Published: Wednesday, 05 July 2017

Extreme Sailing Series Act 3, Madeira Islands has been awarded Clean Regatta Gold Level certification by Sailors for the Sea.

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(Photos: Lloyd images / Extreme Sailing Series)

The Cascais-based charity partnered with the Stadium Racing championship for the Portuguese Act, in a joint effort to highlight the campaign to save the oceans.

By implementing some important changes to the set-up of the event, as well as running an educational programme that included talks and challenges for the sailors and guests, the Series achieved the second highest level of certification.

Andy Tourell, Event Director of Extreme Sailing Series, said: "We are thrilled to receive this award from Sailors for the Sea. As a global event, we have a responsibility to become more sustainable, and as a sailing regatta the issue of the health of our oceans is close to the heart of every member of our team. The threats to the health of our oceans are real and immediate, and their future is in our hands.

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"It is a pleasure to work in collaboration with Sailors for the Sea to continually seek to improve our own practices, and to communicate and inspire change on a global scale. We can't afford not to.

"We are fully committed to becoming more sustainable and look forward to continuing the practices we implemented here in Madeira as we carry on our global tour, ultimately striving to reach the platinum level of certification.”

This is not the first time that the regatta has teamed up with Sailors for the Sea. In Lisbon last season, volunteers joined the sailors and members of the event team to take part in a beach clean, with the event achieving Silver certification in the Clean Regattas programme.

Extreme Sailing Goes Green In Madeira With Sailors For The Sea

Bernardo Corrêa de Barros, President of the charity, said: "To work with Extreme Sailing Series and with OC Sport again meant a lot to Sailors for the Sea. First of all, it was an honour to work with the best. Second of all, it was a continuation of the job done in 2016 in Lisbon, where we made some really significant changes to the practices of the organisation, the teams and the staff.

"Our ambition is to be a worldwide reference for ocean sustainability issues. Every event that operates on the ocean should understand, like the Extreme Sailing Series has, that it creates an impact on the ocean and that it is possible to reduce that impact.

"If we don't take action right now, by 2050 we will have as much plastic in the ocean as there are fish.”

For the Madeira event, there was a focus on education. As well as giving talks to the sailors and guests about ocean health, including tips on how each individual can make small changes that will make a big difference, the world-class racing teams were challenged to create a video on the subject of sustainability.

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NZ Extreme Sailing Team was announced winner of the 'Green Team' trophy for its efforts in the video challenge, but also for its overall approach to sustainability and its environmentally friendly practices.

Corrêa de Barros added: "Events like the Extreme Sailing Series have tremendous communication, hundreds of reporters, and thousands of people attending. Above all that, they have international personalities like the sailors who, with their voice, can reach the world.

"We also involve the population of the host venue, shaping the minds of everybody that visits the venue of the event. Together we can spread the message of ocean sustainability."

To achieve Gold in the Clean Regattas programme, the Extreme Sailing Series event team minimised the environmental impact of the event in a number of ways:

  • Reduced the use of single-use plastic water bottles.
  • Provided water refilling stations for re-fillable bottles.
  • Met a ratio 1:1 of recycling and landfill bins.
  • Promoted the Clean Regattas programme through public engagement.
  • Reduced the use of paper.
  • Offered sustainable food options for staff and guests.
  • Was trash free; with volunteers and staff litter picking throughout the event in the public Race Village.
  • Provided re-usable dinnerware, with a 100% elimination of single use dinnerware and straws.
  • Encouraged and facilitated the use of alternative transport; cycling, walking, public transport and car-pooling.
  • Used fuel-efficient RIBs.