‘Can you make university sailing as environmentally sustainable as possible?’
That was the challenge set for ten enthusiastic University Sailing Clubs at the outset of the 2015-16 academic year – and the response was overwhelming.
Set up by The Green Blue, the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine’s joint environment initiative, the University Sailing Sustainability Challenge 2015/16 provided an opportunity for university sailors to demonstrate how achievable sustainable boating can be to the rest of the boating community.
After six months of enthusiastic competition to be the most environmentally sustainable, three University Sailing Clubs (USCs) have now been selected as the overall winners of the challenge.
In first place, achieving the Gold Award and receiving the £500 top prize was York University Sailing and Windsurfing Club (YUSWC). The University of Strathclyde Sailing Club (USSC) clinched second place with a Silver Award and a £250 prize and finally in 3rd place after battling stiff competition from a number of other clubs was the University of Plymouth Sailing and Powerboating Club who achieved the Bronze Award and a £100 prize.
Awards were presented to the three successful winners at the British University Sailing Association (BUSA) Team Racing Championship award ceremony, hosted by The University of Cambridge Sailing Club at Grafham Water Sailing Club on Thursday, 31st March.
Cambridge University’s Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Graham Virgo, and Environmental Outreach Officer for The Green Blue, Kate Fortnam, awarded the universities for their efforts and achievement with certificates and prizes.
Kate Fortnam said: “It’s been really exciting to see so many University Sailing Clubs committed to making their sport as environmentally sustainable as possible. They’re all keen to keep their sailing environment clean, safe and beautiful for themselves and future generations of sailors and by entering this challenge they have been able to make significant steps towards doing this.”
To recognise the achievements of the winning clubs, certificates were presented to the Sustainability Officer(s) of each USC that achieved either the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. The role of the Sustainability Officer was to organise, encourage and lead their club through the challenge to successfully complete a number of sustainable boating actions.
The following Sustainability Officers worked hard to achieve an award:
· Katie Dewing and Blair Davies – University of York Sailing Club – Gold Award
· Sophie Taylor – University of Strathclyde Sailing Club – Silver Award
· Jamie McCoy – University of Plymouth Sailing and Powerboating Club – Bronze Award
· Rachel Glendening – University of Leeds Sailing Club – Bronze level achievement
· Imogen Prickett – Oxford University Yacht Club – Bronze level achievement
· Annie Shawcroft – Bournemouth University Sailing Club – Bronze level achievement
The challenge kick started at the beginning of the academic year in September 2015 with support from BUSA and came to a finish at the end of March 2016. At each achievement level (bronze, silver and gold) a number of sustainable actions had to be achieved and evidenced by competing University Sailing Clubs.
Sustainable actions achieved by clubs included: performing an environmental audit of their sailing venue to identify and improve areas that can be made more sustainable, ensuring all their members use reusable water bottles as opposed to one-use plastic bottles, installing an oil/fuel spill kit at their sailing venue to clean up accidental spills when refueling, and demonstrating ‘check, clean and dry’ best practice to minimise the spread of alien species around UK waters.
The Green Blue has now teamed up with BUSA to invite all UK University Sailing Clubs to enter into next year’s University Sailing Sustainability Challenge 2016-17, set to be launched in April 2016. If you know or are part of a university sailing club that is interested in getting involved or want to find out more about the challenge, contact Kate Fortnam, The Green Blue’s Environmental Outreach Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 023 8060 4227.
You can cheer on next year’s University Sailing Clubs through the sustainability challenge by following @thegreenblue on Twitter.Follow