The Green Blue has teamed up with BUSA to invite university sailing clubs from across the UK to enter the University Sailing Sustainability Challenge 2016-17 – 2016-17 Announcement. Following the success of the 2015-16 challenge (see Awards Press Release), which saw 10 University Sailing Clubs taking action to make their sailing more environmentally sustainable, the Green Blue (the joint environment programme of the RYA and British Marine) will once again run the challenge for the next academic year. Now is the time to decide whether your USC is up for it!
York University Sailing and Windsurfing Club (YUSWC) achieved Gold, receiving the £500 top prize at the 2016 BUCS-BUSA Team Racing Championship at Grafham Water in April. The University of Strathclyde achieved Silver to take the 2nd award, with four USCs achieving Bronze level. The following Sustainability Officers led their USCs to success in the Challenge:
- 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
York’s co-Sustainability Officer, Blair Davies told us: “As an environmental science student, TGB Sustainability Challenge gave me the chance to apply my knowledge to lessen the environmental impacts of YUSWC. For the club it has been pivotal in establishing sustainable attitudes of all members, gaining recognition from the university’s sports union. There’s always room to improve operations to become more sustainable, and TGB initiative gives impetus to UK sailing clubs to be more green. It’s very gratifying and something every club should get on board with”.
York Commodore Ellie Tubman said: The sustainability challenge was initially something we took on board assuming we would only achieve bronze level. However, as the challenge got underway and we completed various sections of the level, we discovered that the enthusiasm from both club members and our local sailing club, Beaver, took being a sustainable club above and beyond the requirements of the challenge.
“We were incredibly pleased and proud to have achieved the gold level of the award, and are actually planning on using some of the money we won, towards a power washer to help clean more of our kit and boats after use, helping us to stay a sustainable club! It really helped having two members of our committee in the role of organising the activities we needed to complete, rather than just one; Katie (Dewing) and Blair (Davies) did a brilliant job!
“The money certainly proved an incentive to get people involved initially in the challenge. However, it started changing the way people were thinking, and the continuation of re-usable water bottles and cleaning kit has gone beyond any requirement of the challenge! Beaver Sailing Club were also incredibly receptive of the challenge, and supported us greatly!
“I would recommend other clubs to get involved in the challenges from the start of the academic year, and just do little things each week, rather than all at once, and keep spreading the word about benefits with as much enthusiasm as you can! It has definitely been a worthwhile activity!”
Supported by BUSA, the challenge involves University Sailing Clubs competing to undertake as many sustainable actions as they can throughout the academic year. By undertaking these positive actions they will have the opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the boating community how achievable and rewarding sustainable boating can be.
Each club needs to appoint a Sustainability Officer who will act as The Green Blue’s main point of contact and the key driver to lead their club to success. In the last challenge students undertaking geography, science and marine related degrees were keen to take up the position to build on their skills and knowledge and add their involvement with a UK Sustainable Boating Programme to their CV.
Sustainable actions include: ensuring sailing venues have a Spill Kit available to clean up any accidental spills when boaters are handling oil and fuel, ensuring members use re-usable sports bottles during training sessions and events to reduce waste and single use plastic bottles, and making sure boats, trailers and equipment follow the Check Clean Dry approach to minimise the risk of spreading invasive non-native species around UK waters.
Details may be found in the second year 2016-17 Announcement, and this is supported by the criteria for each level of award.
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, email Kate Fortnam , The Green Blue’s Environmental Outreach Officer, or call her on 023 8060 4227.
You can cheer on next year’s University Sailing Clubs through the sustainability challenge by following @thegreenblue on Twitter.