Restart Racing The Call Of Special Interest Group To Lobby For Sectors Fair Treatment In Britain
Published 08:54 on 30 Apr 2020
A British sailing industry figure is looking to form a Special Interest Group (SIG) of clubs, classes, sailors, trade and other stakeholders to lobby for the safe restarting of racing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
SailRacer managing director Simon Lovesey says the aim is to develop strategies and plans to allow sailing and racing to resume as soon as sensible (and safe) and, if need be, to lobby for fair treatment of sailing particularly among the grassroots of Britain's sailing community.
"As and when the [UK] Government looks to ease restrictions, my concern is that sailing will be treated the same as much broader sectors, so clubs will be lumped in with bars and restaurants, and sailing events as festivals," he says.
"So, it is important we learn to live with the situation and make adaptations to allow some activities to be undertaken.
"With suitable adaptations, sailing and boating should be able to address many of the self-distancing requirements, and I understand the virus cannot be transmitted via water. Sailing brings many health benefits: physical, mental and plenty of the all important respiratory gains."
Lovesey reminds that Downing Street has set a deadline of mid June for submissions of evidence from sporting individuals and groups to illustrate the impact of Covid-19 on their sector, and suggestions of how to adapt and innovate to deal with the current situation.
He believes a more focused contribution from clubs and classes alongside the RYA's presumed submission "will give the opportunity to convey more of the details and in particular the grassroots element of sailing" that the broad remit of the larger body may not include.
Any parties interested in taking part in the suggested Restart Racing Action Group can contact Simon Lovesey at firstname.lastname@example.org
This website is still under development
We have already seen over 50 clubs and classes wanting to get involved, plus many other stakeholders such as trade and individuals. It is clear that all of us involved in grassroot sailing are facing some serious challenges with many different issues emerging. Some fantastic ideas of how we can restart racing are starting to come out. It is likely that the reality is that the resumption of racing will certainly be in a limited manner initially, but it is important we start to work towards solutions immediately.
In terms of the Select Committee submission, the call for evidence has now been pushed back 6 weeks. I am not sure if there is any significance to this delay, but we clearly are in this for the long haul. Nevertheless, we have put together a quick survey looking at the current situation and ways to restart racing when permitted and safe. All responses will be anonymised, unless you agree they can be used for public consumption. If you want to participate in the survey contact Simon Lovesey at email@example.com
Firstly, we are NOT lobbying HM Government to end the lockdown. We FULLY support all measures taken to protect the NHS and save lives. In any case, HMG are advised by the best scientific and medical advisers in the world so are unlikely to listen to anyone else's opinion!
However, eventually the lockdown will have to end whether that be tomorrow or in six months' time (hopefully not that long but you never know). It is sensible to take the time now to plan for when we can return to sailing in order to protect jobs and businesses in our sector.
Secondly, the lockdown won't just end overnight. It will need to be slowly phased out over a number of weeks or months. HMG will want to allow 'low risk' activities (low risk of contagion) to recommence first and higher risk activities later on. With regards to sport, they need data in order to consider which sports are lower or higher risk. Without this research, they will have to assume the worst and sailing will be given lowest priority.
HMG have specifically asked for feedback from sports on how they can recommence their activities in the safest possible way including as many safety measures as possible (I will list some suggestions in a future post).
I would also like to point out that we are working WITH the RYA on this the more data the better.
- It may be that - as a group - we determine that some activities (larger events?) are too risky to run at all until a much later stage. If we do decide this, then that is as a valid a conclusion as anything.
Please use this group as a forum to discuss the sailing industry's response to the COVID-19 outbreak in general - all discussion is useful.
Last updated 15:32 on 7 May 2020