The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

BCA Has a New Core Value and Team

Environmentally and Socially Responsible Cruising Working Group

March 24th, 2024

The Myth of Green

Many cruising sailors embrace the myth that sailing is by definition a “green” activity. This was largely true until around 1990 when most of our boats were relatively small, our equipment was minimal and many cruisers were younger and willing to rough it in order to engage in the adventure of cruising. Cruising was seen as an exciting and inexpensive way to travel and see the world. We relied on seamanship and we accepted physical challenges as part of the experience.

Today, many of our cruising boats are bigger, more comfortable, convenient, fully equipped with the latest technology. They tend to be more expensive and they definitely utilize more resources. Large, well-equipped boats have become status symbols and some of us enjoy showing them off at a rendezvous and in the marina.

Unfortunately, as in our land-based lives, the more products we use onboard and equipment we add to our boats that are not “green”, the more we contribute to the ecological crisis (the unsustainable over-consumption of the earth’s resources). If we use diesel propulsion, and propane for cooking and heating, we contribute to green-house gas production and have a relatively large carbon footprint. If we run our engines rather than work hard to sail in light winds, or wait for favourable winds and tides, we are choosing to burn fossil fuels rather than loft our sails. Whether we are equipping a new boat or making upgrades to an older one, it is important to recognize that all technology and equipment is manufactured, shipped and disposed of with an environmental cost.

To be green sailors these days, we need to buck the tide of bigger, fancier or more convenient vessels and make some choices that are informed by green best practices. Many of us want to do that but need some advice on what to do and where to start.

BCA’s New Core Value and Working Group

The Bluewater Cruising Association has a newly adopted core value of “Caring: Respecting our environment, the communities we visit and each other”. The Environmentally and Socially Responsible Cruising working group’s job is to engage members and provide information and resources and promote greener practices throughout BCA. We invite you to follow our work, participate in the discussion about sailing green and try out the ideas we suggest. We will be publishing additional articles, and a Progress Report that will invite your participation in environmentally and socially responsible cruising.


  1. Billy Norrie says:

    “ Go Simple, Go Small, Go Now “ , Lin and Larry Pardey
    TY BCA new GREEN committee
    This is Beautiful ! Fantastic! Brilliant!
    YES , shouts the crew of Pixie .
    We are Sailors after all, not motor boaters. Under sail power only we can cross oceans.
    Fossil fuels abound around us all.Our carbon footprint follow us everywhere.
    Prior to 1800 all work done was done by humans , oxen and horses aside from sailboats and waterwheel driven mills. Since then, civilization has been developed primarily with fossil fuels by colonial northern countries.
    We as sailors are the vestigial remnant from the golden age of sail when only sailboats did the work of transportation without burning fossil fuels.
    Lin and Larry Pardey’s mantra of “ Go Simple, Go small , Go Now “ speaks to this essential feature , unstoppable sailboats. If one has a gadget it will break. More gadgets more breakage more time lost and more carbon burned.
    Leave your homes, cars,appliances,and gadgets behind _ embrace simplicity. Be part of the solution to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel and save the planet Yahoooooo.
    BCA is poised to be “ The Flag Ship” example to choosing a greener option . Less is more . Simple is better.
    We seek the great outdoors, adventure ,untrampled nature of clean water and blue skies.
    If not BCA ,who can champion green travel and exploration?
    BCA is the green extreme to Private Executive Jets and “Cruise ships “ monster polluters .
    Hooray for BCA the quiet, clean simple alternative to explore and experience the natural world and preserve her for future generations. Thank You for reading my view. Billy Norrie

  2. Billy Norrie says:

    PS , please what is ESRC ?
    ? Energy Sensitive Recreational Craft ?

    1. ESRC is Environmentally and Socially Responsible Cruising

  3. Greg says:

    Hear hear Robert,
    I agree. I also agree with Lin and Larry’s comment- go simple go now. I enjoy reading the articles in BCA but some voyages are far from simple or green. I’m pretty sure we have members sailing to and from Mexico who sail no more than half the distance. Waiting for wind or waiting for less wind. In 310 days under sail we only had one day with no wind. It was wonderful, we took down all sail and called it a stat holiday.
    No radar, no water maker, no communication with home or family, no jugs of diesel on deck (we carried 60 gallons – more than enough for 31000 miles), no plotter, no weather fax, no world news, no headaches, no worries, no time line.
    Yes we had problems but we could always make repairs with what we had. It was wonderful and we were certain the Atoll we were headed for would still be there when we arrived.
    Crossing oceans is simple if you can repair sails and you have enough food and a good boat under you.
    SIMPLE! all right I confess I’m a bit of a Simpleton!

  4. Billy Norrie says:

    Love sailing and simpletons like myself ! TY Greg .
    Also love discussion’s.
    And yes, call me woke if you like.
    ( we are all running on fossil fuels just some more than others )

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