As we all continue to follow the current government restrictions, Spinnaker Sailing Club in Ringwood is already planning ahead and preparing for the day when boats can set sail once more.
With the help of the club’s committees, James Oborne, Chief Instructor and Boatswain at Spinnaker Sailing Club, has designed post-lockdown planning documents containing an updated risk assessment to ensure that their club is able to resume some form of sailing as quickly as possible once the green light has been given by the Government.
The club which is based in the New Forest has a membership of 300 units and over 500 individual members, they also have group membership from affiliated groups such as the New Forest Sailability.
Part of the post-lockdown plans for the club include a modified training programme, which will enable boaters to practice social distancing whilst also having access to the water. Training for beginners is not part of the initial programme as these classes often involve increased close contact between instructors and learners.
The club postponed all training and races following the Government lockdown announcement in March and have had to furlough two members of staff since. However, as part of the club’s positive focus on the future they are beginning to advertise for seasonal staff such as instructors, for possible summer classes - strictly on a zero hours contract to begin with.
One of James’ main concerns is that when lockdown restrictions do begin to lift that sailing may be slow to be re-introduced as it could be judged in the same category as other more tactile leisure pursuits.
James said: “Sailing is a sport that can follow social guidance restrictions much more easily than other sports, for instance, swimming or football. Some of the temporary control measures that we will be introducing such as limiting the amount of members in enclosed areas, such as the changing rooms, restricting dinghy use to members of the same household only and increasing the minimum ability of all sailors to be YSS2 or NSS1 will hopefully make a big difference to mitigating the spread of Covid-19. There are some aspects however, that we have decided not to re-introduce until a later stage in the process, such as beginner’s classes and club catering facilities.”