Blue. That’s a color with great significance. It’s the branding color for Sperry, the title sponsor of Sperry Charleston Race Week. And, in a slightly lighter shade, it’s the signature color of Sailors for the Sea, the nonprofit environmental advocacy organization that orchestrates the Clean Regattas Program.
For the third year in a row, Sperry Charleston Race Week’s organizers are going blue. That is, they’ve registered the regatta as a Clean Regattas event.
The Clean Regattas Program, which is billed as “the world’s only sustainability certification for water-based events,” serves to connect and mobilize sailors by offering support and resources that enable them to conserve and protect the ocean that is so vital to the pursuit of their shared pastime.
The program provides guidelines for event organizers intent on mitigating/diminishing the impact of their event. (A list of 25 best practices, ranging from good waste management to public engagement on ocean-related issues, is offered on the Sailors for the Sea website.) In addition, this nonprofit offers event organizers plenty of incentive through its levels of certification. To date, 650 events around the world are participants in the program.
“We’ve committed our event to adopting the most environmentally sensitive practices that we can,” said Charleston Race Week Event Director Randy Draftz, “and we’re able to accelerate that work by partnering with Sailors for the Sea.”
This year, explained Draftz, Sperry Charleston Race Week will host some 2,500 sailors, who along with roughly 300 event volunteers, make up a sizeable number of individuals. To mitigate the impact of all those people eating, drinking, commuting and consuming, Draftz and his fellow organizers are implementing a number of environmentally sensitive practices drawn from the Clean Regattas list.
“For example,” offers Draftz, “we’ll use electric golf carts for transporting competitors from the outer parking areas to the event venue instead of gas-powered ones. And this year we’re hoping to use only compostable materials for our food and beverage service. In addition, we’re limiting our dependence on single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing competitors reusable CamelBak water bottles (courtesy of Sperry) and our race committees other water bottles (courtesy of West Marine) that they can refill at the Zip2Water station right near the marina office. In addition, we’ve also partnered with Clean Harbors, and environmental services company. Each of these things is an important step in the right direction.”
Tyson Bottenus, Sustainability Director at Sailors for the Sea, concurs: “Our organization is enthusiastic about partnering with Sperry Charleston Race Week, and we’re pleased that the event has once again committed to serve as a model for responsible sailing.” Bottenus continued, “This world-class regatta draws thousands of sailors to South Carolina, and it makes our organization proud to support this event in its efforts to educate participants about ocean conservation.”
ottenus will be on hand at the regatta for the second year in a row, helping the event organizers and their volunteers to succeed in these efforts. For more information about the Clean Regattas program, log on to sailorsforthesea.org. For more information about Sperry Charleston Race Week, log on to charlestonraceweek.com.
About Sperry Charleston Race Week
Sperry Charleston Race Week runs from April 16-19 this year and is open to all sailboats 19 to 80 feet in length. (The offshore classes accept boats from 24 to 80 feet, but only those capable of sailing offshore.) The event is owned and managed by Charleston Ocean Racing Association, and is supported by Sperry, the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, Vineyard Vines, Gosling’s Rum, and Quantum Sail Design Group. Additional sponsors include the Town of Mt. Pleasant, Gill, Coral Reef Sailing Apparel, and Torqeedo Outboards, along with Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Newport Shipyard, B&G/Simrad, West Marine, Optimum Time, Francisco Davila’s Signature Coffee, Dimension Polyant, Bainbridge, with additional support from US Sailing, Charleston Community Sailing, New England Ropes, Other Brother Entertainment, Clean Harbors, Stage Presence Event Rentals, College of Charleston Sailing Association, Zip2Water, Harken, Rancilio Coffee, Other Brother Entertainment, Charleston County, Clean Harbors, New England Ropes, OceanRacing.com, Charleston Yacht Club, Cricket Wireless, SailFlow.com, and Azalea Moving and Storage.
Sperry was founded in 1935 by avid sailor, inventor and intrepid explorer Paul Sperry. From the invention of the world’s first boat shoe to a full collection of sea-tested lifestyle products, Sperry equips all those who believe the best stories are written with their feet. Proud sponsor of the United States Sailing Team and numerous world-class regattas, including Charleston Race Week and Head of the Charles, Sperry is distributed around the world at independent and department stores in North America, Asia, Europe and Latin America, Sperry specialty retail stores and at Sperry.com. Sperry® is a division of Wolverine World Wide, Inc. one of the world’s leading marketers of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport, athletic, children’s and uniform footwear and apparel. The Company’s portfolio of highly recognized brands also includes: Merrell®, Hush Puppies®, Saucony®, Wolverine®, Keds®, Stride Rite®, Sebago®, Cushe®, Chaco®, Bates®, HYTEST®, and Soft Style®. The Company also is the global footwear licensee of the popular brands Cat® and Harley-Davidson®. The Company’s products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in approximately 200 countries and territories. For additional information, please visit our website, wolverineworldwide.com.
by Dan Dickison and Corey Farrell