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Simple Tips & Ideas for Sailing Green: Cruising Edition

Welcome to our series of articles with tips to help sailors make simple adjustments that will make their sailing practices more sustainable. This edition is focused on the cruiser – whether you’re a sunset chaser, or take the entire summer for coastal cruising (or anywhere in between) there are a few practices you can employ to impact the bigger picture. There’s always a little more we can all do to pitch in. Quantum's Director of Sustainability, Lara Poljšak, has some tips for making your time cruising the blue a little more green.

Location Considerations

When traveling from place to place, especially off the beaten path, it is vital to be aware of the unique environmental considerations of your destination. Be sure to anchor in designated areas to avoid damaging fragile bottom life. When you go ashore, keep an eye out for signs of erosion — and avoid beaching your dinghy near those spots. 

If you're trailering a boat or moving a cruising boat far away, give the bottom a good scrub before splashing into new water. Ensure your ballast water is empty or not leaking to avoid introducing foreign species into a new environment. Invasive species carried by boats into new waters can cause irreparable damage to a local ecosystem.

Waste Management

Whether you're headed out for weeknight racing or a week of cruising, inevitably, you will generate some refuse. When planning your outing, be conscious of what you're bringing aboard. Choose recycled, plastic-free, or reduced packaging whenever possible — for example, grab a big bag of chips to share rather than single-serving bags. 

Actionable Idea: Designate a point-person to make sure trash and recycling are properly sorted and stored and taken off the boat at the end of the day or trip. When you're underway, designate a spot in the cockpit or near the companionway for trash and recycling so that things don't fall overboard or get shoved into cubbies and forgotten about. 

Sail Choices

Care For and Repair

It's no secret that most of the time it's much less expensive to fix a sail than it is to purchase an entirely new product. But by choosing quality products with a longer life-cycle, and repairing those products, you’ll also be reducing your waste footprint when it comes to disposing of the used materials. Regularly service your sails and extend their lives, reducing your monetary and environmental expenses. Learn more ways to get the most out of your current inventory here.

Actionable Idea: Your local Quantum Loft can service and repair sails from ANY sailmaker or brand, not just our own sails! Bring your sails in for an annual inspection and get a quote for recommended service work.

EcoSeries Sails

When it's time to purchase a new sail, look into the manufacturing processes of your sailmaker. At Quantum, we offer a full line of sails made from recycled and diverted plastic and using methods that are kinder to the environment than traditional sailmaking. We use all recycled and recyclable packing materials when we ship sails — or, if you're local to a loft, you can cut down on packaging materials and pick your sails up or have them delivered by our representatives, rather than shipped. Learn more about Quantum’s other sustainability initiatives on our landing page.

Food and Food Waste

Half the fun of cruising is the snacks! But, to cut down on wasted food, make a list for your family or guests before going to the store — and, if they're game, have them contribute so you're not buying food no one wants to eat that will end up in the trash. At the end of the day, if you have unopened food that would otherwise be wasted, consider a local organization that will accept those packages rather than tossing them in the trash — and note, for next time, what didn't get consumed. 

Actionable Idea: “We set up a non-perishable donation box inside the club for the high school sailing team. The students are always hungry for snacks or drinks before practice and the easy-to-access box made it a light lift for us to keep our extras out of the trash.”

Avoid throwing uneaten food overboard. While an apple core is biodegradable and may seem like a fun snack for the birds or seals, these foreign foods can cause issues for wildlife and, over time, create imbalances in the water that can lead to algae blooms and other harmful events. Instead, put it in the trash, or designate a bucket or bag with compostable food scraps — compost at home or bring it to a local farm or gardener. They'll be grateful! 

Education

Knowledge is power, right?  Yacht clubs are almost always looking for ways to engage with their members and provide added value. If you’re a member, ask the board about setting up some workshops and presentations throughout the year. Maybe the local marine mechanic can put together a seminar on basic motor care to help keep fuel and oils out of the water. Ask your local Quantum representative to come by and discuss sail care and maintenance, or have a local recycling program do a presentation on how to best dispose of materials. Some clubs and organizations have put together a “Green team” or a group of people dedicated to helping the group and members make some of these small, but mighty changes. 

There's a lot to keep track of when it comes to adjusting your sailing habits to be kinder to the environment. While you and your guests may not be able to do every single aspect perfectly, focus on changing your practices in a few areas to help support cleaner sailing. If we can all pitch in a little, we will create massive waves of impact. 

What are you doing to “Go Green. Sail Green”? Send us your stories for a chance to be featured on our social media and in upcoming content! Read more about green tips for sailors in our racing edition.

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The Discussion

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