The first cracks have begun to appear in the moribund UK sailing scene as talk of easing coronavirus restrictions start to fill the media headlines.
Simon Lovesey of SailRacer, is looking to form a Special Interest Group – the Restart Racing Action Group – of clubs, classes, sailors, trade and other stakeholders to lobby for the safe restart of sailing and racing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He thinks that sailing clubs will suffer by being lumped in with bars and restaurants, and sailing events as festivals as the Covid-19 restrictions are eased.
The indications are that these broad sectors will only be allowed to restart near the end of any easing of restrictions. In Holland, sailing events are categorised as festivals, which are prohibited from operating until September at the earliest.
Lovesey believes that . . . “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.”
The Government has set a deadline of for submissions from those involved with sport (individuals and groups) to submit evidence by Thursday 30 April, to illustrate the immediate impact of Covid-19 on their sector, and suggestions of how things may adapt and innovate to deal with the situation.
Although the RYA (see below) and RORC are likely to make submissions covering their general boating interests, Lovesey believes that evidence from more focused groups will give the opportunity to present more of the details and in particular the grass roots element of sailing.
He would be looking to feed any findings from the Special Interest Group into the RYA.
Anyone interested in taking part in the suggested Restart Racing Action Group can contact Simon Lovesey at [email protected]
NOTE: Comment from an RYA spokesperson . . .
The RYA is aware of the DCMS Select Committee Inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on the sports sector. The RYA will continue to assess and quantify the impact across the whole RYA community and respond to the Committee’s call for evidence within the timescale for submissions which closes in mid-June’.