Sustainability takes centre stage at Formula Kite European Championships

25 Jan 24
22nd September 2023. Southsea. Portsmouth. United Kingdom. The Formula Kite European Championships 2023...Photo by Lloyd Images

The organisers of the Formula Kite European Championships, held in Portsmouth last year, have been awarded the Platinum Clean Regatta Award, by conservation organisation, Sailors for the Sea. 

The RYA partnered with Portsmouth City Council, the International Kiteboarding Association, UK Sport, and the National Lottery to create an event at Eastney Beach which not only enabled competitors to perform at their full potential, but also recognised the venue as a stakeholder in the event’s success.    

Marking the event’s sustainability efforts, the Championships have now been awarded the world’s leading sustainability certification for all on-the-water events. The criteria for the award provides organisers with the most impactful actions to help minimise an event’s environmental impact.  

Some of the sustainable actions included providing water re-fill points for competitors and visitors, sourcing local food vendors, using reusable event signage, and organising a dedicated Green Team who inputted into each stage of event development. The final trophy was also produced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standard wood.

Emily Conklin, Sailors for the Sea Programme Manager, said: “Platinum Level events set a high bar for sustainability and demonstrate innovation that serve as an example for what can be accomplished at regattas of all types and sizes. The Formula Kite European Championships were no exception. 

“We were impressed by their ambition in all areas of the Clean Regattas programme, especially their ability to integrate education and community action into their event. We look forward to working with them in the future!” 

Powering-up Portsmouth

Two school children are looking at petri dishes with an adult

As well as respecting the environment, unlocking the event's social impact potential was also at the heart of the Championships. The event’s mission of ‘Powering-up Portsmouth’ focussed on connecting the event and its sport with the young people of Portsmouth. 

In partnership with The Green Blue and the Marine Conservation Trust, around 400 local school children attended the free on-site Beach Club. The activities offered ranged from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) as well as environmental and watersports taster sessions. The activities catered for a range of abilities, enabling whole peer groups to engage together to create an inclusive opportunity. Following the visit, there was a reported 11% increase in the positive feelings from children towards the water. 

Martine Pottinger, a primary school teacher at the event, said: “The children enjoyed the beach clean and were amazed at how much they found. I’m sure this will impact on their time spent at the beach and will ensure they throw their litter in the bin.”

Supporting local projects

Representatives from the RYA and HIWWT meet for a cheque presentation

The event team wanted to support a charity local to the event that had the protection of the marine environment at its core. As the Championships were taking place in The Solent, supporting the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s seagrass restoration project at Farlington Marshes was a perfect fit.

Niall McLeod, RYA Racing Services Manager, and Formula Kite European Championships Event Director, said: “Before the Formula Kite European Championships took place, we agreed to add an environmental donation within the event budget to every litre of fuel used in the event operation boats. We are now delighted to be able to donate the £800 collected to support the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s seagrass restoration project.

“Seagrass is a unique and valuable habitat that plays a significant role in providing for our underwater ecosystems. It’s been great to be able to show our support for a local project such as this in The Solent.”

Read the Formula Kite European Kite Championship Social Impact Report in full.