SailGP star Richard Mason is hoping the competition’s newly-launched Impact League can inspire other sports to tackle climate change and rising sea levels.
Mason is a member of the Great Britain team helmed by Ben Ainslie and was in action on home soil this weekend in the third leg of the championship in Plymouth.
The British crew were pipped by Australia, France and the USA in Devon but Mason, a grinder in the boat, knows the result on the water is far from all that matters.
Teams’ success is also measured by their levels of sustainability and Mason, 25, said: “It's amazing that SailGP are doing this thing for sport and for the planet.
“As athletes we're used to racing and competing and winning, winning podiums and trophies. Now we get to race for the planet which is an amazing thing.
“Rising sea levels is a big problem, when you see that there are a lot of people that live near the sea and that's going to affect our sport and all of those people.
Hopefully we can make real change fast and we will be able to continue with our sport and live life like we are now.
“It's absolutely awesome to be at a home event in Plymouth this week. It’s a natural amphitheatre and it's going to be great for the crowds to watch. Hopefully a load of people come down and see the sailing.”
This year SailGP has introduced the Impact League, which ranks teams based on the actions they take to reduce their environmental footprint.
The Impact League was officially launched in Plymouth this weekend and Mason believes it is something that is needed to help preserve the future of Sailing.
All eight teams involved in SailGP are competing against each other in the Impact League, and Mason says the British team have already made changes in their quest to win it.
“There's lots of little changes we made, and a couple of big ones as well,” he added.
“There's lots of little things like we're eating less red meat, we're thinking about transport to and from regattas, doing lots of little things with the boat and making them more sustainable. There's not one thing, there's just lots of little holistic things.
“As athletes we want to win everything. We obviously want to be good at sailing but also the ocean is our playground and if that doesn't get protected then what's the point?
“We're not going to be able to keep sailing in the future. Kids and generations past us don't get to enjoy the sport, so we have to win both leagues.”
The trailblazing Impact League is the first league of its kind – and Mason hopes other sports also begin to take action to combat climate change.
“I think it's really important for ourselves and other sporting events to take action,” he said.
“It's amazing what the SailGP league have done with this and we hope other sports follow our league with this.”
The Impact League is a new initiative designed to make sustainability action essential to the fabric of sport. To find out more about the Impact League visit SailGP.com/ImpactLeague