A first step to returning to racing in Plymouth

Self-managed social racing takes off in the region
30 Jun 20

A group of yacht owners and sailors in Plymouth have gottogether to do some self-managed social time-trial racing within Covid-safeguidelines. 

Keith Davies, an active Plymouth sailor and committee memberat the Royal Western Yacht Club (RWYC), has created a WhatsApp group of localsailors. They pre-decide a 90- to 180-minute course to sail a day or two beforetheir event and allow a window of time within which to start their journey. 

Keith was interviewed just before the first event as part ofan RYA YouTube videodiscussing self-managed racing, where he explained the Covid-safe measures thathave been put in place. 

Social distancing is strictly followed, and the yachts arewide enough to ensure competitors remain over three metres apart. The eventsinclude single-handed and double-handed boats (sailed by people from onehousehold) as well as bigger boats containing socially-distanced pairs, orlarger household groups and pets too! Participants are encouraged to takephotos of themselves and other people sailing and post them on WhatsApp forpossible prizes. 


Everyone follows COLREGs and records their own start andfinish times, which they post to the group.

Keith and other volunteers thenwork out a ‘corrected time’ using the Velocity Prediction Rating System (VPRS),as this allows for white sail boats as well as those with spinnakers. Keith has even acquired some sponsors for the initiative,providing several cases of Plymouth gin as well as other generous prizes. Theyare VPRS, RWYC, Ullman Sails, Highwater Sails and PR Systems MarineElectronics. 

Between 30 and 40 boats have taken up the challenge, andthey range from 20ft sports keelboats to 50ft cruising yachts. They come from lotsof different clubs in the area and because people can white sail, the eventshave even introduced some sailors who haven’t raced before.