His Excellency Boyd McCleary and Mrs McCleary opened the door of Government House on Friday, welcoming skippers taking part in the BVI Spring Regatta. Sponsors, international media and local dignitaries received a true BVI welcome at the reception that has become an annual tradition during the regatta.
At the reception, the BVI Spring Regatta was awarded a Gold Certificate by Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta Program and Regatta Director, Judy Petz was astonished to hear that the BVI Spring Regatta was the first ever regatta to be deemed carbon neutral – on the planet!
“The Clean Regatta Program at the BVI Spring Regatta has taken it to a whole different level.” said Dan Pingaro, CEO of Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta Programme who had flown in with Annie Brett, Project Manager to attend the reception.
“Last year this was the first carbon neutral regatta on the plant! The regatta offset all of their carbon and other regattas around the world were inspired by this. The America’s Cup for example was inspired to offset their own carbon neutrality and that’s a big stretch. But, it all started here in the BVI with the local recycling and working sustainably to make sure that we’re not impacting on the planet right here in the BVI.”
“Every year the Spring Regatta betters themselves. We have 15 best management practices at Sailors for the Sea, where we are focused on ocean conservation and our goal is help all regattas on ocean and at sea, reduce their environmental footprint. We have 19 best practices and the BVI Spring Regatta has reached over 15 which means they are at Gold level. A stunning achievement! There’s less than half a dozen regattas worldwide out of 500 to have done that and the Spring Regatta were the first ever to be carbon neutral. This is an amazing achievement and we are very proud to provide this award tonight as a Gold level Clean Regatta to Governor McCleary and the entire team that Judy has put together. Let’s give them a hand for what they are doing for your local environment.”
Regatta Director, Judy Petz has worked tirelessly to achieve the Gold status:
“Thank you so, so much. I didn’t know that we were the first regatta on the planet to offset our carbon footprint. It’s really amazing and something I’m truly passionate about. The Governor and his wife Jenny have always supported us in our initiatives for protecting our ‘playground’. That’s what I call the sea we love to sail and race and we need to make sure it’s beautiful all the time.”
“As part of the Clean Regatta program, of reducing our carbon footprint we are pleased tonight to donate $3,000 to Green VI. A $1,500 fund was collected from participants and matched by Heineken distributed by Road Town Wholesale (RTW) and we are presenting it to Jake Barron and the whole Green VI team for their new recycling programme,” continued Petz.
Simon Potter, Director at Road Town Wholesale expressed his delight at being able to match and collectively help donate $3,000:
“It’s a pleasure to be here tonight and at this beautiful gathering for all you sailors and sailing enthusiasts. RTW has been involved with the Spring Regatta since its inception 42 years ago and we are happy to continue to be part of it as a major sponsor. We will continue to do so and I’ve met some of the international media here to cover the regatta tonight. I’m pleased that you continue to promote the BVI. You are doing a great job for us. Being carbon neutral is a great achievement and we will carry on doing as much as possible to get the British Virgin Islands right on the map. We are happy to be part of this and to make this presentation on behalf of RTW.”
Jacob Barron, resident Master Glassblower at Green VI thanked the Governor, the regatta and Sailors for the Sea on behalf of the whole Green VI staff and Board of Directors:
“Thanks also to the whole boating community for their continued support. We couldn’t do it without you and we will keep on working for a greener, cleaner, healthier BVI.”
Governor Boyd McCleary was disappointed not being able to race this year after being invited to sail on board the Scottish-built 1930s classic yacht, The Blue Peter during the Sailing Festival. He confirmed his support and enthusiasm for the Spring Regatta:
“The Spring Regatta is very much part of the BVI. It’s the premiere event as far as the local sailing programme is concerned. Everyone does a fantastic job: The RBVI Yacht Club, the Regatta Committee, the village organisers and sponsors. All I have to do is turn up here and make a short speech and I just hope you all enjoy yourselves at the party and in the regatta.”
“There are two aspects of the regatta programme that are interesting from an environmental perspective. The environment is important to all of us in the BVI. We wouldn’t have the tourist attraction that we have, so the environment is critically important. I’m pleased that the BVI Spring Regatta is being once again rewarded a Gold award from Sailors for the Sea, Clean Regatta Program. I know that Sailors for the Sea is very pleased with the way in which this particular regatta has taken to environmentally friendly use of water bottles and other initiatives.
“Some of you may have seen the glass which was produced for the awards last year. It was beautifully made locally here at Green VI. It’s made from the bottles of wine and beer that we all drink, so it’s a very good use to which those bottles are put. Chin, chin let’s drink to the bottles which get recycled, to Green VI and to a very successful 42nd Spring Regatta. Thanks for coming.”