Tortola, February 25, 2009:  For those of us who love to sail the sea is a sanctuary. It is our place of adventure, our home away from home and our playpen.  But two comprehensive studies — by the 2003 Pew Oceans Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy — have made it dramatically apparent that our beloved ocean is severely threatened. With that in mind, the 2009 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival has joined forces withSailors for the Sea to reduce the pollution generated by the regatta and to promote ocean awareness to others.  March 30 – April 5, 2009, the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival with presenting sponsor Nanny Cay Marina and Resort will be going “clean and green”.

Judy Petz, BVI Spring Regatta Director, explains, “For 2008, we realized we had an opportunity to help the environment and started by recycling glass and succeeded with over 10,000 bottles.  Although that may not seem dramatic to those living in other parts of the world, nothing is currently recycled in the BVI and so this was a start.   For 2009, we contacted Sailors for the Sea, a conservation group that focuses on sailing and the boating community.  We are ready to take the clean-green plunge.”

“Clean Regatta certification has many tangible and intangible benefits to regatta organizers, yacht clubs and marinas. Most notable is the immediately reduced impact on local waters as Clean Regatta events generate less material waste, reduce the amount of debris in the water and on shore, and the amount of non-point source pollution washed into the sea,” said Dan Pingaro, CEO, Sailors for the Sea. “But the benefits extend beyond the boundaries of the event by instilling in the minds and hearts of the event organizers and participants a sense of duty and responsibility. We are thrilled that everyone involved in BVI Spring Regatta will take steps to serve as stewards of the ecosystems and habitats for marine mammals, fish, and birds, and help to keep the local waters clean for everyone who swims, sails and plays along the shores of the BVI.”

Efforts at the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival this year will include the continued glass recycling, a list of criteria from the SFS and our own initiative to reduce plastic waste by 30%.   Any given race boat will generate between 20 – 100 small plastic bottles per race day.  Multiply that times 160 participating boats and we are looking at a mountain of plastic.  Sponsored by BVI Tourist Board, all sailors will be given reusable water bottles and Clearwater Purification System has offered to refill these bottles for free.

In addition to the water bottles, the BVI Tourist Board is providing skipper bags, which are made from recycled materials and are designed to be reusable to take gear, food or whatever to and from the boat.   Abby O’Neal, Marine Marketing Coordinator for the BVI Tourist Board, is quite pleased to be a part of the environmentally friendly initiative.   "The BVI Spring Regatta has always been an innovator when it comes to promoting the BVI, putting on an event that truly showcase the destination’s beauty and being environmentally responsible.  The BVI Tourist Board applauds these efforts.  We are  proud to sponsor the event and be partner  as we create awareness  of  ’green’ tourism in the BVI."

The BVI Tourist Board and Clearwater are not the only sponsors who want to be part of the ‘clean and green’ initiative. Nanny Cay Marina and Resort are setting up the glass recycling bins.  SOL will be providing sailors with oil spill pads and Heineken is helping to promote these initiatives with posters around the Regatta Village.