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BVI Spring Regatta find new ways to keep green

by BVI Spring Regatta on 18 Mar
BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival Jacques Vapillon
Environmental concerns seem to be getting a lot of press lately. However, the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival has been involved with protecting the environment for many years. The regatta has partnered with Sailors for the Sea, a leading conservation organization that 'engages, educates, inspires and activates the sailing community toward healing the ocean.' Working together, the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival has become a leader in the Caribbean and is hailed as one of the most innovative events in the Clean Regatta program. By thinking outside the box, regatta director, Judy Petz has discovered many island-specific sustainability practices that have been implemented to make the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival an award winning Clean Regatta for the past eight years and counting.

The regatta is honored to have Nanny Cay Resort and Marina hosting our event again this year. Nanny Cay is environmentally conscious and is run with sustainability in mind so they are perfect colleagues to aid the regatta in the quest for protecting the beautiful waters surrounding the British Virgin Islands.

For many years, the skipper's bags given to all participating yachts have been reusable shopping bags, cold storage bags or dry bags. This year, we will be giving heavy-duty canvas boat bags that are perfect for carrying either beach or shopping items. These skipper's bags will contain lists with green tips and listing the many green initiatives Nanny Cay and the regatta are offering. This year, we are also hoping to focus more on education, pointing out 'How Long Until Dissolves' New in 2017, the clothing being sold at the regatta village will be placed in compostable shopping bags since shopping bags can take 10 to 20 years to decompose.

One of the first issues the regatta dealt with was the plastic waste threatening our oceans today. Plastics often do not decompose when they find their way into the ocean. In 2010, Ms. Petz came up with the idea of providing re-usable water bottles to cut down on the number of single use plastic water bottles being used during the regatta. The BVI Marine Association saw the wisdom of this and stepped in to help sponsor these bottles. We added the goal of eliminating single use plastic water bottles one step further and Clear Water, a large water refill company sponsored and offers free water refills all weekend. This year we have eliminated more plastic cups at the regatta bar by using re-usable and compostable drinks glasses. We are also in our third year of using all compostable containers and cutlery at the food vendor booths.

Since the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival welcomes 3-4,000 people to the village over the course of the weekend, we need a team in place to help with the recycling and clean up. The regatta has partnered with the Filipino Association of the BVI to be our Green Rangers again this year. They understand that the Green Ranger's objective goes far beyond cleaning up the village; it's keeping and maintaining our paradise by being more conscientious with what we use and throw out. Recycle, reuse and repurpose. The Green Rangers will be very visible in the village in their Green shirts sponsored by Seahawk Nautical Coatings.

They are helping us to succeed by carrying out the most important of the best environmental practices: sorting the glass, aluminum cans and the rare plastic for recycling, policing the beach area to keep it free from waste and clean and safe for the enjoyment of all. Association President Dr. Christine Harry says, 'We are honored to be part of the Green Rangers initiative. It is taking the meaning of 'cleanup' to a new level because the effect continues on to years from now, protecting the environment through recycling and using biodegradable materials.'

So, come to the 2017 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival. See how we can all compete, then party and have fun while enjoying and protecting our surrounding waters that are, as Ms. Petz says, 'the beautiful playground that we are so privileged to enjoy.'

Still Time to Enter - 2017 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival - March 27 - April 2.

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