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Students pave the wave to success at RYA Dinghy Show

by Emma Cotton 1 Mar 14:46 GMT 27-28 February 2021

A record number of university sailing clubs signed-up to join The Green Blue's University Sailing Sustainability Challenge (USSC) this year. However, unlike in any other year the students participating in this year's Challenge had the extra hurdle of achieving their sustainability goals whilst complying with their local coronavirus restrictions.

The annual challenge, which is sponsored by OceanR, encourages members of university sailing clubs to become more environmentally aware and recognises the positive actions that the clubs have implemented to lower their environmental impact.

The clubs move through a three-tier award system: Bronze, Silver and then eventually to Gold. Each tier has a different set of actions for the club to achieve, which range from raising awareness of The Green Blue's key campaign issues, eliminating single use plastics from training and events, to undertaking an environmental assessment of the club's sailing venue.

Kate Fortnam, Campaign Manager at The Green Blue, said: "It has been fantastic to see so many university sailing clubs rising to the task this year, their determination and enthusiasm for sustainability has really shone through. The RYA Dinghy Show is always a great way to end the Challenge and to thank the students for all their hard work, and this year's virtual RYA Dinghy Show has been no different."

"We would also really like to thank this year's Challenge sponsors, OceanR for their support and encouragement, and also the Challenge supporters, the British University Sailing Association (BUSA), for their continued support of the students and the Challenge itself."

The university sailing clubs which achieved the Bronze Award this year were Aberystwyth University, University of Birmingham, Durham University, Exeter University, University of Liverpool, and Swansea University. The Silver Award was awarded to Bournemouth University, University of East Anglia, and the University of Plymouth. The clubs that successfully completed the Gold Award of the Challenge were the University of Bath Sailing Club and the University of Portsmouth.

Chloe Swetenham, student and member of the University of Durham Sailing Club said: "Participating in the University Sustainability Challenge has been a great opportunity for Durham University Sailing Club to evaluate our practices and raise awareness about important environmental issues. We have learnt so much and are excited to take part in the Silver Award next year."

All the successful clubs were entered into a cash prize draw of £1000, sponsored by eco-friendly clothing brand OceanR. £250 was won by the University of Plymouth Sailing Club in the Bronze category, £350 for the Silver category was won by Bournemouth University Sailing Club and £450 was won by the University of Bath Sailing Club in the Gold category.

Adam Chubbock, Partnerships Manager at OceanR said: "We were delighted to be present at the RYA Dinghy Show to congratulate ALL the university sailing clubs on their sustainable achievements in The Green Blue's University Sailing Sustainability Challenge. We were pleased to present the £1000 prize money to the well deserving winners of the Bronze, Silver and Gold categories to invest back into their sustainable activities.

"The Challenge presented an ideal opportunity for OceanR to support the valuable work of The Green Blue and subsidise university sailing clubs. We are now offering a discount of up to 35% to all the teams that entered and achieved an award level. We look forward to working with them in the future."

Kate Ledgard, student and Midlands Chair of the BUSA Committee, commented: "University sailors, we are part of the generation where climate change will take hold and show its effects, so it's important to us that we minimise these as much as possible, and as soon as possible. The Green Blue Challenge is a platform from which we can start to make our change, through raising awareness.

"It's been an interesting year for the Challenge, with a record number of universities signed up, but we should say a special well done to those who have successfully completed an award in these challenging times."

If you are a student that would like to nominate your university to take part in next year's challenge or a member of a club interested in learning how you can make your club's activities more sustainable, visit the 'Get Involved' pages on The Green Blue website: thegreenblue.org.uk or follow The Green Blue on Facebook, Twitter @TheGreenBlue and Instagram: @the_green_blue #GreenBlueUniChallenge.

The Green Blue is a joint environment programme between the RYA and British Marine to encourage a more sustainable recreational boating sector.

To find out more about The Green Blue visit www.thegreenblue.org.uk

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