Clean Green Regatta
Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose
Reducing our environmental footprint has been the goal of BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. 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 in 2017, creating 5 years of debris in two single day events, living responsibly and sustainably is more important than ever.
Since 2008, the Regatta has implemented and followed the Clean Regatta program set by Sailors for the Sea, a leading conservation organization. The Regatta was first awarded the organization’s gold level of certification in 2009 and has worked diligently to maintain that certification.
In 2014, BVISR was recognized as the first carbon neutral regatta in the world as recognized by Sailors of the Sea, following a program where the event partnered with Heineken who matched funds collected from participants and donated to GreenVI, the BVI’s recycling program. This infusion of funds allowed the purchase of carbon offsets.
The Regatta leads, not only by example, but by educating the public in ways that they can make a difference, both small and large. Educational graphics are posted throughout the Regatta venue with suggestions how to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, as well as posters reflecting environmental subjects like, ‘How long till it’s decomposed,’ as visual reminders of our footprint on the environment.
Many crews are trying to use refillable water bottles, but we still see too many cases of single use plastic bottles going on board race boats. We now offer refillable water bottles and encourage their use on all boats. We also have free water available in the Regatta Village.
In the Regatta Village, lounge chairs made by BVI firm VI Plastics from recycled plastics furnish the Eco-Lounge, a fun area for relaxing with a beverage and playing Jenga made from recycled plastic, while a local firm, Nutmeg, has designed and created many of the BVISR awards using recycled and repurposed materials such as used and discarded sails, kiteboard kites, used banners, fabric remnants, vegan and cactus leather to manufacture bags and home accessories on-island.
Please help us in our efforts to maintain a green regatta!
“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 offered again refillable water bottles, encourage use on all boats and have free water available in the village. We also had a contest to ensure all those plastic bottles got recycled.
BVI Youth Sailors Go Old School
To help recycle the thousands of single use bottles, a number of dinghies were positioned around the Regatta Village to make it easy to deposit empty bottles. Like old days of collecting bottles for the deposit, the BVI youth sailors earned $.05 cents for each bottle they collected which will went towards continued rebuilding of the the youth sailing equipment.
A recycling lounge was part of the 2019 Regatta Village. The lounge had couches, bean bags and comfy seats made from recycled plastic by VI Plastics. It was 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.
Awards locally made and sustainable or usable. Include a beach clean-up day to assist with recovery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Awards were created from recycled glass and got oil spill kits for all motorized race official boats.
40th anniversary of the regatta and announced, “The drink you hold this year could be the award you win next year”.
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.
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.
Recycled glass and plastic during regatta even though there was no official recycling program on-island. Reserved for future recycling program.