Plymouth has been the setting for so many epic maritime feats.
It was where Sir Francis Drake became the first Englishman to sail into the Pacific in 1572 and where Charles Darwin left for the Galapagos Islands in 1831.
Now it’s back on the map as the host city for one of the world’s most iconic sailing events – SailGP.
The race will be coming to Plymouth on the 17th – 18th of July after starting the season in Bermuda and Italy.
By bringing SailGP to the beautiful Ocean City of Plymouth, we hope that we can unite behind a common purpose as sport has a way of unifying people.
Nelson Mandela once declared that “sport has the power to change the world”, and I certainly stand by that.
This SailGP, I hope we can rally together to tackle the main threat to our oceans: plastic pollution.
This weekend we will be able to watch and enjoy a fantastic sport on our beautiful waters.
A sport that puts purpose above speed, and one that gives everyone an equal opportunity to win – as all the boats are identical. Uniquely, the $1 million prize can only be won on the provision that the team gives back to the environment.
What an example this sets for sports around the world.
While the championship takes place over the weekend, we are asking residents and viewers alike to make three promises (scroll down to sign up and we’ll add you to our Plymouth Plastic Promise digital wall of fame) :
1. Choose one plastic thing in your life and give it up forever.
2. Try to wear completely plastic free clothing for Race Weekend – that means no polyester!
3. Buy no food and drink for Race Weekend that is wrapped in plastic.
Plastic pollution is a massive problem that we are all facing. Worldwide, 73 per cent of beach litter is plastic: filters from cigarette butts, bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, and polystyrene containers. Plastic is everywhere and is getting into our ocean, even from the clothes you wear.
Plymouth residents are already doing a great job at highlighting the plastic problem, most notably Richard Thomson, the Director of the Marine Institute at the University of Plymouth and the founder of the University’s International Marine Litter Research Unit, which has charted the global distribution of microplastics from Arctic sea ice to the deep seas.
The fan village will be located in Hoe Park, a historic place that, according to local legend, Sir Francis Drake played bowls in as the Spanish Armada sailed up the Channel over 400 years ago.
Upon hearing about their arrival, he reportedly said, “There is plenty of time to win this game, and to thrash the Spaniards too.”
The enemy we face is no longer the Spanish, it is plastic, and I know we can “thrash” it together.
Sian Sutherland is Co-Founder of A Plastic Planet