23 September 2020
Once again, the JOG sailing season has ended all too soon. We seem to have barely started when it’s suddenly all over. However, we finished with a 40 boat entry for the Final Wrap and there is a race report elsewhere on the website.
This has been an extraordinary year. No one could have foreseen the impact of Covid 19 on our world or our sport until it happened and we have done our utmost to give all our members some testing and worthwhile racing, just as soon as we could. Our membership has risen by 17% and we have acquitted ourselves well financially as will be reported at the AGM. I will save some other pleasing statistics for my Captain’s report at that meeting.
It does not need me to remind you of the rules and guidelines, changing at almost the speed of sound, that thwarted all forms of racing for the first half of the year. But JOG led the field with a massive 140 boat entry list for the Lonely Tower and the subsequent “Covid friendly” races were planned and run with care and a great sense of community awareness and social responsibility. Some of our regular racers, quite rightly, stayed away. Vulnerability issues, responsibilities for families and relatives and personal risk assessments all had to be weighed and considered. We too took these factors into account but hope that those that couldn’t race, as well as those that did, were understanding of the massive effort involved and supportive of the programme we put in place.
Next year, we are planning a full programme and a return of our usual points series. However, there are still angry clouds on the horizon. The pandemic is currently escalating once more, border issues post Brexit, have yet to be finalised and we have seen sudden self-isolation requirements put in place which would make cross Channel racing a fraught experience, even if allowable. The Flag officers and Committee have decided to plan a principal programme of UK coastal and inshore racing, to the normal Cat 3 and 4 requirements, but with some alternative ,traditional, destinations if developing circumstances and rules make it feasible, sensible and within our stated aim of being socially responsible. We will be publishing the programme as soon as we can. Please support it and the club, even if we all want to return to those venues which have beckoned us so warmly in the past.
For your information, Covid restrictions within the marine industry have slowed down the implementation of new rules requiring a mandatory keel inspection. This has been postponed for at least another year whilst the industry defines who exactly is a “competent person”. Nevertheless, JOG still recommends that you follow the requirement at an opportune moment as boats without keels are not great to be on!
Turning to the AGM for later this year, our rules and constitution require us to hold one before Christmas. The date has already been set as Sat 21st Nov. We will be holding a “virtual” meeting on Zoom and Stuart Lawrence, our IT guru, is making the arrangements. The main panel of Chairman, Captain, Treasurer and Secretary will be there to give reports, as usual, and there will be voting and speaking arrangements in place for all those that need to. Pre-registration will be needed to ensure that only members are represented. All the arrangements will be notified, together with the accounts and reports in plenty of time and in accordance with our rules. The confined and unusual nature of the meeting will limit what can be contributed and discussed but if you have pressing topics that can only be heard at an AGM, please contact the Secretary in plenty of time for inclusion in AOB.
Perhaps, if physical attendance is not required, we may see some more faces attending this meeting! In any case, I am only too willing to hear directly from any of you if you have useful input or concerns for what we are doing.
Finally, even if you haven’t been able to race, we had engaged Rick Tomlinson, not only to take photos, but also to act as a safety boat during our racing. We owe him an extraordinary vote of thanks and I urge you to visit his website https://www.rick-tomlinson.com and look at some of the outstanding moments he has captured. I am also sure that he would appreciate your support by buying some.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work of Martin and Ruth and our Race Officers who give so much to JOG. I know you will join me in thanking them for their efforts.
On behalf of the Committee, I wish you all well and please stay safe in the months ahead.
Dougie Leacy Captain