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Royal Ulster Yacht Club to Open Doors on Friday

2nd July 2020
Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough

The opening up of Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough has been long-awaited and tomorrow (Friday 3rd July) is the big day.

During the past week bar and waiting staff have undergone training on the new way of working. As members will appreciate life cannot return to normal just yet so restrictions will be in place initially and the situation will be reassessed weekly. But for at least this weekend and the next the Club will only be open on Friday lunchtime and evening, Saturday evening and Sunday lunchtime for dining. There will initially be only a limited menu as the head chef is stranded in Poland but as soon as he returns – in the middle or to the end of July, depending on quarantining rules - the menu will be extended again.

To accommodate the numbers, social distancing is important and for the smooth running of the service, tables can only be booked with at least 24 hours’ notice and at most 10 days before the desired date and members will be given a fixed time to arrive. And to accommodate as many as possible two sittings will be trialled . Also, initially bookings will only be accepted for members and members of their households. Pre- or post-dinner drinks will be served at the table as the bar itself which will be screened. The dining room will be zoned, and each zone will have a dedicated waiter or waitress. This is to limit the possibility of cross contamination and aid tracing if there should be an outbreak at the Club

For those wishing to buy drinks without a meal, this can only be accommodated outside and will be table service only. Booking will not be required for this, but it is expected names and contact details for track and trace purposes will be required.

There will be sanitisation stations throughout the clubhouse and entry and exit will be through the front door with a limited one-way system into and out of the front bar.

In common with many other businesses, the club is trying to discourage the use of cash so bar and dining bills will be paid by card.

Rear Commodore Maurice Butler said he can see the light at the end of the tunnel “ While clearly, it will take several more months to see a return to something near normal hopefully it will not be too long before sailing can get underway in earnest.

In the meantime, the Club is planning short-handed crew races and day cruises in which family groups from the one household can participate. It is unfortunate that with the delay since March of being able to get access to their yachts some owners will not have the necessary work done in sufficient time to make it worthwhile launching their boats this year. I do believe that 2020 will go down as the strangest sailing season on record. We all hope fervently that it will never be repeated!”

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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