Green Vision

As the ocean get more populated with people, Cruising World is commited to encouraging everyone to sail green. From the "Editor's Log" in our December 2008 issue

John Burnham 368

With any luck, by the time you read this issue of Cruising World, no hanging chads will be prolonging the U.S. presidential election. With a bit more luck, the world economy will have settled down some, too. Yet even if our luck isn't so good, I'm confident that we'll each still be armed with the antidote that's always sustained us: looking ahead toward the horizon and dreaming about where we'd like to sail next, then continually scheming ways to make it happen.

But there's a larger, long-term concern that often goes unspoken: When we set sail, will the water be clean and the fish still swimming free by the time we get there? This is an unresolved question that cruisers have progressively answered as best they could by limiting what was left behind when their wakes faded to nothing. Yet there are more and more boats on the world's cruising routes, and coupled with all the other sources of pollution affecting the waters of the world, this issue has become more urgent, not less.

This month's Sail Green section looks at practical ways to be responsible for your impact, both in the boatyard and under way. It also provides views on the subject-and our ocean's health-from sailors around the world. It's not the first or final word on green cruising, but it's a continuation of one of our most important conversations. And although the effect that sailors have is extremely small when compared with many others, we have to be leaders by setting good examples, figuring out cleaner ways to cruise, and speaking up when the ocean needs us.

We're not alone in the sailing industry in this effort. Many companies are reducing waste, taking toxins out of their products, and improving manufacturing processes; many boatbuilders, for example, are switching to infusion- and injection-style fiberglass molding. In the near future, we'll write about the new friendlier-to-the-environment charter base that The Moorings has built in Road Town, on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, and also about the winning projects of the sailing groups that entered Interlux's Waterfront Challenge last summer. (You may remember that I wrote about the Challenge in this space last June.)

During the U.S. Sailboat Show in early October, one of the many seminars that CW hosted introduced an ambitious effort to focus attention on the health of our ocean: The Around the Americas Project. This modest, 25,000-mile voyage, from Seattle through the Northwest Passage, around Cape Horn, then back to Seattle, is led by Mark Schrader, known by many for his pair of solo circumnavigations in the BOC Challenge. Sponsored by Sailors for the Sea and the Pacific Science Center, Schrader and his team, including CW editor at large Herb McCormick, will produce online educational programs for schools, media events during dozens of port visits, a book, and a film. You can follow the progress of the 65-foot steel Ocean Watch on its 13-month odyssey in reports that McCormick will file regularly in Cruising World. They plan to head north next May.

This epic sail won't be the sum total of CW's continuing effort to inform and encourage the cruising community to sail green; we have other plans ranging from water-quality reporting to a serious update on maximizing your independence from petroleum products. Meantime, please enjoy this issue, and rather than toss it, pass it along until it's thoroughly tattered and ready for recycling.

John Burnham