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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

New bid for Scotland's Adventure Coast to be named Scotland's Sustainable Sailing Capital

by Argyll and Isles Tourism Cooperative 12 May 14:02 UTC
Provident © Phil Wilkinson

A leading destination management organisation is today (Sunday 12 May) launching a new bid for Argyll and the Isles on the west coast of Scotland to be named as Scotland's Sustainable Sailing Capital. The latest drive by Scotland's Adventure Coast celebrates the sustainable nature of sailing and the large volume of innovative sailing businesses and events in the area that go the extra mile to ensure their breath-taking experiences help to protect, restore and enhance their outstanding natural environment.

This comes as: Argyll-based Provident (one of the last sea-going Brixham Trawlers which featured in the latest BBC series of Traitors) embarks on a special voyage today (12 May) to celebrate her centenary year; the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is due to stop in Oban this July (the first time this prestigious race has stopped in Scotland in its 27 year history); the founder of Wavysail launches a pioneering initiative to develop low impact adventure yachts; Stravaigin Sailing offers ethical accessible sailing adventures; Basking Shark Scotland leads eco-conscious and educational wildlife tours; Tighnabruaich Sailing School (the oldest sailing business in Scotland) prepares to celebrate its sixtieth year; and Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Scotland encourages sailors visiting the area to support the Green Blue Pledge.

Located on the Gulf Stream, aspiring and experienced sailors of all abilities, from all over the world, agree that Argyll and the Isles is uniquely placed to enjoy some of the best sailing adventures and make a positive impact on the local environment.

Launching the bid to be named Scotland's Sustainable Sailing Capital, Cathy Craig, CEO of the Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative (AITC - said: "With a huge array of outstanding sailing experiences and a magnificent choice of sheltered anchorages plus many moorings, harbours and marinas - Argyll and the Isles is already Scotland's premier sailing destination, attracting some of the world's top sailors. This is reflected in the historic visit of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which we're incredibly excited to welcome later this year.

"When we ask sailing enthusiasts why they love our destination so much, we hear time and time again that our unique and enviable location, set amongst a large breath-taking cluster of island and coastal retreats, provides the ideal opportunity to relax and enjoy a sailing adventure, safe in the knowledge that you are making a positive impact on the environment. As the world sees the effects of climate change, the biggest threat to humanity in our lifetime, it is incredibly important to harness this, and our many innovative responsible seafaring members by naming Argyll and the Isles as Scotland's Sustainable Sailing Capital."

Fiona McPhail, Board Member of AITC, and Owner and Director of Tighnabruaich Sailing School, the oldest sailing school in Scotland (operating since 1965) added: "Being powered by nature, and with the global governing body World Sailing being amongst the first sporting federations to publish a sustainability strategy, sailing is already one of the world's most sustainable sports. This puts us in a unique position to really champion caring for marine wildlife, ecosystems and our wider environment. I'm delighted that so many members of the Argyll and Isles Tourism Cooperative are leading the way in doing this - from building boats in more resourceful ways and leading tours that teach visitors how to look after the environment, to supporting and encouraging sustainable activity and business practices like we do at Tighnabruaich Sailing School. It is fantastic to see this recognised today."

The latest drive from Argyll and the Isles has been welcomed by a number of national and global sailing organisations:

  • David Adams McGilp, Regional Director and the Marine & Coastal Tourism Lead at VisitScotland said: "Sustainable and responsible tourism are the keys to developing Scotland's visitor economy. More than ever, consumers are attracted to environmentally sensitive businesses and destinations that support them. With an outstanding maritime environment and some of the best sailing in the world, Argyll and the Isles thoroughly deserves to be Scotland's Sustainable Sailing Capital."
  • Laura Ayres, Managing Director at Clipper Ventures said: "It is great news that Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative has sustainability at the forefront of its sailing sector. The Clipper Race is proud to visit cities and destinations that reflect our sustainable values, such as the upcoming stopover in Oban in July 2024. This is the penultimate stop on the 40,000nm circumnavigation, and we are certain that it's rich wildlife, pristine waters and history of adventure will make this a highlight on the race circuit.

"Whilst this is the first time that the Clipper Race fleet will visit Oban, we are not strangers to the area. Our SKIRR Adventures expedition, an adventure which enables explorers to reach remote areas of the Northern Latitudes under sail, stops in Oban. The surrounding islands, highlands and diverse marine life, and the region's commitment to preserving this, are certainly hit with the intrepid crew who sign up for the adventure."

  • Marc Turner, Communication and Engagement Manager at Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Scotland (which works closely with a number of bodies including NatureScot to foster and encourage sustainable sailing), added: "It is fantastic to see so many sailing operators in Argyll and the Isles make this commitment to Sustainable Sailing. The importance of having a thriving, healthy and diverse marine environment is one of the many reasons people take to the water. We would encourage all sailors visiting Argyll and the Isles, to support the drive by signing up to the Green Blue Pledge, which provides simple guidelines that will help sailors protect the area's outstanding marine waters, wildlife and habitats by sailing in an environmentally sustainable way."
  • Andrew Cowen, award-winning sailing expedition company WavySail CEO said: "Wavysail skippers are some of the most experienced sailors in the world, and we all agree that Argyll and the Isles is an incredible sailing destination. Wherever you sail here, you will have amazing adventures and see some truly awe-inspiring sights of natural beauty. As an industry we have a profound duty to preserve this fragile wilderness, so we're thrilled to be supporting the Argyll and Isles Tourism Cooperative's drive to be named Scotland's Sustainable Sailing Capital, reinforcing the commitment by member businesses like ours to do just that."

World-class adventure sailing events and AITC members offering visitors' pioneering and unique sustainable sailing opportunities in 2024 in Argyll and the Isles include:

  • The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - For the first time in its 27-year history, The Clipper Race will be making its penultimate stop in Scotland when it arrives in Oban in July 2024. It is renowned as one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet, welcoming adventurers from all walks of life to take on the exceptional challenge of racing across the world's oceans on board a 70ft yacht. Their historic first visit to Scotland will be celebrated through a range of events and festivities. Speaking about their commitment to sustainability, Laura Ayres, Managing Director at Clipper Ventures said: "As the Clipper Race crew race around the world, it's clear the detrimental impact that the modern world has on the world's oceans and marine life. We are taking steps as a business to reduce our impact, such as using hydro generators on each of our Clipper 70s, which reduces fuel consumption by around a third. All of our Marlow Ropes lines on board are also fully recyclable and made from sustainable or recycled materials, and we have supported scientific research through the deployment of drifter buoys from our ocean racing yachts, aiming to provide further widespread data analysis of the ocean."
  • WavySail - The first operator to develop an environmental impact assessment specifically for commercial sailing operators. The assessment allows them to measure and track the Co2 footprint of all their adventures, including those from Oban, which they publish on their website. They have worked in partnership with Marineshift360 to turn this into a tool and are encouraging other sailing providers in Argyll and the Isles to adopt the same model.

CEO Andrew also recently launched ExpeditionZero, who will design, build and lease a fleet of the world's first truly "net-zero" sailing yachts. These yachts use innovative, low environmental-impact, fully recyclable materials and are fully fossil-fuel free. He explains: "Our ambition at ExpeditionZero is to build the world's most sustainable expedition yachts. As a centre of sustainable sailing, we are already exploring opportunities to base production in Argyll, reinforcing the area as a hub for high-tech, sustainable yacht building while also offering us a perfect base for operating adventures from the area through Wavysail."

  • Stravaigin Sailing - Skipper John Ormiston also harnesses the power of the wind and the sun to reduce the need for fossil fuel engines and generators and educates visitors on how to care for the local environment. Explaining John said: "Stravaigin is an old Scots word meaning 'to wander' - we like to think that encapsules our ethos of immersive, sustainable slow adventures, exploring and discovering new landscapes, experiences, foods, cultures and creating meaningful experiences that linger.
  • "We strive to minimise our impact on the landscape by raising Stravaigin's sails to harness the power of the wind to travel whenever possible, and with such a wonderful cluster of islands and bays in Argyll and the Isles, wherever the winds or tides take us we are likely to discover somewhere incredible. Stravaigin also has her own onboard engine fuelled by bio diesel, but we only use this when necessary and she is also fitted with solar panels and wind generator that provide power things like cooking, lighting and evening entertainment. As a result, we use less diesel fuel in a full year's season than similar sized sailing boats use in a typical week.

"Through our education work, our commitment to sustainable tourism in delicate coastal and island communities and sourcing our supplies, it is important to us that we do what we can, using local produce whenever and wherever possible and supporting local business and employment."

  • Provident - One of the last sea-going 1924 Brixham trawlers, which played a starring role in the latest BBC series of The Traitors. Before setting up her own sailing business venture in Argyll and the Isles, owner Morag Slesser, went on a sailing trip to the Med and was shocked to find the entire beach clogged up with plastic waste. She realised she preferred the beauty of Argyll and that she wanted to share her passion for sailing, but in an environmentally friendly way. So, joining forces with her partner Steve, she gave up her job in the NHS, bought Provident (one of the last sea-going 1924 Brixham trawlers, which played a starring role in the latest series of The Traitors) and started operating sailing adventures from Oban. Explaining why Argyll and the Isles is naturally suited to sustainable sailing, Morag said: "With a wonderful variety of things to discover - from mountains and lochs to seabirds and stars - one of the best things about a sustainable Provident sailing holiday in Argyll and the Isles is the element of chance. What we see and where we will go will always depend on the wind and tides and what the island or coastline has to offer that day. The magic of the Argyll and the Isles is that wherever we are there is always somewhere brilliant to go!"
  • Basking Shark Scotland - For 10 years, this five-star tour operator's team of marine biologists have been leading the way in eco-conscious and educational wildlife adventure tours in the Inner Hebrides and beyond. All of Basking Shark Scotland's passengers discover the wonders of Scotland's marine wildlife, while supporting their important research and conservation work. The team works in partnership with a broad range of scientists and universities on projects including collecting genetic material on basking sharks, recording identification marking which have confirmed migration routes and much more. Passengers can often get involved in this work. Some of their discoveries in recent years have featured in a number of scientific papers.
  • Beagle Cruises - Operating sailing adventure holidays from the Kyles of Bute, Beagle Cruises are committed to "creating memorable holidays with as little as possible negative impact on the environment whilst generating as much positive impact on local communities."

For more information about sailing in Argyll and the Isles visit

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