Outlook for 2022 

(Update 4 February 2022)

The Covid saga has gone on and on – far longer than any of us imagined back in March 2020.  For two years now, between lockdowns with zero activity we have worked at maximum capacity to meet huge demand.  We are now in the midst of the much-needed winter refit but practical sailing started again on 31 January and we have a full schedule of courses and events from now until December – as we would expect in a ‘normal’ year.  Will this year be ‘normal’?  We hope it will be nearly normal.  But as we know the effects of this virus are not over yet.

Whilst the Government has lifted most restrictions and the current Omicron wave seems to be passing without severe overall impact, there is still a high infection rate in UK and abroad and the requirement to self-isolate on a positive test is still in place.  And Government policy can still change.  So our planning and conduct of courses and events will continue to address these risks.  Clearly this is going to be ‘work in progress’ for some time to come but in this update we try to clarify our current policy and the range of our assumptions and expectations for the future.

As ever, we will comply with legal restrictions and government guidance and we will continue to do our best to keep things as safe as possible.  So many of our covid measures remain in place and and our terms and conditions around Covid will continue to apply.  Read on for more detail.

Risk Assessments, Measures and Terms and Conditions

Our original Covid 19 risk assessment for each type of activity was written in March 2020 and included detailed measures to minimize risks and comply with Covid-Secure guidelines.  The assessments and measures were updated during 2020 and 2021 and are in line with Government policy at the time of our last review in July 2021.  Our Covid 19 risk assessment is available here.  Government policy in England has recently changed hugely and there are now few legal restrictions on our activities.  So we have begun a review of the risk assessments and of all associated documents.  The current Covid Safety Measures for each type of course or activity are set out in separate documents and links to these are shown at the foot of this page.  These will be updated as the review proceeds.

All bookings are subject to our Additional T&Cs During Covid.   If you pay a deposit in the normal way you can secure a place and know that, if we are compelled to postpone an event due to covid or if you cannot attend due to covid or because you have to self-isolate, you can postpone freely to any later available and acceptable date.

Practical Training (Sail)

Standard practical (sail) courses in 2022 are running on the basis of residential sailing – ie crews and instructor staying aboard overnight, communal meals taken aboard, and yachts generally remaining away from base overnight.  In 2021 it was clear that the great majority of customers wanted the experience of residential sailing if that could be considered ‘covid-safe’.  However, a few people still preferred the non-residential option based on day sailing so we will continue to offer some non-residential dates – mostly for 2-day weekends.  We believe that this demand will continue so even if there is no change in government policy we will continue to schedule some non-residential course dates for all formats with the amount of provision geared to demand.  But there is clearly a risk that the Government may re-introduce rules or guidance that restricts us again to non-residential sailing.  In such a case we would make the appropriate changes giving as much notice as possible in the circumstances and formerly ‘residential’ dates would become ‘non-residential’ with no option to postpone or cancel.  In consequence,  in making a reservation for a ‘residential’ practical course customers agree to accept the possibility that the residential element may not be permitted and be prepared to make other arrangements for overnight stays or travel daily.

During 2021 we required all customers to show evidence of a negative Lateral Flow Test taken in the 48 hours before the course start time and then make a self-declaration of personal covid health.  Because of the high positive infection rates experienced so far with the Omicron variant we modified the testing requirement to include an additional (earlier) Lateral Flow Test taken 8 days before the course start date.  In line with Government guidance we will change this requirement to a test on Day 6 (as well as the test on day 2).  The aim of these tests is to minimise the risk that someone brings covid infection with them into a crew who have to live together on a yacht.  We may also introduce a requirement to show evidence of full vaccination status including boosters.

To summarize, the following revised rules and procedures apply to practical sail training courses in 2022:

  1. Courses may be scheduled as ‘Residential’ or ‘Non-Residential’.  For ‘Residential’ courses crews are expected to stay aboard overnight, share all meals aboard and yachts may remain away from base on some nights.
  2. Residential 5-day courses or other mid-week sessions will start at 0900 on Day 1.  Residential weekend courses will begin at 2000 on the Friday evening to allow crew assembly and briefing to prepare for an early start on the Saturday morning.
  3. All Non-residential courses will start at 0900 on Day 1 which for weekend courses means 0900 Saturday.  They will run 0900 – 1700 each day except for the last day when finish time is 1600.
  4. All courses, residential or non-residential finish at 1600 on the last day.
  5. Residential practical courses for sail will include provisions for meals from lunchtime on the first full day to lunchtime on the last day.  Practical courses for motor will include provisions for a sandwich lunch.  If the course requires the yacht to be at sea overnight, provisions for an evening meals and breakfast will be provided.
  6. Wet weather clothing hire is available on a strict advance booking basis.
  7. Cabins allocations for residential courses may involve sharing and will be directed by the instructor.
  8. Cabin allocations for individual overnight stays during non-residential courses may be available subject to advance booking and additional payment and terms and conditions.
  9. Customers will be required to comply with latest Covid testing and self-declaration of their covid health status.  We may introduce a requirement for proof of vaccination status.

Milebuilders

Traditional 2-day milebuilders have been scheduled as residential events including overnight stays and meals taken aboard.  Start times are 1800 in the evening before Day 1 and finish time is 1600 on the last day.  Weather permitting, milebuilders traditionally included destinations in France.  Unfortunately travel restrictions and increased testing requirements associated with international voyages make it almost impossible to manage 2 or 3 day trips to France.  UK has lifted all entry test requirements but France requires fully vaccinated travellers to show a negative result of a PCR or Antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure.  Such tests have to be validated by an approved test provider.  Due to the possible logistic complications, while this requirement remains milebuilders will be confined to sailing in UK waters.  These will be managed to make best use of available weather to achieve a worthwhile sailing experience at least commensurate with a return trip to France.  But we will monitor the French regulations and resume short trips to France as soon as they are feasible.

For Covid safety measures see the links at the foot of this page.

Shorebased Training

Classroom courses for VHF, First Aid, Diesel Engine, Radar and Sea Suirvival are all available now.  Dates are on the relevant web pages.

Day Skipper and Yachtmaster Shore-based courses are available both in the classroom and through On-line delivery using the Zoom platform.

Home study and hybrid courses with video classes using the Zoom platform have been very popular, are a very effective replacement for the classroom and they have almost zero Covid risk.

For Covid safety measures see the links at the foot of this page.

 Adventure Sailing and Around Britain

The 2022 programme includes 3 full circumnavigations of the UK and additional cruises earlier in March and April.  These sailings are all residential of course.  We are optimistic that the current concerns around Omicron will have abated and that the whole schedule will run as scheduled.  However, travel restrictions between UK and Ireland, France and Belgium are affecting details of some itineraries.  We continue to monitor developments and, in case restrictions still apply, we have alternative plans to operate within UK waters.  The new Around Britain programmes are here:

Sail around Britain with Elite Sailing

Elite Sailing Adventures

For Covid safety measures see the links at the foot of this page.

Fast Track Yachtmaster Courses

A programme of 3 YM Fast Track (Sail) courses for 2022 has been scheduled.  Details are here:  Fast Track

Future Updates

We will continue to review the position and update this notice regularly.

We hope you stay safe!

Fred Conradie

Useful Links:

Additional T&Cs During Covid

Covid Measures – Practical Training

Covid Measures – Milebuilders

Packing List for Day Sailing

Packing List – Milebuilders

Covid Measures – Classroom Courses

Covid Measures – Adventure Sailing