Something to consider for the 2015 sailing season

Published on January 7th, 2015

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
The Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta on Dec. 26-30 took place on Biscayne Bay (Miami, FL) where it reigns as the largest youth regatta in the U.S., and is by all accounts a very well run event.

However, a photo taken at the end of the event captured a trash can on a support boat dock which was literally overflowing with disposable bottles and assorted garbage. It was a regrettable scene, and when the photo was posted to Facebook, it attracted a variety of comments to consider.

Some people blamed the individuals who put their trash there, while others people blamed the venue for not keeping up with the trash can disposal. Scuttlebutt was even blamed for posting the photo (the photographer was blamed too).

There was comments about the trash itself, as most of the items were single-use bottles. Since the photo was at a support dock, some questioned the environmental leadership on display.

There were many comments defending the race administration, and offering assurance that this image was an aberration. I trust this to be the case.

It did make me think about a few issues. The location of the trash can was very convenient, though it was clearly abused. Should we remove all the trash cans? Boy Scouts of America say ‘Pack it in, pack it out’.

The photo was taken at the end of the event, where priorities often get skewed. It reminded me of the elementary school near my house, where parents tend to demonstrate ‘me’ judgment when driving to pick up or drop off.

I had seen similar trash can situations at youth soccer or little league baseball games. Sailing is not unique except for how the trash can get into the ocean.

Luther Carpenter, an Olympic Coach for the U.S. Sailing team, offered a suggestion worth considering…

“It is depressing for sure, particularly as it is coming from support boats. But the regattas will never be prepared for the end of regatta onslaught, and we shouldn’t blame them. How about we all carry at least two large tie-able garbage bags in our boats/bags, bundle our own trash and dispose of it properly. It’s not that hard; I’ll be doing it at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami event in January.”

I believe we as a group are far better than we used to be, but we must continue to build on the momentum that has occurred. Something to consider for the 2015 sailing season.

Yachting journalist Kimball Livingston provides additional commentary here.

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