Baker Trophy

Case Study

Hosted by Chicago Yacht Club, May 23 – 24

Considered the “Super Bowl” for high school sailors who team race, the Baker Trophy brings teams from around the country for a weekend of highly competitive sailing. Chicago Yacht Club, who hosted the event this year, decided to up the competitiveness of this event by shooting for Gold level Clean Regatta certification.

Reusable Water Bottles and Sustainability Sponsorship

Replacing single use water bottles with reusable water bottles can be a difficult challenge and, in and of itself, can be a huge victory for any regatta organizer trying to reduce the amount of plastic waste their event creates. By simply providing water refill stations and requiring sailors to bring their own reusable water bottle, some of the onus is relieved, but to achieve high marks, it’s best if some sort of reusable water bottle is offered to sailors who simply forgot or just don’t have a bottle.

For the Baker Trophy, a local reusable water bottle sponsor, Lively!, stepped up to the plate and engaged in the Clean Regatta campaign. By providing their customizable and reusable water bottles, Lively!’s brand gained exposure through a national regatta at a prestigious yacht club, and sailors got to take home a souvenir from the Baker Trophy.

In addition, the Baker Trophy also worked with Chicago Electric Boat and Hinckley Springs who provided electric boat service for spectators and five-gallon jugs of water for competitors.

Zero Waste Policies

We get lots of questions about whether folks should use paper plates versus compostable plates, versus biodegradable… why not skip all of this and just use real plates if you can? Because of the size of the Baker Trophy, regatta organizers were able to work with the Chicago Yacht Club so that all meals could be served on actual plates. Nothing was thrown away.

In addition, the Baker Trophy made sure to ask for more recycling bins and placed them adjacent to all waste bins. This is a simple, but often overlooked, aspect of Clean Regattas and can really improve the performance of your recycling efforts. Typically sailing programs have one or two recycling bins in places where few people can find them. Having numerous, well-marked recycling bins (placed directly against trash/landfill bins) is a great way to ensure that no unwanted waste gets into the landfill, or worse, the marine environment.

Conservation Promotion

In the Sailing Instructions, the following was used to convey sustainability initiatives to racers:

We are trying to make this regatta a Sailors for the Sea Gold Level Clean Regatta. All race documents will be available online. Please use the recycling bins provided to reduce waste. Sailors will be provided with reusable water bottles.

In addition, Sailors for the Sea burgees were hung and stickers were handed out. The regatta had a distinct “green” vibe. Bicycle racks were provided for anyone who wished to skip the car and take a pedal-powered method of transportation down to the venue. All registration forms could be found online, eliminating reams of unnecessary printouts.

On Water Sustainability

No private spectator boats were allowed. Instead, all spectator boats could take a very eco-friendly electric boat ride to watch the competition. All umpires on the course “carpooled” (or “boatpooled”) together in the interest of eliminating a few extra boats on the water. In addition, they carried five gallon jugs of water with dolphin pumps so that they could help refill sailors’ water bottles on the fly. The Rotation Barge, where sailors changed boats, came equipped with heads (toilets) so that no waste had to go directly into the lake. All sailors’ lunches came in reusable bags so that no plastic bags had to be used.

In addition, we’d like to thank the regatta organizers who ran the Baker Trophy for providing excellent pictures and providing metrics for what they were able to accomplish!