Tall Ships in Stavanger during the Tall Ships Races 2018 Windseeker

The Sustainability of Sailing – old

Windseeker, 23 February 2023

– by Anna Gudarowska

While sailing isn’t immune to environmental impacts, we’re setting a course for eco-conscious practices on board. In this exploration, we dive into the reasons why sailing and sustainability are intricately intertwined. From harnessing the wind’s renewable energy to cultivating a deep respect for our oceans, join us as we unveil the myriad ways in which sailing navigates the currents of sustainability.

6 reasons why sailing is closely connected to sustainability

1. Wind-power

Yes, this one’s obvious – but it’s for a good reason! Simply put, on board we harness the power of wind in order to move from one place to another. Motoring is often necessary, but our main source of power are the sails. Everyone remembers when they’ve heard the engine stop and felt the Ship start moving by the power of its sails for the first time. The calm, the peacefulness. The sounds of rigging working in the wind. Beginning to understand the power of the elements, and feeling one with nature. What’s not to love?!

2. Water conservation

Have you ever showered in under 1 minute? If you’re a Tall Ship sailor, chances are you have! Somewhat ironically, water is a scarce resource on a Ship – a fresh water, that is. In order to conserve it, we learn to use it very conservatively, and that includes the (in)famous 1-minute showers when the water levels are low. It’s really not that difficult and the sense of accomplishment after learning to shower in under one minute cannot possibly be explained to your landlubber friends!

So what happens if people don’t follow this rule? A lot of Tall Ships have desalination pumps, but these don’t work as fast as you would have liked. If there is not enough fresh water on board, you will not be allowed to shower at all, sometimes for several days. Conserving water on a sailing vessel isn’t just a noble concept, it’s simply a necessity!

3. Responsible waste management

What about trash? Sailing across the Atlantic over 3 weeks, with 70 people on board, will produce tremendous amounts of it! Separating the trash is a must, both for storage and hygiene. If you fold your clean cardboard together nicely, you can store a lot of it below deck; same with plastic. Only the truly dirty trash goes to the bins, reducing the need for storage places, and the risk of unwanted creatures making themselves at home.

4. Practicing Minimalism

Downsizing is yet another necessity on a sailing vessel. Most of the time, you will get a really small storage space for all of your belongings. There simply isn’t enough space for redundant objects. Not only will you learn to limit your possessions to a minimum, you will quickly find out that you really don’t need all that much stuff anyway!

5. Minimal Noise Pollution

Turns out that we’re not the only ones who enjoy that feeling of calm when we sail without an engine. The marine wildlife is much less affected by our presence in their home when we’re not making too much noise. Compared to motorized vessels, sailing produces minimal noise pollution. No wonder all those dolphins and whales like visiting the Tall Ships so much!

6. Connecting with Nature

While sailing you have very direct contact with your surroundings. You can see and touch the ocean, you can smell the breeze, observe the wildlife. This certainly puts things into perspective. Experiencing nature makes you feel protective of it. This feeling doesn’t go away when you step off board. Most sailors will bring their new eco-friendly habits home with them, and think twice before creating more pollution than is strictly necessary.