This year a new award (the Volvo Irish Sailing Sustainability Award) was presented to joint winners Royal Cork Yacht Club and Howth Yacht Club for innovative ideas when thinking about the environment and sustainability. From providing sailors with reusable water bottles at events, using compostable food and coffee containers, paper straws, online documents, to organising rubbish collections from their local waters and giving educational talks, both clubs invested much energy into reducing the impact sailing has on the environment, and worked with young sailors, members and their local communities to create sustainable sailing practices.At Volvo Cork Week 2018 , hosted by RCYC, the club attained the Gold Certification from the International ‘Sailors for the Sea’ Clean Regatta programme with the event sustainability partners MaREI Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy and An Taisce’s Clean Coasts programme. The Clean Regattas programme is the world’s only sustainability certification for water-based events. The initiative helps people run more environmentally friendly events to protect local waters and beyond, raising the bar for ocean health around the world. Pictured are Aoife Deane of MaREI and Capt. Pat Farnan, Admiral RCYC, with the award citation
Gavin Deane, General Manager at the RCYC and marketing lead on the Cool Route noted that “In addition to the Royal Cork’s environmental and sustainability work during events, the Club also collaborates with MaREI who came in to talk to our young sailors during our sailing courses about caring for the marine environment. The talk entitled Ocean Devotion covered the importance of the sea to our lives – for providing food, transport, leisure and oxygen – why we need to care for it, and how we can take action.”
MaREI has delivered ocean literacy outreach activities at the Royal Cork Yacht Club for the last 3 years, a collaboration which led to the Club running Volvo Cork Week 2018 as a Clean Regatta, a certification from the Sailors the Sea program. The MaREI research team comprises internationally recognised experts from UCC, NUIG, UL, MU, UCD, and CIT- which is leader of the Cool Route project.
As our readers will know, The Cool Route won the outright Atlantic Area 2018 Award for sustainability through the promotion of small marinas and pontoons as drivers of marine tourism in areas stretching from Cork in Southern Ireland to Tromso in Western Norway. The project has supported communities throughout these coastlines to build recognition of the significant contribution, which such local facilities can make to sustainable tourism in their regions and in particular driving new business opportunities for local enterprises.
An economic assessment undertaken by the CIT Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence on the value of sailing to Cork Harbour and in which the Royal Cork Yacht Club is a prime player, found that sailing contributes over €10 million each year to the immediate local economy- adding the sustainability accolades on foot of these significant awards, provides a very strong win- win for all concerned including local communities, enterprises and the amazing marine life of Cork Harbour and our coastlines.