Snettisham Beach Sailing Club on the West Norfolk Coast have been running ladies sailing activities for several years and, following the success of their beginners’ courses, usually run their improvers courses in half-termly blocks. Most of the sailors participating either started through the Club’s beginners course (which still runs in normal times) or sailed many years ago and were keen to get back into the sport now that their children were at school or grown up. 

However, just as the year’s sessions were about to begin for 2020, Covid-19 hit and the Club quickly had to rethink the activities. Jane Ellison, who runs the sessions, explained what happened:

“It became clear that with the lock down restrictions in place that we wouldn’t be able to start our Friday morning sessions in April. We all keep in touch through the year on Whatsapp, so we had a chat and decided that we would have a weekly cuppa and a chat on zoom on Friday mornings until we could start sailing. We sent an email out to all members in case there was anyone else who wanted to join the group too. We know that some clubs ran theory sessions online but we found it was just nice to have a virtual cuppa together and a bit of a chat each week. Everyone seemed to welcome the 30 minute escape from home schooling and to see people from outside their own household for a little while!”

Once restrictions eased, the group was able to get back on the water, and the sailing sessions restarted in mid-June. The Club made adjustments to ensure that this was safe – with a maximum group size of 5 and everyone sailing in Toppers. The Club had carried out a Covid risk assessment, which meant that everyone arrived ready to sail and all boats and equipment were sprayed down before and after each session. Sessions were adapted slightly to keep everyone safe and socially distanced. 

Jane added “Everyone was so pleased to be back on the water and enjoying seeing each other and sailing again. We managed 5 weeks before the summer holidays and we started again when the schools went back in September. The final session on the sea took place last Friday - I think we will then go back to our online cuppa and possibly meeting up for a walk/bike ride together through the winter.”

To find out more about Snettisham Beach Sailing Club visit: http://snetbeach.co.uk/

If you’d like to find out more about how to get out on the water and start your sailing adventure visit http://www.rya.org.uk/go/startboating