Endeavour site going ‘off the grid’
The America’s Cup Endeavour Programme has education, inspiration and the chance for young people to experience sailing at the heart of its programme, and another core aspect of the initiative is sustainability.
The America’s Cup champions sustainability and environmental responsibility. A global announcement in October of the 35th America’s Cup Sustainability Charter was also supported by the six America’s Cup teams. AC Endeavour demonstrates and teaches sustainable practices every day.
The West Fort, one of AC Endeavour’s two, will shortly be “off the grid”, with solar panels and a sophisticated battery bank generously provided by Alternative Energy Systems (Bermuda) Ltd.
“Huge thanks to Tim Madeiros and his team at AES, for their dedication to sustainability and their amazing support of the America’s Cup Endeavour Programme by providing and installing ten solar panels,” Tom Herbert-Evans, ACEA community sailing manager, said. “There are many sustainability initiatives in the pipeline for America’s Cup Endeavour including solar showers and a community garden so we have a lot more to look forward to.”
In addition to the environmental measures used in the AC Endeavour structures, students use iPads instead of notepads to save paper during their participation in the programme and every student is given a reusable water bottle to use and take home afterward. One of the ten points of the Sustainability Charter is the commitment to eliminate single-use plastics, so providing the thousands of AC Endeavour students with their own water bottles is a good first step in helping them to stop using plastic bottles.
So far, thousands of these bottles have been handed out, so significant progress has been made on that front. Students also learn about marine debris and its impact on the environment and understand the importance of the #SAYNO campaign, creating awareness around the goal to eliminate single-use plastics.
Another good example of AC Endeavour’s sustainability activities is the weekly marine debris module in which students at both West and East Forts take part in beach clean-ups. Students track the debris they collect and as citizen scientists they log each item on the Marine Debris Tracker and International Coastal Conservancy Clean Swell apps.
This connects the data from America’s Cup Endeavour with a global database that identifies where marine debris is found and helps prevent it from impacting our oceans. This is an invaluable part of AC Endeavour, helping students take pride in conserving the island’s pristine marine environment and adding to the international data collation to help marine biologists, and a whole range of associated industries, learn more about our oceans.
“We are incredibly grateful for the support of local environmental organisations including KBB, Bios, Buei, Greenrock and Bamzs and international initiatives such as The Rozalia Project, the US Sailing Reach Programme and 5 Gyres,” Jennifer Pitcher, ACEA community outreach manager, said.
“They help to make our environmental education module relevant for Bermuda while also emphasising the global significance of ocean conservation. Bermuda is in a unique location in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.”
Avoiding water pollution is another component to the AC Sustainability Charter. All AC Endeavour boats are cleaned with a biodegradable product and materials that are certified non-polluting, and none of the boats are treated with antifouling paint.
In fact, America’s Cup Endeavour has an official partnership with Versadock, aUK-based company, which designs and creates cutting-edge floating pontoons and modular docks.
The system allows boats to be moored quickly and safely out of the water, a huge benefit for a dynamic organisation such as America’s Cup Endeavour with many safety boats as part of its operations.
The ten points of the Sustainability Charter are:
n Eliminating single-use plastics: Ocean plastics are an increasing problem and we see the opportunity and message we can convey by committing to identify opportunities to eliminate single use plastics. We will provide our teams with refillable hydration bottles, avoiding single-use plastic drinks bottles.
n Maximise reuse and recycling: Participating in events and setting up temporary bases can produce waste. We are committed to identifying opportunities to reduce our waste as far as reasonably possible. We are committed to identifying opportunities to reuse packaging and other materials and to recycle waste, where local recycling facilities are available.
n Conserving water: We are committed to identifying opportunities to conserve water where reasonably possible, particularly in the launch and retrieval of boats. Where possible, we will use water-saving butts and minimise the water used for boat wash down. Where possible, we will use rain water for the wash down of our boats.
n Avoiding water pollution: We are committed to identifying opportunities to protect the waters in which we sail. Where possible, we will use environmentally friendly cleaning fluids for our boats, ensure safe refuelling procedures and ensure spill-kits are available on support boats.
n Reducing energy / carbon impact: We recognise that through the base, our travel and transport, boat construction and the fuel used in vehicles and support boats, we consume energy and have a carbon impact. We are committed to understanding our carbon footprint and identifying opportunities to reduce this, for example through efficient use of resources and material and product choices. We are committed to identifying opportunities to reduce our electricity consumption.
n Protecting marine habitats: We are committed to identifying opportunities to minimise the risk that our boats and safety boats harm the marine environment. We will not knowingly anchor in areas of fragile marine habitats.
n Being diverse and inclusive: We are committed to embracing diversity and being inclusive in our activities, including fan engagement, staffing and local outreach.
n Supporting the local economy: Through our procurement of goods and services we will endeavour to support the local economy and local suppliers where we operate.
n Communicating a better future: We recognise we are advocates for the oceans and our sport is connected to the natural environment. We will communicate our positive actions and look to inspire fans, suppliers and local communities in taking up our example.
n Sustainability Champions: We will identify a Sustainability Champion in our own team to collaborate with other teams and ensure we are operating in accordance with this team charter.