Clean Regattas Plastic Swaps - Sailors for the Sea

Clean Regattas Plastic Swaps

 July 13, 2023  | By: Jennifer Brett

The Clean Regattas program is all about reducing the environmental impact of events that are on or near the water, and eliminating single-use plastics is a big part of that. While some items are easier to swap for sustainable alternatives (think water bottles and tote bags), others can be more challenging. For Plastic Free July, we are highlighting some of the creative solutions that Clean Regatta organizers have implemented to reduce a few of these more difficult plastics.

Wooden Dinghy Trailer Tags – Spanish Optimist Championship | Costa Brava, Spain

Staying organized is crucial for a large event to run smoothly, and the organizers of the Spanish Optimist Championship, at Nàutic L’Escala, devised a plastic-free way to label the boat trolleys. At check-in, all sailors received a wooden, reusable keyring that they could use to identify their boat trolley at the launching area. This eliminated the plastic stickers that they had previously used.

Reusable Bungees and Zip Ties – Youth World Sailing Championship | Corpus Christi, Texas

Oh zip ties… so functional, yet so single use. And events tend to use a lot of zip ties, so trying to reduce or eliminate them is a major win. Organizers at the Youth World Sailing Championship found a way to do this by using bungees and reusable zip ties instead. As noted in the event’s sustainability report, “200 reusable zip ties were purchased. The reusable zip ties held up much better than expected, and all reusable zip ties were collected after the event. They have already been reused at two other regattas in Texas.”

Sail Bag Lunchbags – Sunburst National Regatta | Aukland, New Zealand

Volunteers and race committee members work up an appetite on the water. But delivering sandwiches in damp settings while keeping said sandwiches dry? Without single-use plastic bags? Therein lies the challenge. For the Sunburst National Regatta, organizers used small drawstring bags made from recycled sails and provided by Doyle Sails. Individual sandwiches were wrapped in paper and tucked into the bags, which were returned at the end of the day. Wakatere Boating Club reports that, “the bags have proven invaluable for the club as they have been reused many times over the last 4 years of running Clean Regattas.”

Bio-Medals – Women’s Match Race | Skovshoved Harbor, Denmark

Over the years, we have seen many Clean Regattas with sustainable solutions for regatta prizes. One of the most creative, however, are the bio-medals made from collected seaweed. The Royal Danish Yacht Club teamed up with a Danish designer who, together with Danish Technological Institute developed a material based 100% on seaweed to produce the winners’ prizes.


Find more creative, plastic-free solutions to Clean Regatta challenges in our Sustainability Report Library!