Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari helped launch the Environmental Project of the Challenge Wales charity while the Volvo Ocean Race boats were in Cardiff.
The event was held in the Eco-Lounge of the Volvo Ocean Race Village, coming just two days after Challenge Wales vessel Adventure Wales had won the Environment Award at the Tall Ships Regatta in Liverpool.
The Environmental Project is the latest addition to the Challenge Wales programme to give young people who participate on sailing days and voyages an opportunity to get an accredited qualification to add to their CV.
After the launch, Caffari was on hand to answer questions about life at sea and plastic pollution.
The youngsters also get the chance to improve a host of life-skills through the process of hands-on big boat sailing and its development is part of the charity’s Voyages of Discovery Big Lottery funded project.
Challenge Wales has been undertaking other environmental initiatives over the years, including being part of a global citizen science project and measuring plankton levels, bringing science to life with experiences and working with the warden on Lundy Island to understand ecosystems.
Challenge Wales has also worked with both Cardiff and Plymouth universities on marine-related activities.
It has been a big week for the Penarth based charity. “Not only has it been our first voyage in Adventure Wales but she has picked up her first award too,” explained Vicky Williams, Trustee of Challenge Wales.
“It’s been a week of firsts for Adventure Wales. Her first proper voyage adventuring around the Welsh coast and into England, her first visit to Neyland in West Wales, her first visit to Aberystwyth, her first visit to Pwllhelli, her first visit to the City of Liverpool, her first group of trainees onboard and her first Tall Ships event.
“But the icing on the cake was being publicly told at the Tall Ships awards ceremony in Liverpool that Adventure Wales had won the Environment Award.
“The Challenge Wales charity has put sustainability at the heart of its sail training programme.
“A few years ago the charity started measuring plankton as part of a global citizen science project, we’ve had microscopes onboard looking at what is under the surface of the water, we’ve looked at our own recycling systems onboard our vessels and identified how we can link into other marine action plans to help the environment.
“We’re currently waiting for our first order of reusable water bottles to give every young person as we aim to ban one-use water bottles coming onboard and more recently we have developed an accredited learning programme around an environmental project which we hope will inspire our young people to help us all do our bit for the planet.”
Challenge Wales also took advantage of having one of the biggest sailing events in the world on their doorstep, by taking to the water to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race fleet into Cardiff, as well as being able to get guests on board up close to the racing action in the in-port race and the race start.