He explains the measures the Club took and how they've been able to ensure safety for their members as they get back on the water.
When did the club
24 March, a notice was sent out to members letting them know that the Strangford
Sailing Club Committee was planning for a Covid-19 driven 2020 season. All our members were encouraged to follow the
UK Prime Minister advice and stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel. That also
meant staying away from the sailing club.
line with further Government guidance, we formally closed the club on the 4
April. Members were advised not to access the site or use any of the
Virtual Regatta Sailing was started on 11 May to keep some of the adults and
children occupied during the lockdown period. We ran three sessions per week!
How long was the club
club was closed for two months and the SSC Committee agreed that prior to
activities restarting SSC must await and comply with guidance issued by;
National Trust (our landlord)
National Trust started their restricted
opening on the 3 June and SSC followed suit with our first Junior Sailing
session starting on Tuesday 9 June.
How did you go about
Covid-19 subcommittee reviewed how we could safely operate and re-open based on
government recommendations. Email, phone
calls and audio conferencing proved invaluable in keeping everyone informed.
What precautions did
ensure that we could adhere to distancing and hygiene rules SSC adopted a "Sail
and Go Home' philosophy. Essentially sailors arrive and go home in their
sailing gear thus avoiding the use Clubhouse. The clubhouse is closed except
for the use of the toilets.
also included reducing the size of sailing groups. For example, the junior
section was split into fleets with the parents being responsible for the coordination
and training of each group. For our multi-hander fleets such as the flying
fifteen and the safety boats we have followed the principle of family pairings.
With small group sizes, furlough and no
school our sailors have benefitted greatly from being able to be flexible; choosing
appropriate days when the weather is best suited to the ability of the sailor.
also issued documents to members outlining all of our advice and guidelines. These
included a ‘Back to Sailing Activities’ document and ‘a Juniors – Covid-19
Operations’ document. To help the younger members we also made a video which
simply illustrated all the distancing and hygiene protocols (credit must go to
Leon Coole for his hard work on the video).
How have members
reacted to the club being re-opened?
am very proud at how Strangford Sailing Club and its members have responded
during the lockdown and the gradual lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions.
have volunteered to assist with running sailing sessions. The Club has been
able to facilitate sailing for small groups of sailors, while maintaining
have enough parental support to get our Junior sailors out on the water twice a
week and we plan to alternate skills training and race training each week
throughout the summer.
have been very supportive and accept the fact that changing rooms and showers
are out of bounds. Everyone has accepted the need to social distance and
largely adhere to the issued guidance.
What is now available
at the club?
sailing sessions are scheduled for five times per week.
Fifteen / RS400 racing is scheduled for Wednesday evening and Saturday
racing is scheduled for Sundays and they are welcome to join FF fleet
Sailing Groups are scheduled for Tuesday and Friday evenings
Starters in pico, topper and optimists sail on an ad-hoc basis
Would you have any
advice for other clubs who have not yet re-opened?
the challenge and make positive changes. Now is the time to recruit assistance
from members and junior parents. Everyone working together as a team will help to
allow sailing to restart. I would suggest that members are asked to help with
safety cover, launching, rigging, trolleys, race officer etc.
of the other sailing clubs on the lough have followed suit to start their
junior sailing using our template.
am sure social activities will resume in the near future, but currently we will
be complying with the current guidelines and restrictions to keep everyone