Key West Race Week

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Race organizers ensure the National Marine Sanctuary is respected while racing!

For the first time in the event's long history, Quantum Key West Race Week registered for the Clean Regattas program with just a month until racing started. However, with Storm Trysail Club at the helm, a group that is dedicated to running their events sustainably, going green was built into every improvement they brought to the regatta.

Race organizers started with simple tasks including online registration, reusable bags for race materials and ensuring recycling bins were available at all club-hosted events. They also removed straws from their bars and in doing so eliminated enemy #1 of sea turtles, which are common in the protected Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. They also greatly reduced the number of single-use water bottles heading to the landfill with reusable water bottles and water systems (more details on how to make this happen at your regatta in blog #2). Additionally, on Sunday before racing started, a beach cleanup was held in conjunction with The Key West Sea Turtle Club and the Key West Wildlife Center. Since it was the first year Key West Race Week would be run as a Clean Regatta, Heather Ruhsam and Robyn Albritton headed south to help with implementing these best practices.

With these impressive efforts race organizers were able to achieve 10 of 25 Best Practices, earning a Bronze Level Clean Regattas Certification, no small feat for an event's first attempt at sustainability. We're always excited to work with groups who are passionate about furthering the legacy of sustainability, and we couldn't have asked for better partners in sharing our message of ocean conservation.

The members and volunteers at the regatta were essential to seeing the event through to fruition and their enthusiasm for the message of sustainability and overall ocean health was so uplifting! We would like to give a special thank you to the Storm Trysail club for running Block Island Race Week and Quantum Key West Race week as Clean Regattas, and setting a precedent for how regattas can make the environment a priority. We would also like to thank their regatta manager, Bill Canfield for making sustainability happen on the ground level at Key West and the St. Thomas International Regatta.

The racing at Quantum Key West Race Week is conducted under permit in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary protects 2,900 square nautical miles of critical marine habitat, including coral reef, hard bottom, seagrass meadow, mangrove communities and sand flats. For more information, please visit floridakeys.noaa.gov.