Sailors for the Sea with their Silver Certificate.  Initiatives included; giving refillable water bottles with free water refills during the event.  Banning the use of plastic straws, gave oil spill pads to all participants, established the Green Rangers.  We organized a community group involving young adults to keep the shores and water clean and dispose of trash and recyclables properly.  Adopted “Sailing Toward Clean and Green” moto.

2010    First Regatta to receive a Gold Certificate from Sailors for the Sea.  Reduced disposable plastic and decreased paper use by distributing press packs electronically and monitored recycling bins.

2011    40th anniversary of the regatta and announced, “The drink you hold this year could be the award you win next year”.

2012    Awards were created from recycled glass and got oil spill kits for all motorized race official boats.

2013    We required all food vendors in the regatta village to place all food in compostable containers – banning Styrofoam from the village.  Further, Heineken matched funds collected from participants with the funds going to GreenVI, local conservation and education organization.  Using recycled materials to create artwork which is sold to fund the island recycling program. This infusion of funds allowed us to purchase carbon offsets and made us the first carbon neutral regatta in the world (recognized by Sailors for the Sea).

2014    Food vendors also required to use compostable cutlery.  Green Boat Award initiated to encouraging participants to follow sustainable procedures on their boats.  Award was made by Nutmeg, a local sustainable goods shop.

2015    Bio bags were given to each boat to use for trash or recycling with a list of green cleaning products along with sustainable suggestions specific to sailing yachts (no discharge of black water, reduce gray water, use of non-toxic bottom paints, no bottom cleaning in sensitive areas, etc). 

Awards made on-island out of recycled glass through GreenVI.

2016    Since open composting areas are not as feasible in the Caribbean (due to the warmth and local pests) we established a compost system distributing scraps from food vendors to local pig farmers (the scraps were picked up by the Pig Man by donkey).  We continued electronic registration and expanded to include all results to decrease paper usage.

2017    Established an initiative based on “How long till it’s decomposed” educating participants in the time needed to decompose popular products, thereby encouraging more responsible use.  Made sure all bar glasses are reusable or compostable. 

2018    Awards locally made and sustainable or usable.  Include a beach clean-up day to assist with recovery. 

2019  A new recycling lounge will be part of the 2019 Regatta Village.  The lounge will have couches, bean bags and comfy seats made from recycled plastic by VI Plastics.  It will be an area for all who want to chill and learn more about what the BVI and the Spring Regatta are doing to recycle, repurpose and reuse, what would otherwise be in the landfill or our beautiful racing waters.  We will continue to use materials from hurricanes damage for the awards and the skippers bags will be made from recycled sailcloth.