A British sailing industry figure is looking to form a Special Interest Group (SIG) of clubs, classes, sailors, trade and other stakeholders to lobby for the safe restarting of racing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
SailRacer managing director Simon Lovesey says the aim is to develop strategies and plans to allow sailing and racing to resume as soon as sensible (and safe) and, if need be, to lobby for fair treatment of sailing particularly among the grassroots of Britain’s sailing community.
“As and when the [UK] Government looks to ease restrictions, my concern is that sailing will be treated the same as much broader sectors, so clubs will be lumped in with bars and restaurants, and sailing events as festivals,” he says.
“The indications are these broad sectors will only be allowed to restart near the end of any easing of restrictions. In Holland, sailing events are categorised as festivals, which are prohibited from operating until September at the earliest.
“So, it is important we learn to live with the situation and make adaptations to allow some activities to be undertaken.
“With suitable adaptations, sailing and boating should be able to address many of the self-distancing requirements, and I understand the virus cannot be transmitted via water. Sailing brings many health benefits: physical, mental and plenty of the all important respiratory gains.”
Lovesey reminds that Downing Street has set a deadline of this Thursday 30 April for submissions of evidence from sporting individuals and groups to illustrate the impact of Covid-19 on their sector, and suggestions of how to adapt and innovate to deal with the current situation.
He believes a more focused contribution from clubs and classes alongside the RYA’s presumed submission “will give the opportunity to convey more of the details and in particular the grassroots element of sailing” that the broad remit of the larger body may not include.
Any parties interested in taking part in the suggested Restart Racing Action Group can contact Simon Lovesey at [email protected]