Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Feb 22, 2012 —
BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, known for its innovation on and off the race course, was the first regatta in the world to be recognized by Sailors of the Sea Clean Regatta Program with a Silver Certificate for its commitment to improving the oceans’ environment. This year the event organizers are going for the Gold certificate. Taking another giant leap forward in its conservation efforts they will be awarding prizes made from recycled glass from the 2011 event.
March 26 – April 1, when boats from throughout the world flock to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) to sail in one of the Caribbean’s premier events, winners could walk away with a prize that speaks not only to their sailing prowess but also to preserving our finite natural resources.
Judy Petz, Director of the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, is especially proud:
“This year the awards being given to the winners of first, second and third places have a special meaning to the regatta. The drink you were holding last year may be the award you hold this year. They are not only made from recycled glass from the past Spring Regattas, but they are also original creations made here in the British Virgin Island.”
For the last three years the BVI Spring Regatta has participated in Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regatta program. To achieve the Silver certification sponsors, the BVI Marine Association provided refillable water bottles and Clearwater, a purification system for pure water, gave free refills to all participants. SOL joined in and included environmentally friendly cleaning products in all skippers bags. Additionally, organizers have collected over 15,000 bottles each year. This year, those bottles are being crushed and recycled to make the 2012 awards by The Glass Studio Project, one of the Green VI initiatives.
The Glass Studio Project has been developed as a way to create awareness of the need to recycle. Charlotte McDevitt, Green VI’s Executive Director readily admits that this is not a way to manage glass waste on the Island:
“This is just a demonstration project of how waste can become a resource if you see it differently. It’s a nice project to have, it creates jobs and there are skills transfer to other industries, but it is not a waste management solution. It’s an artistic educational demonstration.” Only eight months old, The Glass Studio Project is not yet self-sufficient. Once it can turn a profit, the proceeds will go towards the non-profit organization, Green VI, for other environmental projects.
To go for the Gold certification this year the organizers are asking for more from sponsors and all those racing and attending. Sol is providing spill kits for each of the race committee boats and food vendors will be asked to use only biodegradable containers. Green Technology, another local BVI company, will be donating all the wine glasses and Mount Gay’s reusable cups will be used for all other drinks. Heineken has also agreed to match funds collect to off set our carbon foot print. Those funds will go to BVI recycling programs. There are more Clean Regatta ideas in planning stages.
The BVI Spring Regatta, Green VI, regatta sponsors and Sailors for the Seas are working together to create environmental awareness in the British Virgin Islands and the sailing community. Through this partnership, we all benefit.
For more information about the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival and how to represent your club for the IYCC go to: bvispringregatta.org
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