Falmouth returns to boating series: 3 A successful approach to covid-safe racing

This week, we’re featuring how some of the many Falmouth clubs have managed to get back on the water safely.
25 Aug 20

Tony Hardman is a regular racer at Mylor Yacht Club (MYC),and had a call from Commodore Ken Whitney when lockdown easing began, askinghim to organise some covid-safe racing, which was initially daunting: “We gottogether a small committee of five, and our first meeting was interesting tosay the least! We were so scared of possibly spreading infection, and very waryof starting racing.

Eventually we decided to try one pursuit race, using the YTChandicap system. We were watching all the RYA guideline updates very closelyand rewrote our sail instructions, specifying that only people from the samehousehold or bubble could sail together, and the maximum number of people on a boatwas two. We also made the skippers responsible for their own covid precautions.One of our covid committee, Jeanette Ruberry, is a race officer, and shevolunteered to run the race from the shore, on a promontory lined up with abuoy as a start line, with a single spotter and no committee boat. Another member,Bernie Bagley, volunteered to operate the safety boat with his wife.”

After that first race, people came off the water beaming –they really enjoyed it after such a long time off the water. So, the MYC covidcommittee had another meeting, and decided unanimously to run a series of sixraces on Sunday mornings. These were so successful that they repeated thescenario on Friday evenings too. For all the racing, the majority of crews arefamilies, with a few boats sailed by members of support bubbles.