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Marina de Portimão recognised for two decades of environmental protection

by Clipper Round the World Race 4 Jul 07:33 BST
Marina de Portimão - The first stopover in the Clipper 2019-20 Race © Clipper Race

As the first stopover in the Clipper 2019-20 Race, Marina de Portimão was a welcome respite, with its sparkling, clean waters and care and attention made to its natural surroundings. It is these high standards that have seen the marina be awarded Blue Flag status, for the 20th consecutive year.

Blue Flag is a globally recognised eco-label, which is awarded to beaches and marinas who adhere to and maintain a 'series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria.' Formed over 30 years ago, the programme provided one of the world's first eco labels and is fully aligned to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Blue Flag organisers say 'it is rare for a marina to achieve 20 consecutive years' of its coveted environmental award. Since the beginning of the construction of Marina de Portimão, one of the main objectives was to reduce its environmental impacts. Says Marina Correia, General Manager at Marina de Portimão: "The Arade River has played a fundamental role in the lives of local populations over the centuries, and it is our duty to maintain this aquatic heritage by doing everything in our power to preserve its biodiversity.

"Blue Flag is a distinction that we are very proud of, especially as we work every day to guarantee this award, which we have proudly retained for twenty years in a row. But this distinction would be impossible without our customers, because through their daily routines we all work together to preserve the Arade River, and as a result, the sea that surrounds us."

The Blue Flag organisation works with 4600 sites across the world including beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. Sophie Bachet Granados, International Blue Flag Director says on Marina de Portimão, one of the oldest marinas in Portugal: "Since the beginning, they have of course complied with all our strict criteria. Marina de Portimão is located in a sensitive area of Algarve where the Arade River meets the sea. And she continues: "This year, the Marina de Portimão Beach received its first ever Blue Flag.

"The marina's achievement only can come with the hard work of a dedicated team with fundamental attention to detail. If they have achieved this milestone, it is thanks to their efforts and their vision towards sustainability, which resonates with Blue Flag's own.

"We are proud at Blue Flag to work with such partners who are the frontrunners and always ready to step up to make a difference as we all strive towards excellence. Despite being a private marina, Portimão is very engaged with the local community and municipality. One thing that distinguishes Marina de Portimão is their Solidarity Sailing Project, which adapts sailing boats to be more accessible for people with disabilities. In 2019, the marina hosted the Hansa European Adapted Sailing Championships with the participation of more than 120 sailors and 100 boats."

Clipper Race Crew descended on Marina de Portimão in September 2019, after facing tough conditions since leaving London. A new Host Port Partner, this Algarvian marina set the bar high, with its modern facilities, clean waters and friendly welcome. A prize-giving to remember and an alfresco lounge for the sailors to relax in each evening, meant the crew were able to celebrate ticking off the first race of the circumnavigation in style.

The marina is set against the stunning backdrop of the São João do Arade Castle and Santa Catarina Fortress and is known as the gateway to Europe and the Mediterranean. It offers one of the best boatyard facilities between Gibraltar and Madeira, and is also the last point of call for many boats preparing to cross the Atlantic.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Clipper Race Chairman, attended the inaugural Clipper 2019-20 Race stopover at the Marina de Portimão, seeing first hand what this marina has to offer. He says: "It was a very friendly and helpful marina and created welcome respite for our Race Crew at the beginning of their odyssey.

"Twenty consecutive years of Blue Flag recognition is something to be extremely proud of. The committed team at Marina de Portimão strive to protect the environment around them and most importantly ensure that all visitors inherit the passion they have for sustainable tourism and sailing."

To find out more about Marina de Portimão and the facilities offer, click here.

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