Are you looking to make your regatta eco friendly? Are you part of the Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta program? You can eliminate the waste from bow numbers by:
Choose eco-friendly recyclable bow numbers for your regatta. These are available in cut vinyl in several colors (the cost is 4X traditional vinyl but does not contain the C, chloride, which is not recyclable). Since most bow numbers are not expensive options, and sailors participating in the Clean Regatta program are primed for additional cost to help the cause, this is your best option for making your bow numbers as low-impact as you can get.
The eco friendly recyclable vinyl is PVC-free, and the material can be recycled. PVC free vinyl is missing chlorine, the ingredient that is responsible for the dangerous dioxins that PVC gives off. The lack of chlorine means the environmental impact of it is less harmful than it’s chlorine counterparts, finally giving sailors a viable option for the bow number vinyl without the environmental impact. Yes, it costs more.
Keep the bow numbers on the boat! Some regattas obtain “free” bow numbers made from insignia cloth, the same stuff that’s on your sail for your insignia and sail numbers. This is a poor choice, as insignia cloth does NOT stick well to hulls – it sticks great to sails (and we print right on the Bainbridge Insignia Cloth for regattas, program sponsors and sailing clubs). The problem with these is that many regattas say “the bow numbers don’t stay on” – and that’s because your sail lofts provide these insignia cloth numbers OR they provide a lower grade of vinyl that’s designed for temporary use. We use only permanent adhesive vinyl – you can remove this safely (we provide instructions for each regatta organizer) after the event, but it’s not going anywhere during the regatta unless you remove it.
Regular permanent vinyl is actually recyclable – but only with other PVC resins. And they can be recycled to make new PVC resins. We’re looking at programs where sailors can recycle their PVC bow numbers following events.
Choose permanent bow numbers for your class – most classes use a 3-digit permanent system. Some classes would find this challenging (Laser, Sunfish, Lightning) because of the size of their classes, but many more (Viper, Melges) are choosing to go this route.
Create commemorative ID systems. Some regattas opt for using sail numbers to ID boats as they come across the line – but still need the hull/trailer/parking spot ID for large regattas with complex on-land logistics in getting over 100 boats out of the water in a timely fashion. For that, you can produce an eco-friendly bow number but you can ALSO produce a commemorative sticker bow number. These are small, used for matching up trailers, boats and parking spaces and contain not only the number but the burgee, logo, flag or other regatta-branded graphic. Sailors looking to mark their participation across years or regattas often leave these on their hulls OR transfer them to their sailing gear boxes, roof boxes and trailers.
In addition, a commemorative sticker pack includes stickers for water bottles, laptops, gear totes and vehicles (or wherever the sailor wants to stick them!) These weatherproof, marine-grade laminated stickers are UV rated and perfect to keep the memento of the event, and track participation across years of sailing.