Following a meeting this evening with the regatta organising committee, event race officer and sailing secretary, we have had to take the difficult decision to cancel this weekends Cruiser Regatta, and postpone the second weekend of the Shanghai & Nimrod Cups
I think it is fair to say that, as eternal optimists, we had all been expecting to see a relaxation of the rule and the associated guidance, in discussion with the RYA and others, but that has not happened. If anything, things have gone in the opposite direction with local lock downs and ramped up political rhetoric in respect of non locked down areas relating to essential travel.
The big issue for CBYC is the “rule of 30” which is strict and must be complied with. As a club we face a £10,000 fine for a breach, and in addition there is reputational damage to consider.
The fact of the matter is that under any measure we will likely be exceeding the rule of 30 with cruiser racing without additional mitigation measures being instituted (and we aren’t there yet). We discussed ways in which fleets could be separated and races for each fleet separately organised. There is further thought needed to be given to that but practically none of that can be achieved in time for the Shanghai Cup, Nimrod Cup or club cruiser regattas. In respect of the Nimrod and Shanghai there is also a fairness element to consider with some yachts now unable to compete due to local lockdowns. What we decided was that
1) The Shanghai and Nimrod Cups would be postponed
2) The Cruiser Racing Regatta would be cancelled
3) Race 3 of the Cruiser Frostbite Series would be postponed and moved to the end of the series.
4) Further mitigation would be urgently considered to be able to continue racing. the remainder of the Frostbite Series That will require further thought and we can work together to try and achieve that.
It was originally proposed that there would be a general handicap and optimist regatta competing on Saturday and Sunday of this weekend. These events cannot continue in their proposed form because they would involve a breach of the rules due to the numbers of participants. Ways were explored to reduce contact points but there was significant scope for breach of the rules with the numbers of people involved.
The solution agreed was to hold two separately organised events with a Welsh Optimist Championship event organised by Nick Martin on Saturday and a General Handicap Regatta day event organised by me on the Sunday. The entries for those events will be limited in numbers to comply with the rule of 30 and mitigation on the ground at rigging times will include divided rigging areas to aid social distancing with clear pathways kept for access through to yacht pontoons. The two Rivers race on Sunday afternoon would be cancelled.
Otherwise normal Sunday general handicap dinghy racing can continue as planned for the Autumn and late Autumn series because of the limited numbers involved, but in no circumstance should the rule of 30 be exceeded and again mitigation on the ground at rigging and launching times should be considered. If numbers increase Covid controls will need to be introduced to keep numbers within legal limits.
As discussed, the issue was raised with the Club’s CoM at a meeting on Monday night and I believe we have full support from them to ensure that we are compliant.
These decisions will be a huge disappointment to many and I am sure we will all pull together in explaining the reasons for the decisions and the risks to the club if we do not take them. We were unannimous in our thoughts. I know there will be those who disagree but I think they have to be cognisant of the risks to the club if we do not act sensibly.
Let us hope that we can move to more normal times soon.