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Sustainable university sailing clubs congratulated at RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show

by Emma Cotton 26 Feb 2022 12:00 PST
TGB University Awards © Paul Wyeth

Finalists of The Green Blue University Sailing Sustainability Challenge receive a triumphant welcome at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show.

The sixteen successful finalists of The Green Blue University Sailing Sustainability Challenge were welcomed onto the Suzuki Main Stage at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show this weekend for the Challenge's award ceremony and prize draw.

The annual challenge, sponsored by eco clothing brand OceanЯ, motivates university sailing clubs to become more aware of sailing's environmental impact by working through a list of actions encouraging sustainable behaviours. Each of the actions alter depending on which level the club is currently working towards i.e. Bronze, Silver or Gold, and can range from holding waterside litter picks, to installing oil spill kits at their club house.

Now in its seventh year, the Challenge is also supported by the British University Sailing Association (BUSA) who encourage students to look at the wider impact of the sport. Hebe Hemming, Vice Chair at BUSA, said: "The ocean is our playground and therefore it is vital that we work to create a sustainable sport. Sport as a whole is an enormous part of millions of people's lives, and it makes sense to use our shared passions to create a platform to initiate change and become more sustainable.

"At universities, sports communities are large, and excitingly, sustainability in sport is just starting to be addressed. It is great to be able to take part in a challenge that brings our clubs ahead of the curve."

Representatives from each of the universities joined The Green Blue's Campaign Manager, Kate Fortnam, on stage for the awards ceremony and prize draw. The successful clubs were entered into a cash prize draw of £1000, sponsored by OceanЯ. £250 was won by the University of Southampton & Wessex Sailing Club in the Bronze category, £350 in the Silver category was won by Bangor University Sailing Club, and £450 was won by Bournemouth University Sailing Club in the Gold category.

Commenting on the Challenge, Kate said: "We have been thrilled by not only the quantity of entries from university sailing clubs this year, but also the quality of their sustainable actions. Despite some on-going Covid restrictions that have affected club activities at times the students have still achieved many of their planned actions. More than ever before, young people are informed and aware of environmental impacts and that is clearly visible in their proactive attitude towards the Challenge.

"We would also like to say a very warm thank you to the Challenge's sponsors, OceanЯ, for their on-going support of helping us to recognise university sailing clubs taking action for a more sustainable future."

Commenting on the sponsorship, Tom Cotter, CEO at OceanЯ, said: "As a team we are really proud to support The Green Blue University Sailing Sustainability Challenge once again. It's inspiring to see so many university sailing clubs take proactive action and demonstrate their commitment to sustainable sailing and environmental best practices. Especially in a post-Covid world - it sets a precedence for younger generations, peers and local communities to follow suit.

"We want to acknowledge and reward the efforts of the students and we are delighted to be able to supply our sustainably made clothing and accessories as prizes. Many of our garments are made from recycled polyester, much of which originates from the sea and landfill. You can feel good in your OceanЯ clothing after doing good for our oceans."

If you are a student that would like to nominate your university to take part in next year's challenge, or a member of a club interested in learning how you can make your club's activities more sustainable, visit The Green Blue website: www.thegreenblue.org.uk

The RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show continues tomorrow (27 February) tickets are still available to purchase in advance from the RYA website.

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