Delivering on its sustainability mission
Published on December 18th, 2023
by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
The 52 SUPER SERIES, with the TP52 Class, showcases monohull racing at its finest. Elite competition, with the best of gear and an international field of competitors, delivers a very high standard as an annual professional-level circuit.
Elite events in the sport have also latched on to our new-found environmental awareness. While it is ironic for a messenger with discardable equipment and jet-setting personnel to be selling sustainability, something is better than nothing, right?
While I get a bit Curmudgeonly on this topic, I remain stoked at the 52 SUPER SERIES effort… here’s an update from the circuit:
Throughout what proved to be an exciting, demanding and dynamic 2023 52 SUPER SERIES season, the world’s leading grand prix monohull circuit has continued to deliver on its fundamental sustainability policies whilst incorporating new ideas and initiatives and continuously working hard to expand the global reach and diversity of its messaging.
The basic elements have been in place for many years now: reducing waste, recycling, minimizing the impact of each event whilst directly educating and influencing the local communities to bring about positive changes to behaviors and choices.
But at the same time, there has been a renewed effort to have a more positive, tangible effect at each event. At the five regattas this season – Saint Tropez, Scarlino, Menorca, Barcelona, and Puerto Portals – the circuit’s sustainability group has collaborated with local NGOs and sustainability programs to enhance their work.
As typical examples, in Barcelona the 52 SUPER SERIES works with No Más Invisibles, at Puerto Portals it is Yachting Gives Back. Both are organizations which re-distribute fresh, high-quality food which is not used during each day.
And so, from an initiative which started out helping those in need in Palma, now the same kind of program is delivered at each event. Nine different NGOs and groups have worked with the 52 SUPER SERIES during the 2023 season, all pushing towards the same common goals.
Also new this year, thanks to our collaboration with XS, is the XS Green Team Sustainable Changemakers Award. This coveted award was presented at the end of season prizegiving to Team Vayu.
Beach, harbor, and foreshore clean ups remain a staple activity at every regatta. On the surface, they may seem to be ‘on trend’ but the two most important outcomes are that they leave the area in a much better state than when we arrived, and there is a message to the local community and to visitors is that everyone can do better and not leave litter of any size.
It is four years since the circuit started working with partner Bluewater. The Bluewater filtering drinking water machines are now not only used by sailors, teams and staff but, increasingly, are used and available to visitors to the venue location. Over the 2023 season the water station filtered and dispenses 18,000 litres of water. This removes the need for 36,000 half litre plastic bottles.
Each regatta welcomes local youngsters to learn about the fragility of the marine and coastal environment and how we can better take care of it. It is important that this is done in a fun, informed manner with small to medium sized groups so that each young visitor has a chance to meet sailors and get on board and learn how our wonderful racing machines work. This year, 91 youngster joined our sustainability program.
In Menorca and Barcelona, we facilitated under water clean ups, encouraging local diving schools to help out. In Menorca, this was Merak Diving and in Barcelona it was Vanas Diving who got involved.
Our pool of ambassadors – usually one or two members from each sailing team – are now the lifeblood of our sustainability program. They share the passion and the drive out to the sailing teams continuing to inspire and motivate.
And more and more new ideas come from within this group which is not only gratifying but it enhances the swift and efficient adoption of new ideas. An example of this fine balance is monitoring and driving down fuel use on the race areas.
And in terms of messaging, the 52 SUPER SERIES seeks to use its shared voice to best effect, looking to use our global audience via our social networks. To a reach which in 2023 totaled 4,362,148 million accounts, it is especially exciting to see that it is one of our sustainability reels which attracted the widest audience of all, some 1.2 million accounts.
Our collaboration with Kick Out Plastic goes from strength to strength. The global association of leading, influential exponents of multiple different sports all share the same sense of responsibility to use their influence to reverse the climate crisis.
A prime example of this includes the visit of Spain and Barcelona FC’s Kick Out Plastic ambassador Ferran Torres to the Rolex TP52 World Championships. His message publicizing the water station use and discouraging the use of plastic bottles reached an audience of 340,160 accounts.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved in 2023 and how we all motivate and inspire each other to be accountable to do better,” reports Lars Böcking, Sustainability Director for the 52 SUPER SERIES.
“By comparison to other pinnacle sailing events, I feel we achieve a great deal with our key resources being passion, ideas, and commitment rather than being able to direct big budgets into this vital arena.”
“With both the beach and underwater clean-ups, together with unused food collection at every venue, we’re setting a new standard. Watch out for our 2024 plans!”
52 SUPER SERIES 2024 Schedule
April 28-May 2 – 52 SUPER SERIES PalmaVela Sailing Week – Palma Mallorca, Spain
June 11-16 – 52 SUPER SERIES Newport Trophy – Newport, RI, USA
July 16-20 – ROLEX TP52 World Championship Newport – Newport, RI, USA
August 28-September 1 – Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week – Puerto Portals, Spain
September 24-28 – Valencia 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup – Valencia, Spain
The TP52 Class racing began in 2006 with the first World Championship held in 2008. Popularity continued with the TP52 MedCup until the principal sponsor withdrew in 2011, but an ownership group established the 52 SUPER SERIES in 2012 which is considered the world’s leading grand prix monohull yacht racing circuit.
52 SUPER SERIES 2023 Schedule
May 2-7 – 52 SUPER SERIES Saint Tropez Sailing Week – Saint Tropez, France
May 29-June 3 – 52 SUPER SERIES Scarlino Sailing Week – Scarlino, Italy
July 4-9 – Menorca 52 SUPER SERIES Royal Cup & tbc TP52 Invitational – Menorca, Spain
August 21-26 – Rolex TP52 World Championship Barcelona – Barcelona, Spain
September 18-23 – Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES Sailing Week – Puerto Portals, Spain
Source: 52 Super Series