|Photo © Rolex/Kurt Arrigo|
Specially designed water bottles will be supplied to every crewmember sailing in San Francisco’s largest regattas of the season in an effort to eliminate plastic waste.
Whitecaps Marine Outfitters has partnered with the St. Francis Yacht Club in an effort to completely eliminate plastic waste in San Francisco Bay. As the official green partner of the club’s two biggest regattas of the season—Rolex Big Boat Series (Sept. 15 – 18) and Alcatel J/70 Worlds (Sept. 24 – Oct. 1)—Whitecaps will supply every crewmember with a reusable water bottle. St. Francis Yacht Club will provide refill stations at the top of the docks.
The 2016 Rolex Big Boat series boats a record number of entries—currently more than 120 boats—and the third-ever J/70 World Championships will have at least 81 boats on the line. With more than 1,000 sailors participating in both events, if every crew fully utilized their reusable water bottles, that could add up to several thousand bottles saved in the course of the two events.
According to The Ocean Cleanup project, some eight million tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans each year, with trash accumulating in five ocean garbage patches—the largest one is between Hawaii and California. In 2015, a number of San Francisco-based boats participated in the Mega Expedition, the largest ocean research expedition ever—30 boats mapped a 3.5 million-square-kilometer area of the Pacific Ocean. The samples are still being analyzed, but initial findings show that the concentration of plastic had been heavily underestimated.
“In San Francisco, we’re keenly aware of the plastic waste problem in our oceans. Many sailors in this year’s Pacific Cup and last year’s Transpac reported seeing numerous large plastic objects floating in the so-called ‘Pacific Garbage Patch,’ but the problem isn’t the plastic we can see—it’s the microscopic plastic particles we can’t see,” said Whitecaps owner Jen Canestra.
“While saving a few thousand plastic bottles from the garbage bin is but a symbolic gesture toward solving this massive problem, we believe it’s important to take these small steps and to set the precedence in our yachting community. We urge every sailor to utilize their water bottle for the good of our sport and our planet,” she added.
The 28 oz. H2Go water bottles with a convenient flip lid custom printed with logos of the event will be a great souvenir as well as help to reduce plastic bottle waste.
The club is also launching additional efforts to reduce waste during these two high-profile events: sailing instructions, results, and NORs will be issued digitally. During social events, all cups will be biodegradable and food waste will be composted.