Water, Water Everywhere

In the interest of sustainability and convenience, sailors are implementing water filtration systems. Ambassadors for 11th Hour Racing share tips for building your own hydration program.

Assuming that each sailor, each day of a regatta drinks four standard single-use water bottles, and that and event includes three practice days and five race days, each team member uses 32 bottles per event. For a team of 20, this equals 640 bottles per event, or 18 cases of 35 bottles. At $20 a case, the team would spend $360 for the week. Check out the gallery above for some programs implemented by teams to cut down on the waste—and the cost.

Aboard Farr40 Flash Gordon, The team uses a GE filtration system (model GXWH40L) to filter hose water into reusable water bottles. The team uses two refillable water bottles per person (body and cap labeled and identified with markers and tape). Since this class does not allow coach boats to refill the team's water bottles, the boat carries several extra bottles to keep onboard as spares and to refill the first bottles.
Bella Mente boat captain Peter Henderson realized that it was time to embrace sustainable water management practices when he opened a dumpster in a regatta parking lot in 2009 and saw that it was 90% full of single use plastic bottles. The boat has an onboard bladder, which is plumbed onto the deck at the main winch pod. When sailing offshore, the water is produced by the water-maker (desalinator), named the "Water Fixer".
When racing inshore, the Bella Mente crew fills reusable water bottles and the on board bladder from their 5-gallon water supply.
Each morning, Quantum Racing refills all the bottles at the dock. The bottles are placed in the two cooler bags filled with ice and carried on board. Before the start the team hands over the coolers and bottles to the coach boat. The coach boat carries a full 5-gallon jug of water each day, to refill the team bottles during the day with a manual Dolphin pump.
Quantum Racing Team has a water filtration system that can be plugged into the dock water supply. This is a custom-built system from Chris Noble of Team Aqua RC44. The system provides sustainable and 100% reliable, sterile drinking water. Using input water from any dock tap or potted water source, the water passes through a 4-stage filtration unit + UV light at a regulated pressure, removing particulate, chemical and bacterial contaminates. The system goes in its own dockside housing, fitted into a pelican-style case or can be retro-fitted into an existing dock box.
As a key element of the 52 SUPER SERIES drive towards greater environmental responsibility and looking after the oceans the organization team and many of the TP52 sailing teams are eliminating single use plastic bottles of water. At the TP52 World Championships in Puerto Portals, supplies of drinking water were drawn each day from a water processing machine provided by Mallorcan company Magic.
Used on the TP 52 Super Series circuit, MAGIC´s CS150-HL is a prototype designed to be a fully automatic, compact and transportable unit with 1.5 liter/min production. It has a 3 stage pre-filtration; 5 micron, KDF activate carbon and extruded coconut shell carbon filters reducing chlorine, turbidity, suspended solids and unwanted tastes and odors. A high-flow high salt rejection reverse osmosis membrane reduces water salinity and eliminates virus and bacteria. In addition, it features a water accumulator ensuring a first 7 liter instant supply followed by a final security UV sterilizer and a cellulous & carbon post filtration eliminating residual unwanted tastes and smells.
Stephanie Roble, an ambassador for 11th Hour Racing, brings her filtration system with her to each event she sails. "There are a lot of little things we can do as sailors to help the environment," says Roble. "Even the little things make a difference." Her double filtration system hooks up to the dock hose to fill reusable water bottles for each crew member.
Another perk of using reusable bottles, according to Stephanie Roble, is that you know how much you're drinking. "Most times, you don't have enough time to drink an entire bottle of water between races," says Roble. "People will drink half a bottle and then chuck it out. With this, you know how much you're drinking which helps you as well as the environment."