21st May 2020
The good news is that the NSW Health authorities have today announced a relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions as they relate to recreational boating.
Racing can now resume across all classes of boat – inshore only for the moment. Restriction around offshore and overnight racing remain under discussion. Social sailing, day and overnight cruising are now permissible – although “where practicable” the 1.5 m separation distance between crew needs to be maintained.
There is a limit of 10 crew per boat – so no stacking the rail with human ballast – an issue which should not concern too many Amateur boats ! You are still required to observe the 1.5 m separation rule where practical – so probably no more than 5 or 6 crew of a 10M vessel for example.
However, some challenges remain. Sailing clubs are required to undertake a detailed risk assessment and mitigation program taking into account the current COVID19 restrictions and how we can best comply “where practical” so to protect the health of our staff, members and their families. As a consequence, there will be no return to “normal operations” for some time yet and some restrictions will stay in place. The directors are working through how to comply with the ongoing restrictions whist trying to best balance access to the club and facilities for members. We will keep you informed of any changes in that regard but request your ongoing patience and forbearance meantime.
Some sailing clubs are planning a return to racing as soon as Friday, June 5 – the start of the long weekend. For the Amateurs, we are talking with the other clubs involved in our combined Winter Series with the goal of re-commencing racing by no later than Saturday, June 13 – possibly earlier.
A reminder that no matter what steps the Club can put in place, Skippers are ultimately responsible for their boats and the safety of the crew. We are fortunate as sailors to have been given the opportunity for an early return to some semblance of normality with regards our time out on the water. It is important, that from a community perspective, we are all seen to honour both the letter and spirit of the rules which have been designed to protect us all.
We should also acknowledge the efforts of Australian Sailing in pursuing negotiations with the NSW authorities which has allowed the early and unexpected return to sailing activities in the harbour. There has also been a very cooperative and supportive liaison between clubs, particularly the CYCA, RSYS, RANSA, MHYC, RPAYC, RMYCBB, SASC, MYC and RPEYC who have collaborated weekly since the pandemic hit.
This is very positive development for the club – and all sailors on the harbour, We look forward to seeing you out on the water very soon. Further information from the Australian Sailing can be seen below.