A group of yacht owners and sailors in Plymouth have got together to do some self-managed social time-trial racing within Covid-safe guidelines.  

Keith Davies, an active Plymouth sailor and committee member at the Royal Western Yacht Club (RWYC), has created a WhatsApp group of local sailors. They pre-decide a 90- to 180-minute course to sail a day or two before their event and allow a window of time within which to start their journey.  

Keith was interviewed just before the first event as part of an RYA YouTube video discussing self-managed racing, where he explained the Covid-safe measures that have been put in place.  

Social distancing is strictly followed, and the yachts are wide enough to ensure competitors remain over three metres apart. The events include single-handed and double-handed boats (sailed by people from one household) as well as bigger boats containing socially-distanced pairs, or larger household groups and pets too! Participants are encouraged to take photos of themselves and other people sailing and post them on WhatsApp for possible prizes.  

 

Everyone follows COLREGs and records their own start and finish times, which they post to the group.

Keith and other volunteers then work out a ‘corrected time’ using the Velocity Prediction Rating System (VPRS), as this allows for white sail boats as well as those with spinnakers.   Keith has even acquired some sponsors for the initiative, providing several cases of Plymouth gin as well as other generous prizes. They are VPRS, RWYC, Ullman Sails, Highwater Sails and PR Systems Marine Electronics.  

Between 30 and 40 boats have taken up the challenge, and they range from 20ft sports keelboats to 50ft cruising yachts. They come from lots of different clubs in the area and because people can white sail, the events have even introduced some sailors who haven’t raced before.