Regatta for Lake Champlain - Sailors for the Sea

Regatta for Lake Champlain

 August 25, 2014  | By: Oceana

Earlier this summer, the 10th annual Regatta for Lake Champlain was certified as a Clean Regatta for the second year in a row! The regatta organizers have a strong passion for protecting their lake – and achieved Silver Level Clean Regattas Certification.

Ryan Robinson, education director at Community Sailing Center, shares why running the event as a Clean Regatta is so important to their mission.

On July 19th nearly 40 sailboats and their crews came together to celebrate Lake Champlain and participate in the 10th annual Regatta for Lake Champlain. This event attracts sailors from the northern most Canadian waters of Lake Champlain to southern Vermont. For the second year in a row the Community Sailing Center (CSC) and the Lake Champlain Committee, among other event organizers, made it a Clean Regatta.

Working with a large group to organize such an event can be tough. However, many of the steps to become a Clean Regatta are simple. Replacing plastic for biodegradable utensils is an easy transition. Providing a composting bin requires you to call your local trash municipality. Practicing safe and environmentally conscious boat mechanics can prevent on water oil spills. Being mindful of your waste collection and storage procedures can ensure your regatta is leaving a clean footprint.

To further the CSC’s mission of stewardship for Lake Champlain we added one more layer to our Clean Regatta. We hosted a Trash Race at the conclusion of the Regatta. A Trash Race is a simple, yet productive, initiative to clean up trash and collect data about lakeside waste. We asked youth crew-members from the Jr. Challenge portion of the regatta to participate. They were split into two groups and told to pick up as much trash as possible in 30 minutes. Each group recorded and totaled the amount and types of trash they collected. This information is documented and more importantly, it tells a story of recovery and sustainability.

This is an activity we do with many of our programs, but it fit particularly well with the Regatta. The efforts to host a Clean Regatta combined with a Trash Race initiative helps set a new standard for many generations to come. While the winds on Lake Champlain foster a love for sailing, the work we do on shore nurtures a sense of ownership and pride for Lake Champlain. In the future, our hope is to have a crop of sailors who spend as much time defending our waterways from pollutants as they spend searching for the perfect wind.

– Ryan Robinson, Education Director, Community Sailing Center