World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award 2020
Finalist: 2019 Hyundai 49er 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championship (NZL)
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Gold medallists Pete Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL), Annemiek Bekkering & Annette Duetz (NED), and Vittorio Bissaro & Maelle Frascari (ITA) took the headlines on the water, but away from the racecourse, this regatta was breaking new grounds.

The Hyundai 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championship, held in December 2019 and hosted at Royal Akarana Yacht Club in Auckland, New Zealand, was listed by Sailors For The Sea as a Platinum Clean Regatta, one of only five in the world.

With over 400 athletes, 130 coaches and 150 volunteers in attendance, the organisers, with the help of a dedicated Green Team, had the task of engaging as many people as possible to participate in the various initiatives, as well as educating them further about the impact of these events on the local environment and providing a sustainable blueprint for future regattas. Around 70 action initiatives were conducted overall.

A beach and bay clean-up was organised ahead of the Worlds, joined by numerous Olympic athletes, while a group of Sea Cleaners hauled up rubbish from the seabed, including car tyres, chains, fishing gear and pipes.

The event itself was paper-less and eliminated single use-plastics. Athletes were able to access multiple water refill stations, while only sustainably-sourced food options, with compostable packaging and dinnerware, were available on-site. Nearly 60% of the waste was recycled and a carbon offset scheme was introduced. Harmful cleaning products were also eliminated, and oil spillages were prevented.

Additionally, the first ever Outstanding Environmental Contribution award was created, with the intention to continue it annually at future Worlds. The trophy was designed and crafted by Auckland boat builder Mike Pearce from a piece of carbon Nacra mast damaged in a storm. The inaugural winner of the award was Argentinean 49er sailor Yago Lange, a strong voice amongst the sailors’ community on sustainability and environmental issues in the sport.

The 2019 Hyundai 49er 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championship is a finalist for this year’s World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award. The Award celebrates the effective execution or ongoing delivery of high-impact, highly-replicable sustainability initiatives, aligned to World Sailing’s Sustainability Agenda 2030. A prize of $10,000 USD is up for grabs to assist the winner in funding future sustainability initiatives.

For the first time in the Award’s history, the public will be invited to vote for their favourite initiative. Click here to vote for the 2019 Hyundai 49er 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championship. Voting closes 4 December.

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