World Sailing has announced a shortlist of four for this year’s 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award - and the public will be given the chance to vote for their favourite initiative for the first time.
The 2019 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships, MarkSetBot, Northern Light Composites and Starboard are all in the running for the award and a prize fund of $10,000 (£7,527/€8,434) to put towards their sustainability efforts.
The award celebrates the successful delivery of a high-impact sustainability initiative that is aligned with the World Sailing Sustainability Agenda 2030.
A public vote is set to run from November 27 to December 4, with the winner to be announced on December 9.
Last year’s 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships held in Auckland in New Zealand was one of five regattas to achieve platinum status from Sailors for the Sea.
A beach and bay clean-up was organised ahead of the event with help from Olympic champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, with a group of sea cleaners hauling up rubbish from the seabed, including car tyres, fighting gear and pipes.
Nearly 60 per cent of the waste was recycled and a carbon offset scheme was introduced during the competition, which also eliminated single-use plastics.
Mark SetBot is the world’s first robotic sailboat racing mark that aims to reduce significant sailing-related environmental stressors.
The fully-electric mark can run an entire day on a single charge, cutting the need for fossil fuel-burning power boats that are typically required to set a racecourse.
More than 100 clubs from around the world have used the MarkSetBots, partnering with organisations including SailGP and Yacht Club de Monaco’s Solar and Energy Challenge.
The goal of Northern Light Composites is to create a new circular economy for the yachting industry, making sustainable sailing boats with already-used technologies but innovative materials.
To achieve this, the company is testing natural fibres, such as flax, bamboo or cellulose.
Lastly, Starboard is a leading manufacturer of stand-up paddleboards and windsurf boards, including the iQFOiL - set to be used at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The company plants mangroves to absorb carbon emissions stemming from the production of its products 10 times over for every single board.
The initial judging phase was conducted by Jan Dawson, vice-president of World Sailing between 2016 and 2020, Mike Golding, Sustainability Commission chair for World Sailing, Todd McGuire, managing director of 11th Hour Racing, Julie Duffus, head of sustainability for the Olympic Movement, and Jalese Gordon, an emerging nations programme graduate and Laser Radial sailor.
"The judges were impressed with the standard and variety of applications and I’m pleased that the finalists cover events, equipment production and innovation within the sport," said Dan Reading, head of sustainability for World Sailing.
"We are delighted to introduce a public vote for the first time in 2020 to raise awareness of the organisations’ sustainability work and to inspire other organisations to build sustainability choices into their operations.
"I encourage the public to participate and share the vote to decide the winner as we all strive to contribute to sailing’s involvement in global sustainability."