12 May 2020
Since my last update, we have seen the first glimmer of some relaxation of the lockdown rules which are having a major impact on all our lives. Just yesterday, we had notification that the Hamble River Authority will now permit owners to access their boats and, indeed, can go out sailing with family members only. This has not yet been adopted by neighbouring Authorities. Cowes Harbour, most marinas and the majority of waterside facilities remain no go areas. We continue to watch developments carefully.
Further afield, the Irish sailing authorities are looking into ways of observing safety issues on board with mixed crews and are trying to move things towards a resumption of racing. It is much easier to address this with dinghies and small boats but they are looking at bigger keel boats with a view to specifying safe crew numbers for different length boats, amongst other things. Similarly, the RYA have just issued some guidelines to clubs so that when permitted, there may be a transition from lockdown to limited use of club facilities. Certainly, in America, there have been a small number of clubs permitting dinghy racing and, nearer to home, there are positive messages for the Vendee Globe, Lonely Rock race and other events though, in every case, the same message of “subject to the rules and practicality” are being extolled.
All this is exciting and frustrating in equal measure as, in fact, it doesn’t provide any comprehensive framework for JOG to start a re-plan of the rest of the season. What does look most likely is that cross Channel races may not be possible for the foreseeable future but Coastal racing, returning to your home port, may not be too far away.
The General Committee had a virtual meeting just last night with every member “in attendance”. We are looking at various matters of policy and organisation, discussing programme opportunities and even the longer term prospects for sailing. The club is in good heart and I share the frustrations that everyone is feeling with the recent spell of excellent weather and Bank Holidays galore!
Our virtual regattas have gained some traction and although my personal results reflect my intent to give everyone else a strong chance, I hope that this sort of interaction will help to foster our continued esprit de corps. My thanks, as ever, to the organisers and competitors.
Whilst I don’t have anything entirely new to say, please keep safe and we will keep you up to date with all changes that may bring us nearer to normality.
Dougie Leacy, Captain