College Sailing Comes Clean by John Mollicone

John is the Head Sailing Coach at Brown University.  An outstanding coach, and sailor, John’s coaching goes beyond his tactical expertise.  He sets the bar high when it comes to sportsmanship and stewardship.

There is so much information out there about the pollution in our waters and the coastal environment.  The problem is how many of us are doing anything to make things better?  Well, College Sailing (The Intercollegiate Sailing Association) is taking steps in the right direction to ensure that its sailors and coaches are doing their part.  In recent years, College Sailing has instituted rules and policies to bring a different perspective to the world we spend more than half of our year in.  College sailors and coaches practice and compete more than 30 hours per week six months a year making our oceans, rivers, and lakes our home.  If you sail in college then you probably spend more time on or near the water than you do in your dorm room or in class.  Here are some of the ways the college sailing world is making a difference:

Personal Water Bottles: At Brown University, we give each sailor their own water bottle when they join the team.  They bring it to practice each day and to regattas.  It’s College Sailing Policy that each sailor and coach bring their own water bottle to every regatta, eliminating the cases of water bottles we saw for decades.  It is now frowned upon to show up to a College Sailing event with a single use plastic water bottle.  We bring this policy into our daily practices as well.

Powdered Energy Drinks: Sailors are athletes and every athlete needs energy.  Gatorade is popular with our team and instead of using plastic bottles of Gatorade we buy a can of Gatorade powder and our sailors add the right mix to their personal water bottles.

Regatta Hosts Provide H20: At nearly every venue in College Sailing, the regatta hosts provide a water source so sailors and coaches can refill their water bottles.  Zip dispensers, water fountains, and tap water can be found at our weekend events to refill.

Bring a Cooler: Almost every team on the College Sailing Circuit has at least one team cooler to travel to regattas.  Eliminate plastic bags and accumulating trash and keep all of your food in the cooler.  You will save your condiments and left over food for the regatta if you have a cooler to keep everything cool.  You’ll save lots of money as well.

Throw it Out: College Sailing venues are certainly getting cleaner, and picking up trash in parking lots, along the coastline, and in the water is something that college sailors are doing more of.  Having the mindset to keep our waters clean is becoming more evident in the world of College Sailing.  On almost a daily basis, one of my sailors will come along side the coach boat with a piece of trash they picked up while sailing and throw it in the coach boat.  It’s not that hard!

College sailors are carrying these practices into their daily life’s and doing what they can to protect our environment.  Why wouldn’t you when the water is your home more than half the year.