Please select your home edition
Edition
Henri-Lloyd M-PRO HEADER SW

Environmentalists in the 2022 Newport Bermuda Race

by Jennifer Brett, Sailors for the Sea 19 Feb 14:17 PST 17 June 2022
A view of a recent Newport Bermuda Race send-off for Class 3 of the St. David's Lighthouse Division © Daniel Forster / PPL

In addition to all the usual crew positions - skipper, navigator, tactician - there's a new choice for those registering for the 2022 Newport Bermuda Race: Environmentalist.

This biennial event is a challenging, 635-mile offshore race from Newport, Rhode Island, to Bermuda, and this year, there will be roughly 200 boats at the start on June 17th!

In 2018, the NBR was a Certified Gold level Clean Regatta. For 2022—the Bermuda Race Green Team has their sights set on Platinum, signaling their commitment to the event's sustainability efforts. We recently chatted with Chan Reis, veteran of nine Newport Bermuda races and a member of the event's media team, about developing the Environmentalist crew position and what the goals are.

Sailors for the Sea: How did the idea for adding an onboard environmentalist as a crew position come about?

Chan Reis: Many organizations have environmental officers these days. It seemed a natural evolution to urge skippers to consider naming someone on their crew whose focus is green best practices. It's not intended to be mandatory and seemed a simple way of shifting the focus for a Clean Regatta onboard each boat. The SailGate entry management system has a crew management tool that allows skippers to take this small step in naming an environmental steward. Overall, the results have been positive so far.

SfS: What do you envision the person in this position would do, both in planning for the race and during?

CR: Like navigation, sail handling or tactics, building expertise in environmental best practices takes some knowledge and experience. Most sailors are environmentalists. It's only a matter of degree. We hope our Bermuda Race environmental stewards will become familiar with the Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta program and Green Boating Guide, and bring their energy and expertise to the planning, provisioning and maintenance process.

Our hope is to build and network the expertise, so that all sailors benefit from it. Historically, the Bermuda Race has infused a safety ethos on skippers and crews, and instilling an environmental ethos seems a natural step, given the amount of plastic showing up on beaches everywhere. We are trying to gather more data as well. Logging derelict marine debris on the racecourse is an objective, and the environmental steward seems the perfect focal point for this activity.

SfS: How many boats have named an environmentalist so far? Any feedback yet?

CR: With only a small amount of publicity, already we have about 20 skippers who have named a member of their crew as the onboard environmental steward. We have heard positive feedback from skippers of both large boats and small, veteran Bermuda Race sailors and those sailing in the race for the first time. Most of those we have heard from have spoken about focusing on meal prep to reduce the amount of throwaway plastic and reusable water bottles. Others have gone further to call attention to things that are easily overlooked like rigging tape, zip-ties or splicing leftovers that end up in the ocean. We had one environmental steward recommend a type of bilge pump discharge filter.

SfS: How would you like to see this grow? Has it/will it spread to other events?

CR: We look at this as a small step that could easily spread to other events, racing and cruising. Paperless entry systems for races or cruises-in-company could easily incorporate the idea of onboard "environmental steward" to help plan events using the known best practices that Sailors for the Sea have promoted, and to coach crews, share tips and expertise, and be a voice for sustainability onboard and shoreside.

Related Articles

Round Barbados Sailing Week
This year's event featured 82 entries from eight countries in 10 classes The week featured plenty of parties and three days of back-to-back racing, the highlight of which is the race around the island. Posted on 18 Feb
Ten ways you can help save the oceans
10 lifestyle choices that can help protect and restore our oceans Oceans cover 71 percent of the planet and are home to important species and ecosystems that we rely on for food, livelihoods, climate regulation and more. But the oceans need our help. Posted on 16 Oct 2021
15-year anniversary of Clean Regattas!
Preventing millions of single-use plastics from polluting our oceans & waterways Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana celebrates a milestone this summer with the 15-year anniversary of the Clean Regattas program. Clean Regattas is the world's leading sustainability certification for all water-based events. Posted on 16 Jul 2021
Caribbean Regatta overcomes pandemic challenges
With innovative racing format Sailors from around the world were looking forward to the warm weather, strong trade winds, and competitive sailing as part of the 2021 Caribbean racing circuit. Posted on 16 Jun 2021
Repurpose gear
What do you do with gear that has been outgrown or has reached its end life? What do you do with gear that has been outgrown or has reached its end life? There are a variety of ways to reuse, repurpose and recycle boating gear to help reduce waste that may otherwise end up in the landfill or our oceans. Posted on 18 May 2021
Why all youth regattas should be clean regattas
Emma Janson shares her take on why every youth regatta should become a Clean Regatta Through Sailors for the Sea's Clean Regattas program, youth sailors have stepped up to become leaders for environmental stewardship in their local communities. Posted on 16 May 2021
Sailors for the Sea launches discussion forum
Newest resource for the Clean Regattas program Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana launched its newest resource for the Clean Regattas program - an online discussion forum where Clean Regatta organizers can ask each other for help and give advice on each of the program's sustainability standards. Posted on 14 Apr 2021
RHKYC discusses keys to clean regatta success
Catch up with an experienced Clean Regattas organizer This year has certainly disrupted many events, including Clean Regattas around the world. We were able to catch up with an experienced Clean Regattas organizer, Ailsa Angus, who is the Sailing Manager for the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC). Posted on 17 Nov 2020
Sailors for the Sea launches Skippers Program
Eight sailors volunteer to mobilize local sailing and boating communities Today, Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana launched its Skippers Program, a volunteer network of local conservation leaders in sailing communities across North America to protect the world's marine environments. Posted on 10 Jul 2020
Mount Gay support More Taste, Less Waste
Inviting individuals to pledge to reduce use of plastics and protect our oceans Mount Gay, the makers of the world's oldest rum, is supporting Oceana, the largest international organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation, with the launch More Taste, Less Waste, a collaborative Mount Gay Rum x Oceana pledge campaign. Posted on 2 May 2019
Henri-Lloyd M-PRO FOOTER SWSelden 2020 - FOOTERCyclops 2022 May FOOTER