Tamesis Club back in action after lockdown

02 Sep 20

Carolyne Vines from the club takes up the story:

We locked down slightly earlier than mandated, curtailing our winter series by two weeks. We were delighted with the RYA offer of the virtual racing and took full advantage of it, having races on Thursday evenings, Sundays and latterly Tuesday evenings for juniors and masters as well. We took up the challenge from nearby Minima Yacht Club to do some team racing. Our club champion distinguished himself in the regional final. 

The junior races gave a lot of our youngsters more confidence, which they have transferred to actually going out on the water now that we are racing on Sundays, being very keen to crew a parent or enter the dedicated race for Toppers. It’s great to see. We have also restarted our junior sailing sessions on Saturday afternoons.

We have run two Summer Camps with a total of 25 children taking part under the excellent auspices of RYA Sailing Development Officer Ben Kimbell, who worked out a Covid safe way to run them. They all had a fantastic time, even with the very challenging weather in the second week. The picture shows two brothers sailing a Feva in the first week (one of the RYA regional Feva fleet no less).

We have been getting a lot of new members joining via the 'Contact Us' section on our website. Many sail already, or have SUPs or canoes. We are not fussy, as we are keen to encourage other watersports in a fun, non competitive fashion. We have a growing SUP section, and now offer SUP storage. We also see SUP membership as being a route to introducing them to sailing.

We took the club opening gently, allowing social sailing as soon as it was possible, then had a couple of trial Sundays in June with the interval between starts set to half an hour instead of the usual five minutes. This allowed for one fleet being rigged in the boat park at a time. The competitors in the first race of three are not allowed to come ashore until the last boat in the last race has been launched. We have a patrol boat out, but competitors are asked not to sail unless they can manage the conditions. We have mandated masthead flotation (4 pint milk containers) and will lift the masts if necessary, not people. These races do not form a series, as not everyone is prepared to sail. The races are as usual run by a volunteer race crew that now includes a Beachmaster. We have abandoned the use of Dutyman for the moment, but plan to go back to using it in September.

Once ashore, all are welcome to buy their drinks from the Veranda Bar. The clubhouse is closed, but the veranda doors are opened and drinks served from a table just inside. Payment is by card only. This has proved very popular. Currently the bar is being run by volunteers. The toilets in the changing rooms are open but the changing area is not. Members are asked to text a number when they arrive to allow for track and trace. A book register is also available. Sailors are asked to arrive down in their sailing clothes.

Tamesis is an RYA Recognised Training Centre, but we are currently unsure of when we will get back to instructing.

We have cancelled our regatta, but are planning to run class open meetings towards the end of September and early October. 

All in all, we seem to be emerging very well from a strange period. The club spirit is very strong, and the need to arrange things differently has led to a lot of improvements.

Find out more about Tamesis Club

Is your club/centre back to boating? Do you have Covid safe measures and ideas other clubs could benefit from? Please send your story to your Regional Communicator