Youth Sailing World Championships

The 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships was held in Corpus Christi, Texas, it marked the first World Sailing event to include an environmental focus at the World Championship level and adopted the theme of sustainability and ocean conservation. 11th Hour Racing joined as the Official Sustainability Partner, supporting the initiatives that will become a sustainability benchmark for all future World Sailing Championships, for future Corpus Christi citywide events, and the Texas Youth Sailing Regatta circuit.


The Youth Sailing World Championships was first held in Angelholm, Sweden in 1971 where 16 nations competed for the inaugural titles in the two-person dinghies, 420 and Flipper. The 38th edition, held from the 14th to the 21st of July 2018, brought together the worlds’ best young sailors, aged up to 19-years-old, on the Olympic pathway. Corpus Christi welcomed 400 sailors from 65 nations – to date, 105 different nations have competed in the Youth Worlds, with the most recent newcomer being Mozambique at the 2013 edition.


Setting a high standard for sustainability moving forward, the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships set out to not only minimize their impact but provide education on sustainability and ocean conservation to competitors and beyond. Highlights include:

  • Developed a comprehensive Sustainability Report sharing lessons learned for future events, and a Sustainability Event Plan so that other events in Corpus Christi can reduce their waste.
  • Avoided the use of 65,000 single-use plastic water bottles (12 oz.) by using refillable water bottles and water refill stations.
  • A total of 3.28 tonnes of waste was diverted from the landfill or 89.8% of total waste created. This meant 53.8% was recycled and 31.5% was composted – preventing 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being emitted.
  • 400 re-usable bungee cord connectors replaced plastic zip ties, banners and flags were held with renewable bamboo flag poles – the bamboo poles were given to community gardens for re-use after the event.
  • 283 storm drain inlets were marked with information about the flow of pollution and to prevent illegal dumping.
  • More than 400,000 people were exposed to the problem of plastic pollution through art events that engaged the broader public, including an exhibit at Corpus Christi International Airport.
  • Achieved Platinum Level of Clean Regatta, from Sailors for the Sea, with the support of a ‘Green Team’ volunteers that brought the sustainability plan to fruition.
  • Promote environmental awareness and ocean conservation to the youth participants in the regatta and the local South Texas community by including an environmental education component in the regatta festivities.

To ensure these goals were met, competitors, team leaders, coaches, volunteers, and all stakeholders were asked to follow guidelines that include, but are not limited to:

  • Bringing personal reusable water bottles as no single-use plastic bottles were allowed in the venue.
  • Bringing reusable shopping bags and food containers as no plastic bags or single-use plastics were allowed in the hotel or venue.
  • Supporting waste management plan by properly sorting personal waste into receptacles for recycling, composting and landfill.
  • Cleaning boats with water only as deck soaps contain phosphates and nitrates that can dramatically affect water quality and can harm sea life.
  • Use reef-safe sunscreens.

With the support of Corpus Christi Yacht Club, the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the Art Center of Corpus Christi, the event included a series of sustainability initiatives:

  • Dr. Sylvia Earle spoke at the opening ceremony.
  • Beach clean-ups sponsored by Texas Coastal Bend Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.
  • Movie screening of ‘A Plastic Ocean.’
  • Exhibition of Sheila Rogers ‘Oceans of Plastic’ artwork, as part of an education piece at the Art Center of Corpus Christi.
  • Competitor’s voted on an award for best sustainability practices
  • Exhibition of solar-powered compost machine designed by the Islander Green Team, a student organization at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Click here to read the 2018 Youth World Sailing Championships Sustainability Report.

In addition to these efforts, the Green Team Committee developed a Sustainability Event Plan to provide guidelines and resources for other organizations in Corpus Christi to run more sustainable events. The goal is to encourage other groups to make their activities more sustainable voluntarily and to improve their community by reducing the use of plastics and waste generated during public events.

Image header photo credit: James Tomlinson/ World Sailing


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