There’s something different about the 2018 Youth World Sailing Championships. It’s the first competition with a focus on sustainability and ocean conservation.
Sailors, like U.S. youth sailor Carmen Cowles, who are out on the water everyday, see firsthand the impact pollution has in our waters and on our beaches.
"Just sailing you can see so much of that trash collecting up and yea, we definitely have to make a change," Cowles said.
Sailors competing in the Championships must bring their own water bottles which can be refilled at water stations around the venue. Single-use plastic items are not allowed at the venue. And all waste must be properly disposed of.
All of these smaller efforts are part of a larger effort to reach the platinum level of a clean regatta, designated by Sailors of the Sea. The effort is spearheaded by the Green Team. The Team includes about a dozen experts from organizations like Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Texas State Aquarium.
Elizabeth Kratzig, the Green Team co-chair and U.S. sailing member, says there will also be a number of sustainable initiatives all week long at the event.
In addition, all banners at the event are made of recyclable material and water-based ink. All fences are held together with re-usable bungee cords. And the competitor’s t-shirts are made out of recycled water bottles.
"Not only will this present an opportunity for change," Kratzig said, "We want to be the benchmark for all future world sailing events," she added.
This event is also an opportunity to educate youth from around the world about how to make their home a greener place.
"We have to preserve what is ours, what we use every day — every single day when we sail," said Fredereco Baptista, a youth sailor from Portugal.
A sustainability report will also be published at the end of the Championships.
Also, based on the efforts made the regatta, the Green Team hopes to create a clean event plan for the City of Corpus Christi. The city can use the plan for future events.
The Green Team is also working with the Texas Sailing Association to use similar efforts at regattas in the state.