Leave Only Footprints, Take Only Memories

Published on December 13th, 2015

An international fleet of Moth sailors came to Bermuda to compete on December 7-11 for a $10,000 prize purse, including $5,000 for the winner. The US fleet was well represented, and in this report shares some of their observations of Bermuda…

It’s an absolute pleasure to visit Bermuda, just for the people alone, who appear to love where they live and are excited to share knowledge. It seems that most residents have lived on island their entire lives; some leave for a few years to “get their wild streak out” but something always brings them back.

“Bermuda is the safest place in the world,” reports our taxi driver, who explained that it was lettuce growing season, and how just about every other house had a huge vegetable garden. The island does not import in-season foods until the local source runs out.

There are few beaches in Bermuda, which was built atop a volcano, but a barefoot walk amid the pink sand on those beaches is reason enough for taking every precaution to preserve the 21 square mile island. Unlike beaches created from broken rocks or shells, sand in Bermuda comes from reef fish eating algae off coral reefs and then excreting the ‘sand’!

Coral reefs were brought up by several locals as being in danger, especially with all of the 35th Americas Cup activity.

“The coastal development that’s needed for allowing bigger ships demands the physical removal of sections of reefs,” says marine biologist Samia Sarkis. “Corals do not recover quickly from these impacts, and damaged and unhealthy reefs will entrain changes in fish composition and abundance.”

Local sailor Ted Gosling gave a tour of his property where he and his wife Rachel share one car – a government restriction. Ted pointed out the beautiful tree grown on top of the soak-away pit built adjacent to his house used for domestic wastes. To help the environment, Ted also refuses to eat fish.

“Fishing pressure continues to threaten commercial species and the scope of illegal harvesting of protected species is not known,” explains Sarkis. “Recreational fishing is still largely unregulated, apart from species-specific daily catch and size limits and the seasonal closures for some species.”

Boat hose down is a topic of interest, as all water in Bermuda is captured from rainwater. The reverse-osmosis systems have been adapted, but the important thing to understand is this process still requires energy.

Unlike San Francisco during the 2013 America’s Cup, the Bermuda government takes no part to enforce good environmental protection behavior. In terms of the 35th America’s Cup to be held in Bermuda, all of this comes from non-governmental organizations and volunteers. Chemical contamination, nutrient pollution, and faecal pollution remain long-term threats and no immediate steps are planned for the reduction or mitigation of these issues. It will be up to us to keep Bermuda beautiful!

The US International Moth fleet, working with 11th Hour Racing, sought to organize good practices during the event. Due to advanced planning, local Bermudians teamed up to do the following:

• Create a green team
• Use reusable cups & table cloths
• Compost all food and table ware
• Encourage reusable water bottles & have water refill stations
• Give away environmentally friendly boat soap
• Make sure to have plenty of trash, waste, recycling and compost bins
• Offer recycling
• Create spill kits for all support boats
• Use local & sustainable food
• Try to make the event paperless

Guidance came from the Sailor’s for the Sea best practices list.

As sailors left the Bermuda airport, instead of hearing the typical “If you see something, say something” or “Don’t leave bags unattended”, the PA system message was, “We recycle, help us keep Bermuda beautiful by finding the appropriate trash bins.” As the taxi driver noted, the island is safe the island, with the immediate concern all about the environment.

RACING: Rob Greenhalgh (GBR) stamped his dominance on the inaugural Amlin International Moth Regatta on the final day of the event hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Lying in second overall entering the December 11, Greenhalgh won all three races to win the championship and the winner’s share of $5,000 of the $10,000 prize purse. Full report.

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