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A spring-cleaning that all sailors can be proud of - USA Newsletter


A spring-cleaning that all sailors can be proud of

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RS Sailing 2019 - RS21 Spring Offer - Leaderboard

Image and cup from 5 Gyres, an organization studying plastic pollution in the ocean. - photo © American Sailing Association

Dear Recipient Name

A few weeks ago, my wife and I, and some sailing friends, spent a chilly Sunday hiking along Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve on Whidbey Island, some 30 miles north of my home in Seattle. For anyone who isn't familiar with this five-mile loop, the trail begins in prairie-like setting that gives way to a steep bluff, perhaps a few hundred feet above the brine, revealing killer views of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains, Admiralty Inlet, the southern San Juan Islands, and most of Puget Sound. A few miles later the trail takes a steep hitch down to the beach, which (eventually) provides return service to the trailhead, but not before we were presented with the sight of several bald eagles circling below our vantage point.

If this is sounding like a wind-up to America the Beautiful, you're not far offbut with a heart breaking twist.

If you're familiar with pointillism, you understand the way that a collection of dots, when viewed from far away, can resolve into a detailed image. In fine art, this can be used to beautiful effect, say in the work of Georges Seurat, but pointillism can sometimes be less great when applied to nature.

For example, the views of the rocky beach and of Puget Sound from the high bluff revealed a breathtakingly beautiful scene of one of the country's richest treasures, but once my sneakers hit the sand, the dots took on the unmistakable form of garbage washed ashore, most of it plastic.

Thousands upon thousands of Fish Farm Rope Bits breaking down into Microplastic - photo ©
Thousands upon thousands of Fish Farm Rope Bits breaking down into Microplastic - photo ©

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Silently, my wife started picking up bits of trash, and soon we all joined in, trying to atone for a small portion of humanity's collective sins as we walked south along the beach.

While we eventually deposited quite a haul at the trailhead garbage can, I couldn't shake the cynical thought that it was simply a matter of time before the same (or similar) garbage would just wash back ashore on my favorite winter beach.

The other thought that hit me was that, while climate change has become a political battleground in the USA (pop quiz: what president created the Environmental Protection Agency?), I don't think that anyone can argue that plastic in the water is anything but awful, both to marine life and to humans. Perhaps this is because plastic is a tangible thing, something that one can clean off of a beach and feel good about in the parking lot, ex post facto.

The amount of plastic Gael collected on a small section of Witterings Beach - photo © Gael Pawson
The amount of plastic Gael Pawson, former Y&Y editor, collected on a small section of Witterings Beach in the UK - photo © Gael Pawson

Irrespective of one's politics, it's beyond high time that humanity curbs its appetite for single-use plastics.

Consider this: Even if the battle cry to reduce CO2 doesn't stir your soul, what are your thoughts on catching a submerged plastic bag on your rudder, just as you're caning it for the finishing line, neck-in-neck with three other One-Design boats? Does that change the equation?

If the answer is yes, great you just took an important first step.

As communities act to ban single-use plastics and individual consumers raise concerns, bigger actors pay attention. - photo © Shutterstock
As communities act to ban single-use plastics and individual consumers raise concerns, bigger actors pay attention. - photo © Shutterstock

For its part, Seattle and hundreds of other forward-leaning cities, spread across 22 states and the District of Columbia, have now banned single-use plastic bags at grocery stores, and more and more people are demanding biodegradable straws, cutlery and dishware. While these are all good things, the counter argument can be made that individual gestures - like our impromptu beach cleanup - are mere band-aid solutions (at best) and that only policy-level changes truly create a profound impact.

This is a powerful argument, however it's important to celebrate the small choices and changes that each of us can make. Perhaps this involves cleaning up a local beach, forgoing a favorite plastic-packaged treat, or writing a letter to a senator or congressperson. Or perhaps this involves a policy-level change at a company that you own and operate, or raising awareness among your family, friends and crew. The list is long and it can be creative.

Stacey Jackson's Ocean Respect Racing are using Wild Oats X for the Sydney to Hobart - photo © Beth Morley /
Stacey Jackson's Ocean Respect Racing are using Wild Oats X for the Sydney to Hobart - photo © Beth Morley /

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Just ask Stacey Jackson (AUS), skipper and founder of Ocean Respect Racing (who had a heck of a proud showing in this year's Sydney Hobart Race, among her many world-class sailing accomplishments), who spent time with the non-profit group Ocean Crusaders collecting garbage on St. Helena Island, near Brisbane, Australia. This remote island is an important stopping point for migratory seabirds, however the Ocean Crusader's 200-person volunteer team still collected 4,000 pounds of refuse, including 1,350 plastic bottles, 971 chunks of polystyrene, 139 shoes, 209 flip-flops, 189 glass bottles, 4,620 bits of hard plastic, 25 tires, 476 plastic lids, 139 aluminum cans, 139 small metal tins, and 9,000-plus pieces of broken glass.

All on an uninhabited and internationally protected island.

"The key to stopping plastic pollution is at the shop, by not purchasing the items, like plastic water bottles, that often end up in our ocean," said Ian Thomson, Ocean Crusaders' founder, in a press release.

Ocean Respect Racing removes two tons of trash from St. Helena Island with Ocean Crusaders - photo © Vestas 11th Hour Racing
Ocean Respect Racing removes two tons of trash from St. Helena Island with Ocean Crusaders - photo © Vestas 11th Hour Racing

So, in the remaining weeks (or, if you live in the far north, months) before sailboat racing really gets cookin' in North America, organize your crew and take a walk on the beach with some garbage bags. Better still, open the conversation up about how your whole team can reduce its plastic use, from your choice of provisions to how the boat is stored each winter.

The sad reality remains that policy-level changes are likely the only way to alter course on plastic on a global scale, but in the meantime, highly encourages each and every sailor to do their part.

After all, even if you don't believe in climate change, we can all agree that plastic wrapped around foils is slow, and slow just plain sucks.

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt North American Editor

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Scallywag joins the growing fleet for the Antigua Bermuda Race 2019
The Antigua Bermuda Race is organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week. The oceanic race will start from Fort Charlotte Antigua, just after Antigua Sailing Week on Wednesday 8th May.

New Mediterranean Inshore Series launched as International Maxi Association turns 40
In 2019 the International Maxi Association (IMA) celebrates the 40th anniversary of its establishment by notable maxi boat owners of the day, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Raul Gardini, John Kilroy and William Whitehouse-Vaux.

J/105 Midwinter Championship 2019 at Fort Worth Boat Club
The J/105 Midwinter Championship returned to the calendar this year as 11 teams competed at Fort Worth Boat Club in Fort Worth, TX from March 7-10. Locals Glenn Darden and Reese Hillard led the Hoss team to victory with 24 points.

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RS21 debuts at St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta
Enter the newest small keel boat: the RS21, which made its debut at the St. Petersburg NOOD regatta. With just two entries among a mixed PHRF class of much larger yachts, the RS21 began its charter season without an established one design fleet.

10th Annual Miami Sailing Week delivers exceptional sailing conditions to over 200 competitors
Biscayne Bay delivered once again and provided great sailing conditions for all days of the 10th Anniversary Miami Sailing Week (MSW) event. The A-Cat class, along with Optis, Lasers and i420, took part in this year's event

An interview with Chris Woolsey about the 2019 Miami to Havana Race
I checked in with Chris Woolsey, the race administrator and regatta chair for the 2019 Miami to Havana Race (March 13), via email, to learn more about this intriguing offshore race.

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Golden Globe Race, Day 252: Uku Randmaa claims 3rd podium place
Waiting for him at the dock was his wife Maibi and young twins Thor and Orm who were born shortly before his departure, together with the family of fellow circumnavigators who he had kept each other going through good times and bad over the radio.

Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup 2019 - Overall
The College of Charleston Cougars have triumphed at the 2019 Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup regatta, impressively pulling off podium finishes in nine of ten races over the three-day event.

Paul Cayard's report from the 92nd Bacardi Cup
The 92nd Bacardi Cup is history. Eric Doyle and Payson Infeliz sailed incredibly consistently to win. There were 8 Gold Stars (past world champions) in the fleet of 65 teams from over 15 countries.

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Nothing wrong with your eyesight
Look closely, and you'll notice it is two Black Jacks, not one superimposed over the other. The upper one with the rig still in is the world famous, and ever-conquering Reichel/Pugh 100 supermaxi with the heavy bulb, and the other is the modified VO70.

Budget Marine & Marlow Ropes Sponsor Volunteer Shirts for 2019 St. Thomas International Regatta
Volunteers are the lifeblood of many Caribbean regattas. This is certainly true of the 2019 St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 22-24.

2019 Block Island Race Week at Storm Trysail Club update
The Storm Trysail Club's Vice Commodore and the Block Island Race Week Event Chair, Ed Cesare, stated, "preparations are well under way for Storm Trysail's Block Island Race Week 2019.

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18ft Skiff JJ Giltinan Championship - Race 9
New Zealand's Honda Marine 18ft Skiff team of David McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins became the Winning Group 2019 JJ Giltinan champions today, when they successfully defended the title they won last year on Sydney Harbour.

Clipper 2019-20 Race: Zhuhai, The City of Islands
Eyes will be turning to the Chinese city of Zhuhai in the spring of 2020, when the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race makes its debut visit.

92nd Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta at Coral Reef Yacht Club - Overall
Miami and Biscayne Bay today showcased the best day of racing as this iconic racing venue said good-bye to the 500 sailors who competed at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta.

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America's Cup: Sailing Illustrated - CupDate for March 8
On "Friday with TFE" Tom Ehman talks with Sail-World's NZ Editor Richard Gladwell looking at the current issues of the America's Cup - who's the leading Challenger, the Entry Fee settlement and a look at base construction in Auckland - plus images.

Register for Etchells Midwinters West, the second regatta of the Etchells West Coast Spring Series
The Etchells Class Fleet 13 – San Diego sailors are already out on the water preparing their vessels for the Etchells West Coast Spring Series.

International Women's Day: In the loft and on the water
Flavia Tomiselli is a grand prix sail designer based in Palma, and now she's breaking into something even bigger as part of the North Sails Superyacht Hub.

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First boat branding revealed for Clipper 2019-20 Race
It's hard to hide away a 70ft ocean racing yacht but the team at Clipper Race HQ has been hard at work in a secret location.

SailGP celebrates role of women in new championship on International Women's Day
SailGP today joins the celebration of International Women's Day by recognizing and saluting the many women who are integral to the new global championship, highlighted by two-time Olympian and member of the France SailGP Team, Marie Riou.

18ft Skiff JJ Giltinan Championship - Race 8
The New Zealand champion ASCC team of Josh Porebski, Jack Simpson, Dave Hazard, produced a brilliant performance to win Race 8 of the Winning Group 2019 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour.

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39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - Varsovie
This year at the 39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Varsovie offered places on board for young St Maarten sailors Nina Manley, 21, and Maike van 't Laar, 23.

39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - Ineffable
Ineffable is Rapido 60 catamaran, owned by Hong Kong based sailor Stephen Glyn Bourne. Measuring 60 foot, weighing 9.5 tons, this stunning boat not only looks beautiful, but she is also an awesome performer.

The RYA Dinghy Show: The Greatest Boat Show (with the smallest, most exciting boats)
The RYA Dinghy Show... is there anything else like it? Andy Rice and Mark Jardine don't think so. If you sail small boats in the UK, chances are you've been to this incredible geekfest a few times. 250 - 2014   Protector - 300x250
One week to go until the RS21 is showcased at San Diego NOOD Regatta
The Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta returns to the West Coast, San Diego, March 15 – 17th 2019 where six RS21s will race in South Bay.

America's Cup base development picks up pace
Confirmation of final team numbers along with some redesign of features and facilities have moved the project to the point where it is expected to meet its budgeted costs and delivery deadlines.

America's Cup: Ides of March significant for Late Challengers
The America's Cup is never dull - even though we are still four months away from seeing the first AC75's launched.

Mackay 250   Naiad 300x250px_Superyacht
America's Cup: Terry Hutchinson on American Magic - Part 2
“She goes very well. More than 40kts. We are seeing that speed in surprisingly low windspeeds,” is the only insight given in the Mule's performance numbers.

No plan B for Thomas Ruyant: "I will be there at the start of the 2020 Vendée Globe"
Winner of major events in Class40 (2010 Route du Rhum), in Figaro racing (2018 Transat AG2R with Adrien Hardy) and in Mini 6.50 races (2009 Mini Transat), Thomas is also very experienced in the IMOCA class and is developing a very strong project.

Edgartown Yacht Club's Edgartown Race Weekend 2019 preview
This three-day competition starts with 'Round-the-Buoy races on Thursday and Friday and concludes with two independently scored distance races on Saturday: the renowned 56 nautical mile 'Round-the-Island Race.

2019 Ida Lewis Distance Race scheduled for August 16 start
A late-summer sailing tradition loved by grand prix racers and cruising sailors alike, the annual Ida Lewis Distance Race is scheduled to start on Friday, August 16, 2019.

Tom Dodson returns to North Sails
Following a long career in sailing spanning two Olympic Games, numerous America's Cup cycles and everything in between, native Kiwi Tom Dodson has rejoined North Sails as a Sales Expert with a particular focus on the vibrant superyacht segment.

Eight TP52s line up for pre-52 Super Series training in Valencia
Reflecting the ever increasing level of competition among the 52 Super Series fleet of TP52s, eight international teams are training over the coming days on the waters off Valencia all trying to ensure that they are in the best competitive shape.

Legendary wrap up night for 39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
The huge flashing stage was set for the prize giving, with Heineken magnums and an array of trophies ready to be handed out to the winning crews.

Join Ullman Sails as a Licensee
With representatives in 25 locations and 75 lofts worldwide, the Ullman Sails network spreads as wide as your imagination dares to go.

Marine Resources job updates
Marine Resources specialises in filling job vacancies within the Leisure Marine Industry. We have a variety of recruitment services to suit all types of marine employer.

Update from INEOS TEAM UK skipper Ben Ainslie
Update from INEOS TEAM UK skipper Ben Ainslie as we mark 2 years until the start of the 36th America's Cup.

And now for something completely different - The International Moth story
Over the last year or so, there have been a couple of key themes that have kept reoccurring in the articles that I have written for your reading. One is on the fascinating topic of innovation and how it has driven – and been driven by dinghy development.

Peter Blake's Lion New Zealand has 18mth long restoration
Sir Peter Blake's Lion New Zealand will return to the Auckland Viaduct Harbour on Monday 11th March at 4pm following an extensive 18 month restoration at Yachting Developments, Hobsonville.

Youngest ever Clipper Race skipper scoops prestigious Yachting Award
Clipper 2017-18 Race Skipper Nikki Henderson has been awarded the prestigious YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award after making history when, at 24, she became the youngest ever skipper to compete in the biggest round the world yacht race.

All-female winners recognised in YJA Yachtsman of the Year and Young Sailor of the Year Awards
Two firsts marked the 2018 Yachting Journalists' Association Yachtsman of the Year and Young Sailor of the Year Awards: all-female winners and a tie for the YJA Yachtsman of the Year trophy.

Introducing Carboteck: We speak to Louis Johnson and Henry Jameson
Carboteck launched their brand new forged carbon compass bracket and forged carbon Micro Compass bezel at the RYA Dinghy Show 2019.

America's Cup: Two Years, 24 months, 104 weeks, 730 sleeps
It seems like a long time, but this is the America's Cup and time is the biggest issue - you never have enough of it. Every day is important. Is two years long enough?

Atomik Lithium Moth on the Marlow Ropes stand at the RYA Dinghy Show
Mark Jardine, Managing Editor of and, speaks with Phil Oligario of Atomic UK and David Mossman of Marlow Ropes about the new design and the challenges of building and rigging the boat.

Registration open for US Sailing Junior Women's Championships
Registration is now open for the U.S. Junior Women's Singlehanded Championship and U.S. Junior Women's Doublehanded Championship.

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