Mini race, max impact

By: Jane Swan, The Green Blue

Mini race, max impact

Planning for a sustainable Mini Transat 2015

It’s increasingly common these days for major events to include sustainability in their vision, operations and legacy, London 2012 having led the way. It’s also becomingly increasingly common for teams and competitors to consider where sustainability might fit within their campaigns, Team Origin’s ‘Race for Change’ being a great example of recent times.

Becky Scott, Artemis Offshore Academy graduate, is doing just that as part of her two year campaign to qualify for the 2015 Mini Transat, and with a Masters in Environmental Management is well qualified to take on the challenge.

Tough challenge

The Mini Transat is one of the toughest solo yacht races in the world thanks to the combination of the small size of the boats (6.5m or 21ft), the distance (4,020 miles across the Atlantic) and the restrictions on the technology permitted on board. The race typically attracts over 80 boats to the start line and it has a real spirit of adventure, demanding both strength and endurance from competitors.

For some time now, Becky has been exploring how possible it would be to take a more sustainable approach to racing without compromising either competitiveness or performance. In fact, she’s going a step further, also exploring how sustainability might even provide some marginal gains in terms of efficiency to be the lightest and fastest with the least waste, be that in time or resource.

Becky is focusing her campaign on a number of key sustainability objectives; the campaign’s carbon footprint and in particular the dichotomy of sustainability versus time pressures to move the boat – by sea or by road – to get it where it needs to be to maximise training opportunities as well as preparation and maintenance.

Other objectives include exploring new technologies and ideas; behavioural changes to reduce resource consumption and waste; data collection on marine wildlife to help support research and protection of marine species as well as observing the volumes and likely origination of marine litter during the crossing; and taking steps to minimise any pollution to the marine environment during the race, but particularly from work done on the boat when out of the water.
Small steps such as making lee cloths recycled from old sails, deploying refuelling devices to prevent spills when filling the outboard (although a switch to an electric outboard is definitely on the wish list), and using environmentally friendly cleaning products will all make a difference, but changes to the boat (within the class rules) will be important such as installing photovoltaic solar panels to generate the power required as it crosses the Atlantic.

As well as focusing on the immediate impacts of the campaign, Becky hopes to inspire an interest and commitment from other sailors to act more sustainably where possible.

This also includes looking more widely to all those who will be involved in the campaign, especially working with sponsors, suppliers and partners to ensure they are playing their part by being committed to sustainable best practice in their own operations – and this is just one of the areas where The Green Blue will step in to lend a helping hand.


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