Dear Members and fellow sailors,
I hope you are all keeping well and safe during these extraordinary times. Its been difficult for all of us and we have never been in more need of enjoying time on the water and family fun. It is my, and your committees’ intention to do all we can to deliver that possibility under the guidelines laid down by Government and Irish sailing. These guidelines are ever evolving and as such our plans will also change however I can assure you, that your committee is working hard, meeting once a week, to stay ahead of the game and prepare for sailing in advance. You must however appreciate this will not be a normal year and we ask for your patience and cooperation so we can all maximise our sailing in a way that is safe and enjoyable.
Firstly, may I thank all those members who have paid their annual subscriptions. The club will not survive without these. I appreciate there may not be full or normal value this summer but I can only encourage all members to renew as we need your support now more than ever if we are to continue to enjoy the sport we love at Dunmore East.
So where are we today? The Government has announced its plans for the easing of restrictions under the publication “Roadmap for reopening society and business”. On the back of this Irish Sailing (formerly the ISA) is due to publish this week its policy document “Covid-19: Return to sailing scheme”. I as Commodore of WHSC have had a briefing on the document before publication so I think with all the uncertainty you, our members, deserve to be brought up to speed.
In brief Sailing will return on a risk assessment basis. We must accept it is not possible to eliminate the risk of the spread of the virus completely from sailing but as sailors we are used to undergoing a risk assessment process before we go afloat but now we must give equal priority to minimising the risk of accidental transmission of the Covid -19 virus. The various members of your committee are currently drawing up risk assessment plans for every area of our activities at WHSC and we will have those in place at the appropriate time of sailing. These will involve practical issues on social distancing, rescue, sharing equipment, cleaning down, access to shed etc etc.
I appreciate you are planning your summer so the time frame, TODAY, for WHSC looks like the following. Please expect some of these to change as Government policy changes.
Phase 1. May 18th. Subject to the RNLI/ Coastguard lifting their restrictions. It is permitted to lift in cruisers. Single handed or same household crewed multi handed sailing permitted. No racing. All boats must sail from and return to home port. Gov travel restrictions 5km. WHSC will not start now.
Phase2. June 8th. Travel restriction now 20Km. Still no racing. WHSC will start supervised sailing subject to risk assessment and appropriate volunteers.
Phase 3. June 29th. Club racing for single handed and household crewed boats now permitted. Junior courses permitted where arrangements are in place to enable participants to maintain social distancing. The practicalities of this will see many changes due to risk assessment. WHSC will publish these asap.
Phase 4. Provisionally July 20th. Travel restrictions lifted. So in theory events could take place, although this is unlikely.
Phase 5. Provisionally August 10th. Bars can reopen.
I cannot over emphasise enough that this is how it looks today and undoubtedly there will be changes, which we can only hope will be positive. In particular, the travel restrictions. Irish Sailing and most sporting bodies see this restriction as being discriminatory against country people so are lobbying hard for this to be lifted.
I will post the Irish sailing guidelines to our web site once published.
We are working on the risk assessment of all activities in the club and I will update you on a regular basis as we proceed. Please be patient and as supportive as you can, together we can make this work for family friendship and fun. Keep the subscriptions coming……
Yours in Sailing,