Back to Racing… but not as we know it!

Dear Members

Firstly, thank you all for your patience in these difficult times.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to organise any racing yet this year but with lockdown rules having recently changed from 2m to 1m+ and with the RYA very recently having confirmed that the government does not feel that a sailing race would breach the guidelines relating to social distancing both the Main Committee and Sailing Committee feel that we could launch and retrieve the safety boat under certain conditions and thus begin to run some racing.

The current Government guidance is that we should only gather outdoors in a group of up to six people from different households, whilst following social distancing guidelines. However, this only applies whilst onshore. Therefore, whilst a club is being guided to keep activity onshore to groups of 6 or fewer, we are permitted by law to organise activity for an unlimited number of boats afloat.

However, the RYA is urging clubs to be “Considerate and Conservative”. Members are asked to be responsible for their own decisions dependent on their own circumstances as to whether they wish to participate in racing at this unusual time. We will not race in anything more than F4.

So we intend to start a series on Sunday 12th July at 11.00am (further start times for July and August in Appendix)

I would not want to describe the racing as “informal” because we would expect, for example, that the normal rules of racing to apply, but we cannot run it in the way we have all come to enjoy.

But if you intend to take part, I would urge you to take into account the following :-

  • The clubhouse and changing rooms/showers will not be open and there will be no bar or galley service
  • Access will only be possible to the disabled toilet downstairs, which should NOT be used as a changing room
  • The Annex will be open for retrieval of kit, but should not be used as a changing room
  • With regard to getting kit out, like the start pole, ramps, buoys etc. the same people that get them out should put them away
  • Hand sanitiser gel and sanitising cleaners will be available at various locations around the Club and should be used
  • Racing will take place an hour or so (2 hours at most) either side of low tide to make launching and recovery as easy as possible with the minimum number of people
  • We will not have a duty rota so will need to rely on volunteers and the safety boat will have to be staffed by two people from the same household. The race office will also have to be staffed by two people from the same household, or by one person who is willing to try to cope on their own. I would therefore very much welcome you to get in touch with Simon Mathews asap if you are willing to volunteer at sailingsec@lancingsc.org.uk
  • We will do our best, via the Race Officer, to keep a note of all who attend for the purposes of “track and trace”. With this in mind, the Club must be notified should anyone become unwell, to allow possible contacts to be notified
  • The club boats will be available as usual and members who normally sail together but are not in the same household might want to note this

With regard to the racing itself we will need to keep things simple, and to avoid as far as possible people touching the same objects so :-

  • We won’t require you to sign on, but would very much appreciate you notifying the Race Officer if you are sailing and/or racing
  • We will keep the course simple
  • We will have one start and average lap racing (like on a typical Wednesday), but two races back-to-back
  • We won’t race on Wednesdays for the time being, because few tide times fit well and this will mean there will be much more than 72 hours between different safety boat crews and Race Officers having to touch any equipment.

It would be useful to know how much interest there is in racing under these circumstances. Could you also please get in touch with Simon (sailingsec@lancingsc.org.uk) if you do intend to sail to give us an idea of how many are likely to take part?

I realise that some of you might not want to race under the above conditions and I am sorry that we are not yet allowed to open all our facilities, particularly the changing rooms and showers, but I look forward to seeing you at the Club as soon as possible.

Sean Dwyer

Commodore 7 July 2020

Covid19 Update – 14th May 2020

I hope you are all well and coping in these difficult times.

I am sure many of you will be itching to go sailing, as am I, and I’m sure you will all have heard what the Prime Minister had to say on Sunday and have seen some of the subsequent press coverage. Social distancing of some kind seems likely to be with us for some time but rules will relax further and we will try to be ready and to let you all know what we are planning.

We have discussed the current situation as a Committee and I have been in discussion with the RYA and other West Sussex sailing clubs over the last week or so too.

Given the recent advice from Government we do not consider that it is currently possible to run any organised racing or training at the club, or indeed to open the club. The difficulties associated with launching the safety boats, organising duties and generally using the club preclude it I’m afraid. We will obviously keep this under review and be on the lookout for further statements from the Government as we hopefully move further out of lockdown.

In the meantime I realise that some of you might want to sail on your own. Under current Government guidance this is possible, provided that you can observe social distancing and do it safely. The RYA’s message is to be “considerate and conservative”, the RNLI’s is not in favour of it, and we are not encouraging free sailing, because of the difficulties in doing it from the beach at Lancing. If anybody gets into trouble out there sailing and others have to put themselves at risk to rescue them, it could be damaging for the reputation of our club.

So if you do want to sail we’re not going to attempt to stop you but please bear in mind the RYA’s message of being considerate and conservative and :-

1. Sea state and wind conditions now and forecast for the duration of the sail.

2. Conditions for launching and recovery including the state of the tide.

3. There will be no safety boat.

4. Social distancing.

5. The changing rooms and winch will be unavailable.

6. If you are planning to use the matting, will you be able to put it back in place?

7. Can you get your boat up the beach on your own?

I really hope that I will be able to see you all at the club soon.

Sean Dwyer

Commodore

Covid19 Update – 20th April 2020

Dear Members

I hope you are all well and coping with lockdown.

Following our previous decision to delay the start of the sailing season until at least the end of April you will no doubt be aware that the government announced on Thursday 16th April that the country will remain in lockdown for a further three weeks, which takes us at least until 7th May and potentially further.

I don’t think we can put a date on when we will be able to go sailing as the decision is not likely to be one that is in our hands, but we will obviously want to get on the water as soon as it is considered safe to do so and without putting any of our members at risk. We will not want to ask people who are in at risk categories to do duties until it is safe to do so.

On the social side we did say we would hope to move the Good Friday bike ride to the 8th May Bank Holiday, but it does not look like this will be possible, partly because the Council are closing part of the route for maintenance.

Finally, the sailing club’s Main Committee have met and will continue to do so under lockdown. If anyone wants to see the minutes please contact me at commodore@lancingsc.org.uk

Sean Dwyer

Commodore