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WhatNot2Waste: A Year Later

Jan 19th 17
By Hillary Hoffower


Just one year ago, Capt. Guy Morrall and his crew on M/Y Talitha embarked on their self-created WhatNot2Waste campaign, pledging to complete one million burpees by the end of 2016 to bring attention to reducing waste on board. A year later, they can proudly say they reached their goal, achieving 1,120,907 burpees from all participating teams, with just over a million from all yachtie teams and 540,947 from the M/Y Talitha crew alone. 


Admittedly, it was a close call — as of November, they were still more than 200,000 burpees short, which Morrall says called for a major recruitment drive and request to pull out all the stops to get the job done. But while the numerical goal was reached, has the overall message really been heard? 


“Certainly on Talitha, I’ve seen a substantial change in attitude, and I sincerely hope that not only will this continue, but those crew [who] have been part of the challenge will take what they’ve learned through their career in the industry,” says Morrall. 


“For us, it was a great way to bring our crew together for not only some healthy activity and competition, but also for the environment,” says Relief Capt. Scott Macahonic of M/Y Spirit, whose crew participated in the challenge in September. “Spirit was able to take a more environmentally friendly approach to some tasks on board and were happy to clean up more than a few beaches this summer throughout Croatia.” 


It’s a sign that the campaign had extensive outreach when more than just crew get involved. MB92 in Spain jumped on the burpee train to take a step forward in its commitment to the environment by improving its recycling systems. 


“With the aim of offering a better waste separation process in our shipyard, we have made four new Green Point areas exclusively available to our clients where crews are able to carry out a complete recycling process from beginning to end with all waste generated from life on board, including organic waste,” says MB92 shipyard manager Miguel Àngel Lliteras. 


But bringing this widespread influence to the yachting community certainly was no easy feat. Morrall shares that the most difficult part of the challenge wasn’t physical — instead, it was the fear of failure and the motivation to keep going.  


“It’s one [thing] voting to embark on a year-long challenge, but it’s another trying to find the enthusiasm for what lies ahead after just three months with nine to go when there appears to be little support from those around you and the differences you’re trying to make aren’t happening,” he says. 


In the end, support showed through in the form of 27 teams. As Macahonic puts it, “If it’s a challenge put forth by M/Y Talitha, you know it’s going to be a good one. A huge congratulations goes out to the crew of Talitha, who have some serious determination and drive!” 


So what’s next for this challenge-driven crew? Apparently, the WhatNot2Waste campaign isn’t going anywhere; instead, it’s now taking on a new activity. To replace one year of burpees, M/Y Talitha is now set on a one-month ergometer challenge in which teams of two, four, or six are competing against each other, ideally between yachts. A team of two must complete 500 kilometers in 30 days setting times for two, five, and 10 kilometers, explains Morrall. 


“Waste is a broad subject and there’s generally a very positive attitude to what’s going on out there, but converting this to actual changes takes time and of course funding,” he adds. “Captains and managers mustn’t be frightened to ask questions. Don’t just accept the way it is, not if you know it can be done better.”