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Old 12-10-2007, 09:54 AM   #1
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How envoronmentally friendly is sailing?

I have always considered sailing to be an environmentally friendly way of life. Yes, I know that GRP, anti-fouling, even modern sails are not as environmentally friendly as older wooden boats with cotton sails which were probably second only to bicycles so, I am wondering, what is the environmental impact of cruising / sailing in this day and age?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this one.

Aye // Stephen

Yacht NAUSIKAA | Call Sign: 2AJH2



= Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Lithuania
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Old 12-11-2007, 06:52 AM   #2
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The sailing itself might be one of the most environment friendly means of transportation, but to get to that stage:

The boat, the sailes, the running rigging all made from oil or natural gas.

The yearly (?) lift up with anti fouling, diesel driven travel lift, water and power consumption for cleaning.

Running engine for charging/motor sailing.

Anchoring on corals!!!

Air conditioners?

Marinas and their impact on the environment??

There is a lot of factors that may come into play, and there is a difference in 'usage' from cruiser to cruiser.

The is no 'units' to measure polution/capita, but as a total I do not think cruising will be a totally 'green' activity.

But what is theese day. In UK a recent research discovered that farting cows were one of the biggest emittors of methane gases.

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Old 12-12-2007, 09:42 PM   #3
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I think on the whole sailing is a pretty carbon heavy activity. I deliver yachts for a living and we are constanly having crew fly out or home. I believe this year I have taken 12 long haul flights. our last delivery from the red sea to aus used over 5000 litres of diesel as we can little wind in south east asia and the wind on the bow in australia.

It always amazes me how much rubbish there is in the oceans and I know some skippers are better at retaining there waste then others. we also cause a lot of damage to the marine environment building marinas and shore side facilities. large amounts of the damage caused to coral reefs is caused by yachts at anchor.

despite all that its a great sport and its great when nature powers use along on a perfect sunny day, chances are though the generator will be on to cool the beers.
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Old 12-13-2007, 05:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ben tye View Post
I think on the whole sailing is a pretty carbon heavy activity. I deliver yachts for a living and we are constanly having crew fly out or home. I believe this year I have taken 12 long haul flights. our last delivery from the red sea to aus used over 5000 litres of diesel as we can little wind in south east asia and the wind on the bow in australia.
But that's not cruising- Delivery trips are work. Besides- those planes would fly anyway, whether your crew was on them or not. I'd think that truly cruising aboard a sailing vessel would be one of the more environmentally sound methods of getting around. Most serious cruising folks I know are very conscious of the environment and what is happening to it- they live pretty close to the water after all. Much more so than power cruisers anyway.
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Old 12-13-2007, 05:56 PM   #5
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Maybe one should compare the additional (or reduction) in carbon footprint caused by individuals sailing. As compared say to power-boating, flying, car racing, or couch potato-ing.
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Old 12-13-2007, 11:27 PM   #6
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20 years from now, you will be able (affordably) to convert sea water into fuel using wind and solar enabling endless voyages without stops for diesel or gasoline.
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:26 PM   #7
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Guess, environmentally there are worse things you can do than sailing.

But indeed, building a fiberglass boat is quite energy consuming: But when buying a second hand boat, it is already there...

But once you have the boat, you can do quite alot of things to act in favor of the environment:

Calms: we are leisure time sailors! There is no need to start the engine once the speed is below 4 knots.

Sailed once in 14 months from Europe to the Caribbean and back and just used 90 liters of diesel.

Charging batteries: we bought a wind generator and solar panel 14 years ago and they do the complete charging of 180Ah of battery power ever since.

warm water: done by the sun - the solar-water bags you put on deck are very cheap.

shore power and marina facilities: bought shares of a wind energy park in the size that it makes up for the CO2 we produce.

replacing the old engine: just starting to think about installing an el-motor (that even serves as a generator wile sailing)...




If you have the time, you alwas have the right winds.

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I've Contributed to the Cruisers Wiki: Germany, Background, Cruising/Sailing the German Bight
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