Environmental concerns impact ISAF Youth World Championship

Published on April 1st, 2014

(April 1, 2014) – In a break from a long standing tradition, it was announced that at the 2014 ISAF Youth World Championship, the Mixing of the Waters Ceremony can no longer proceed due to environmental concerns.

This ritual, much loved by participants and hosts alike, would blend small amounts of water brought by the contestants from their home nations at the Opening Ceremony of the championship.

In justifying the decision, ISAF CEO Jerome Pels referred to the International Maritime Organization Guidelines for the control and management of ships’ ballast water to minimize the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens.

“We have to play our role in minimizing the dangers of introducing new and potentially harmful species to the waters in which we sail,” explained Pels. “Can you imagine the impact Australian Box Jelly Fish could have on Lake Garda, or what if Chinese Carp were migrated to the Dutch lake – Ijsselmeer. Sailors have to be responsible global citizens.”

When it was pointed out that the amounts of water involved in the ceremony were miniscule, Pels responded that “it only takes one egg…..”

At the same time, Pels also announced that ISAF was encouraging Olympic Sailing Teams that will be traveling to Brazil, to bring large amounts of their home waters with them to support a clean-up of Guanabara Bay, currently heavily polluted through garbage and sewage disposal.

Pels suggested the introduction of certain species might improve the water conditions. “Look at what the zebra mussel has done for Lake Erie,” he said, a reference to the reported increase in water clarity from 6 inches to up to three feet in some areas.

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