COURTESY JOHN ROUSMANIERE
SAIL TACTICS: Sailors start the 2010 Newport Bermuda Race off Castle Hill, Newport, near the mouth of Narragansett Bay.
By Michael Souza PBN Staff Writer
Sailing off the blue-green coast of Newport has become a little “greener,” thanks to the environmental commitment of several sailing organizations to a national program with local origins.
In what is quickly becoming a growing trend, regattas are striving to comply with the “Clean Regattas” program; in doing so, they are changing the way sailing is performed and promoted.
In the City by the Sea this year, thus far the America’s Cup World Series #6 (Through July 1), Newport-Bermuda Race (June 13-23), and The Atlantic Cup (May 11-27) have pledged to the conditions of the Clean Regattas program, sponsored by Sailors for the Sea, a nonprofit organization in Newport that educates the boating community on how to protect and restore the ocean.
The program designates 19 best-management practices and is obeyed by more than 60 regattas throughout the nation, including nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut. There is no cost for the certification. The green-certification provides independent verification that a yacht club, sailing program or regatta is environmentally responsible.
“We do well for a small organization and people really take it to heart, from composting to alternative fuels,” said Dan Pingaro, CEO and executive director at Sailors for the Sea.
The Newport-based group just became the first environmental, nonprofit partner with the America’s Cup in its 160-plus years. “That was a big achievement,” he said. “We can help them reduce their environmental footprint.”
Pinagro said the race committee encourages participants to adopt a number of practices for the health of the oceans, including reducing plastic-bottle use, following a leave-no-trace approach to dealing with trash and preventing oil spills. The measures also save money by reducing reliance on plastic bottles, fossil fuels and disposable products attracting new sponsors, donors, investors and foundations for nonprofit clubs through the positive awareness of the Clean Regattas efforts.