Denmark SailGP Team presented by ROCKWOOL athletes have developed a new on-water waste management solution made from recycled SailGP sails, which could set a new standard for recycling and waste reduction at the world’s best sailing events and regattas.
The solution – which features used materials including Denmark’s SailGP jib – is a collaboration between the Danish athletes, One Ocean Foundation and SailGP’s official sailmaker, Doyle Sails.
“As part of the SailGP Impact League, we challenged our athletes to come with suggestions for ways in which we could reduce our impact and protect our ocean as we race in SailGP – and we all agreed that the chase boat was an area that needed a new, innovative solution,” says Hans-Christian Rosendahl, Denmark SailGP Team athlete.
“Many chase boats are lacking waste solutions altogether – at best, that means that not enough attention is paid to correctly sorting waste, and at worst, sailors and shore team cramming trash into seat pockets, increasing the chance of ocean pollution.”
He continues: “We quickly found that there was no solution on the market, so we designed and refined this concept which is waterproof and uses old SailGP, and reached out to Doyle Sails to help us bring the concept to life.”
The hard-wearing bag fixes securely into the chase boat to allow waste sorting at source – encouraging sailors and shore teams to think about their waste in a different way.
“Sorting trash is not hard, but we need to make it as easy as we can,” he adds. “We’re all human and mistakes happen, but we are trying to build habits as a sailing team, with the guidance of ROCKWOOL and One Ocean Foundation. Being an athlete at SailGP, it’s inspiring to see that you can come with an idea and actually see it develop and finished to help others.”
During the 29er European Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark SailGP Team used a prototype trash bag developed by World Perfect as part of a project around the 2018 Sailing World Championships in Aarhus.
“We thought it was a cool idea and borrowed it to test during the following SailGP event to see if it could help us to clean up our chase boat waste management,” said Hans-Christian Rosendahl.
“After testing it, we set out to develop a new version of the bag inspired by the prototype with Doyle Sails, using recycled materials and with input from our sailing team. Our hope is that we could develop this to a point where it could be used across the fleet, and potentially inspire others to consider their on-water waste practices.”
The concept has since been adopted by Canada SailGP Team and Australia SailGP Team for testing in Christchurch, has already proved to be popular with teams.
“Our ultimate goal is to continue working with our partners to scale this solution to a place where it will be commercially available for other professional sailing teams, race officials and even at grassroots level with sailing clubs around the world – filling a gap that currently exists on the market,” adds Rosendahl.
Danielle Burridge, Global Marketing Manager at Doyle Sails, explains: “When we were approached by Hans-Christian and the Danish athletes with this idea, we were excited to get involved and help them develop a concept which could have many benefits for our ocean.”
She continues: “Sustainability is at the forefront of decision-making for Doyle Sails, with the ocean as our playground we work hard to ensure our partnerships are aligned in this area.
“To develop a concept and bring it to prototype stage in a short period of time says a lot about the passion and focus the Danish team has for thinking outside the box and driving innovation on and off the water.”
One Ocean Foundation has been partnered with Denmark SailGP Team and ROCKWOOL since the beginning of Season 3, and has recently launched the More Speed Less Plastic initiative with the team, to reward the athletes for racing fast, by converting the team’s top speed to divert ocean-bound waste.
In collaboration with other SailGP teams including New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada, Denmark SailGP Team has already diverted more than five tonnes of waste from coastal areas through the initiative, which kicked off in Singapore in January.
“When it comes reducing ocean pollution, we know that waste sorting is extremely important, as it helps to mitigate the challenge at source,” explains One Ocean Foundation Secretary-General, Jan Pachner.
“We are delighted to support this great initiative, which underlines just how passionate the Danish athletes are about our ocean, and, alongside other projects such as More Speed Less Plastic, helps us to raise awareness about ocean health through a world-class platform like SailGP.”