Now we have passed our first week, I thought it important to update you on progress. Apologies for a lengthy email but there has been an enormous amount of things happening and some quite significant activities to consider to get sailing restarted.
After a few discussions last week with clubs and classes we are involved with, and the concern over the wholesale event cancellations we are seeing, the realisation is we all need to do something to help steady the ship in these turbulent times. I am pleased to report we now have over 60 clubs and classes involved, thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to ring and email me and pledge their support.
The first activity has been a survey to help build a picture of the challenges the sector is facing under Covid-19, what help they are getting and ideas for the way forward. Thank you for everyone who responded, already over 40. I will be collating responses in the next few days and will share with contributors. If anyone would like the survey link, please email me.
One common comment has been the need to engage and liaise with the RYA. I am pleased to report I have spoken with Ian Walker (Director of Racing) and Howard Pridding (Director of External Affairs). We have agreed to feed in and share our findings and planning activities.
The next stage will be a formal public announcement, outlining progress and plans. I would like to mention supporters names. Please can you confirm your agreement to be listed either as an individual and/or organisation.
Thank you for all those who called me offering help, there is a lot of work to do, so I propose to form a number of specialist working groups to share the load. Please let me know if you are able to help.
Already much work has been done on building the online presence.
Thanks to Sailing Club Manager for building a great website overnight. We have started populating and already quite a lot of useful content is emerging. Again any help you are able to provide will gratefully received https://restartsailing.org/
Restart Watersports and Restart Sailing As other countries start to ease their restrictions and see their citizens getting back on the water, the UK still remains in lock down with no leisure water activity to be allowed. Two seperate groups, Restart Watersports and Restart Sailing have independently been established over the last week, both keen to see a return to the water when safe and appropriate. Recognising the overlap in some of their activities for example access to the water issues, the two groups have agreed to work together where relevant. #restartsailing #restartwatersports https://www.facebook.com/groups/watersportrestart https://www.facebook.com/groups/restartsailing
It's been great to see so much positive and constructive feedback, with plenty of people wanting to get involved and help. We have also seen some negative comments as well from people who are, justifiably, concerned about the health impact of this virus. So it was great to see this posting from James Ripley, who without prompting, neatly sums up what we are about. James, in his early twenties, is one of the UK's youngest (if not youngest) RYA National Race Officers, clearly with a very mature head and some innovative thinking. With a new generation of race officials like James emerging, sailing is clearly in safe hands.
I have been helping Simon Lovesey with this initiative. It's been great to see so much positive and constructive feedback. I have also seen some negative comments as well from people who are, justifiably, concerned about the health impact of this virus. I would just like to clear a few things up regarding what I see as the aims of this group:
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.