Photo: Hilary Kotoun/Sailors for the Sea

Sailors for the Sea today awarded the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover, the only North American stopover of the global race, its Platinum Level certification as a Clean Regatta.

Founded in 2004, Sailors for the Sea is a leading conservation organization that engages, educates, inspires and activates the sailing and boating community towards healing the oceans. Platinum Level certification means that the Newport stopover has met 41 points of sustainability out of a possible 42. The stopover set a goal of being a carbon-neutral event and that goal is within reach.

“The Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stopover will be the only carbon-neutral stopover of the global race,” said Tyson Bottenus, the Sustainability Director for Sailors for the Sea. “We’ve worked hard to divert as much waste from landfills as possible and currently (with two days to go) are at a 60-percent diversion rate.”

The stopover’s carbon footprint is being offset by the use of biodiesel fuel provided by the National Biodiesel Board in partnership with Newport Biodiesel in the Volvo Ocean 65 race boats and all shoreside generators required in the Race Village.

Additionally, SeaGrass Grow!, the world’s only “blue carbon” offset provider, will donate carbon offsets to further reduce the event’s carbon footprint.

To promote a sustainable event stopover organizers enlisted the assistance of MTG Disposal to separate recyclable and compostable items from trash. Already 2.86 tons of recyclable materials, 1.67 tons of compostable materials and .33 tons of plastics have been removed and disposed of properly.

Visitors to the Race Village at Fort Adams State Park were encouraged to bring a personal water bottle for filling at water stations, and all plates, napkins and utensils were required to be compostable. Sustainability also is a prominent theme in the Exploration Zone.

“I have to thank the members of the Sustainability Committee for their tremendous efforts to make the stopover a carbon-neutral event,” said Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read, a co-host of the stopover. “It’s no small feat to divert waste from the state landfill, but we’re proud to be able to say this event will be carbon-neutral.”