Water, Water Everywhere – Sailing World

It all started with the humble water bottle… Eliminating single use water bottles was one of the very first practices implemented by 11th Hour Racing – here Sailing World shares some of 11th Hour Racing’s tips on how to create your own system.


In the interest of sustainability and convenience, sailors are implementing water filtration systems with reusable bottles. Ambassadors for 11th Hour Racing share tips for building your own hydration system.

IN THE BILGE OF the Farr 40 Flash Gordon, metal water bottles are neatly packed together as the team heads out to the racecourse at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds. The bottles were filled using nothing more than the dock hose and a portable carbon filter.

The reason is simple: Eliminating single-use bottles on the raceboat, and replacing them with a hydra- tion system, also cuts back on waste. Beyond the environmental benefits, these systems are porta- ble, cheaper than buying pallets of water bottles, and make it easier for sailors to stay well-hydrated.


The water program aboard Flash Gordon began in 2012. Every morning, the team refills all of its bottles at the dock using a GE home filtration system that attaches directly to the dock hose. The team also has an onboard bladder system so bottles can be refilled throughout the day. For classes that allow coach boats, spare bottles can be transferred to the raceboat as needed.


The team labels every bottle with its owner’s name, and the caps are labeled with initials. When rac- ing, the helmsman prefers the sport cap for one-handed drinking, while everyone else uses the nor- mal cap and can drink quickly from the wide mouth of the bottles. For electrolytes, they carry tablets in several flavors.


Filters on the portable filtration system should last two regattas, but the team changes them at every regatta because the system comes with a full spare filter and replacement kit for one season of use. The team follows the manu- facturer’s instructions for storage and maintenance of the system between events.

The reusable bottles are sani- tized at the end of each event, or sometimes in the middle of a long event. At times, washing takes place on the dock. Other times, the team has access to a facility with a sink and running water.

The best part about these water programs is that they’re replicable, scalable and doable. With a little creativity and a trip or two to Home Depot, a system can be scaled for any class or pro- gram. For more information on other hydration systems and case studies conducted by 11th Hour Racing, visit sailingworld.com.


Assuming that each day, each sailor drinks four stan- dard single-use water bottles (16.9 oz), and that an event includes three practice days and five racing days:

5 days of racing = 20 standard-size single-use water bottles
3 days of practice = 12 standard-size single-use water bottles

Total water per team member per event = 32 standard-size single-use water bottles

For a team of 20 people, this equals 640 standard-size water bottles per event, or 18 cases of 35 bottles. At $20 a case, the team would spend about $360 for the week. The one-time cost of the GE home filtration system is half that price.

Source: Sailing World, issue 564, Nov-Dec 2015.

Photos courtesy of: 11th Hour Racing Ambassadors, 52 Super Series, Quantum Racing/Keith Brash, Bella Mente, Interlodge Sailing Team, Flash Gordon, NOOD Regattas, Epic Racing.

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