Report from the Green Team

Cruising Club of America members put on their thinking caps to come up with environmentally friendly sailboat design recommendations.

Breezing Up

CCA Member Brad Willauer’s Breezing Up sports a number of clean energy sources, from sails, to wind generators, to solar panels.W. Bradford Willauer

Often there's a stigma attached to anything designed by a committee, but members of the Cruising Club of America have proven the exception in coming up with a list of recommendations for an environmentally friendly sailboat capable of coastal and bluewater cruising and racing. The idea was to create a framework for a 40-foot monohull that would have, in their words, "minimum impact on the environment during construction, operation, maintenance and eventual decommissioning."

Their analysis and subsequent report is quite detailed and delves into issues such as the amount of petroleum that goes into fiberglass resin and modern sail cloths, energy requirements of other construction materials, optimum hull shape, a recommended inventory of sails, alternative energy sources, and even an analysis of recycling the various components of the boat once the hull has served its useful life.

Rather than spawning a radical design solution, the committee noted that many existing designs, with some modification, would, if constructed properly and equipped sufficiently, allow owners to seriously lessen their carbon footprint.

“We have evaluated construction materials for future green yachts and suggest that aluminum is the better choice because it is recyclable,” they said. “We have concluded that there are many fine designs already available which can be modified to be suitable as a green yacht.

They close by noting, “These recommendations may not seem earth-shaking; however, if adopted, they can lead to significant reductions in the use of fossil fuels and, thus, continued degradation of our environment. It is a series of small steps which can help to balance our place in nature and, we hope, guarantee the continuation of our great sport — sailing!

Committee members included Edward Brainard, William Cook, Eric Hall, James Harvie, Cabot Lyman, and Nicholas Newman. Click here to read the CCA's full report.