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Australian Sailing Awards to Celebrate National Sustainability Finalists

Three national finalists have been recognised for their work on sustainability in the sailing industry, with the winner to be announced at the Australian Sailing Awards to be held on November 3 in Sydney.

The Royal Perth Yacht Club (RPYC) has seen significant advances in sustainable practice over the last 12 months, with Rick Coate and Dr Janet Hornbuckle leading the charge.

Together, Coate and Dr Hornbuckle have initiated Containers for Change, the profits of which helped to send junior sailors from the RPYC to the International Friendship All Japan Junior Yacht Club Regatta, and helped the club become plastic free.

They have helped the RPYC to achieve Clean Marina status, arranged a sustainability lecture series and planned a sustainable agreement target with other local clubs.

Coate and Dr Hornbuckle, the latter of which being the first female Vice Commodore of the club in 158 years, have also committed to future member education surrounding the topic of sustainability.

The Environmental Sustainability Committee’s (Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, NSW) goals are to support, improve and incorporate sustainability principles within Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron (RSYS) purchasing, club operations and core club activities.

The RSYS committee has taken a visionary approach to sustainable practice, installing 96 solar panels on the club’s boatshed and spearheading a pilot trial with Hullbot to assess the efficacy of a robotic in-water cleaning system, designed to inspect, map and clean the hull of a boat without a human operator present.

Over the past 12 months, the RSYS have also implemented a number of initiatives that showcase their commitment to reducing their footprint, including a SailExchange partnership, LED replacements for club lights and the promotion of clean regattas.

Ian and Annika Thomson have contributed to a more sustainable sailing industry by confirming that racing yachts have the ability to be electrically powered through their propulsion system, and have actively demonstrated the benefits of recycling and rescuing racing boat hulls from land fill.

The Thomsons were the first to enter an electrically powered, non fossil fuel boat into Australia’s two biggest offshore races, the Sydney to Hobart and the Brisbane to Gladstone, exceeding expectations to place second line honors Brisbane to Gladstone 2023, and first line honors short-handed Sydney to Hobart 2022.

They also did this on a boat that was destined for the rubbish tip, which they salvaged and completely rebuilt themselves for more than 3 years, paving the way for sustainably sourced boats in future competitions.

The winner of the Sustainability award will be announced at the 2023 Australian Sailing Awards in Sydney on November 3. For more information on the National Awards as well as ticket availability, click here.