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Sailors for the Sea launches Clean Class

by Sailors for the Sea 14 May 2023 10:08 PDT
The Thistle class, which has more than 50 active fleets across the US, worked with Sailors for the Sea to develop and pilot the Clean Class initiative © Thistle Class

Today, Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana announces the launch of its Clean Class initiative, which recognizes entire classes of boats whose members are committed to sustainability.

This initiative encourages one-design fleets to implement Clean Regattas best practices into class-wide operations and events, expanding the positive impact sailors can have on our oceans and waterways.

The Clean Class initiative is open to any interested one design fleets, regardless of membership size or number of events. All that is required is a desire to lessen the class's environmental impact. Clean Classes rely on the Clean Regattas framework, which encourages events to eliminate single-use items, protect sensitive habitats and work with local organizations. For Clean Class recognition, 25 percent of a class's events need to achieve at least a Bronze-level Clean Regatta certification.

The Thistle Class, which has more than 50 active fleets across the United States, worked with Sailors for the Sea to develop and pilot the Clean Class initiative. The Thistles' dedicated leadership and volunteers worked to determine the steps necessary to scale up the sustainability success of individual regattas. During the first full year of the pilot in 2021, the Thistle Class registered 21 new Clean Regattas, a 420% increase in Thistle events participating in the program. In 2022, six additional events registered, with many of the recurring regattas achieving higher levels of sustainability certification.

"The Thistle Class has been a longtime advocate of sustainability. We wanted to take it to the next level by having sound common practices, and a process to share ideas and set class goals," says Mike Ingham, Thistle Class champion and Sailors for the Sea Skipper. "By working closely with Sailors for the Sea, we leveraged their expertise with an emphasis on their successful Clean Regattas program. Our goal is to reduce the environmental impact at as many Thistle events as possible. Because of this initiative, we see a deepening 'clean' culture throughout the Thistle Class, top down, from class leaders through event organizers, clubs, and sailors."

"Working directly with one-design classes creates consistent expectations for all participants and provides resources for organizers and class leadership when addressing sustainability challenges," says Emily Conklin, who as Sailors for the Sea's Program Manager oversees the Clean Regattas program and Clean Class initiative. "The commitment of the Thistle Class to this pilot and advancing environmental stewardship through their events has been exciting to see. Their dedication is a model for other passionate sailors looking to protect the environment they love. With hundreds of classes around the world, participation in the Clean Class initiative will have a significant positive impact for our oceans and waterways."

Most sailors are advocates for protecting their waters, and sustainability is at the forefront of many regattas. The Clean Class framework provides guidance and the tools necessary to help standardize sustainability initiatives across class events. Sailors for the Sea looks forward to working with interested class associations to support and grow this community of sailors who are taking action to restore the health of our seas.

Learn more here: Clean Class Initiative

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