Top sustainability award for CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week

CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week organisers, including co-founder and Chairperson Nina Kiff (far right), say they are thrilled to achieve Platinum Level Clean Regattas certification. © Lissa Photography

New Zealand’s biggest multi-day keelboat regatta, CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week, has been awarded the highest level of sustainability certification by ocean conservation group Sailors for the Sea.

The Platinum Level Clean Regattas certification is only awarded to on-water events that demonstrate the highest level of commitment to sustainability principles. CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week, last held in January 2021, is currently the only New Zealand regatta to have been awarded Platinum level certification this year.

Co-founder and Chairperson for the 2021 regatta, Nina Kiff, said the organising committee were thrilled to learn they’d achieved Platinum level certification this year, after unexpectedly receiving a Gold level award the year before.

“We applied for Silver last year and got upgraded to Gold, so we really had to step up our efforts this year to reach Platinum level,” says Nina. “It was a team effort – everyone played their part, including the committee, the sailors and our sponsors. We all love the ocean, so we’re really grateful to everyone for all their efforts to help protect it.”

Those efforts included a huge push towards reducing waste, with recycling and composting stations manned by volunteers from local community group Russell Recyclers, and free water bottle refilling stations which organisers estimate saved around 6,000 single use plastic bottles over the course of the event. The regatta also went digital, using a specially developed mobile app to distribute important documents to participants.

Last year CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week achieved a 75% reduction in waste going to landfill, and organisers estimate this year’s figure was even higher, with the additional saving of 1,800 sheets of printed paper through the digitisation of Sailing Instructions alone.

Other sustainability initiatives included reducing emissions by holding committee meetings by Zoom and promoting alternatives to car travel, buying locally produced goods and services, creating reusable event signage, educating participants about ‘green boating’, and organising a local beach clean-up.

The next CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week will run from 25 to 28 January, 2022, and will be the 20th edition of this much-loved event. For more information visit the links below:

CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week:

Sailors for the Sea – Clean Regattas programme:

Local community group Russell Recyclers provided volunteers to help participants separate waste at CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week 2021. © Lissa Photography

Water bottle refilling stations saved an estimated 6,000 single use plastic bottles over the course of the regatta. © Lissa Photography