2021 – Spring is here and Sailing is Back Again

(Update 21 April 2021)

After months of lockdown we were delighted to resume practical sailing on 29 March. The Spring and vaccines have brought new optimism for the sailing season ahead and we are now working flat out to meet demand. We are particularly happy that we can provide the sailing that loyal customers have waited for so long. Of course its not over yet; some restrictions remain and we have to remain vigilant while working to deliver the best sailing experiences possible in these times. We fervently hope that current positive trends will continue and that the recovery programme will unfold as envisaged in the original roadmap.Read on for more detail.

The government publication (on 22 February) of the roadmap document ‘Covid 19 Response – Spring 2021’ brought better clarity on the way ahead.

In line with the roadmap we resumed all routine practical courses for sail from 29 March 2021 we are now engaged in a maximum effort with all yachts and instructors to deliver a continuous series of weekends and 5-day courses.  Motor courses have been delayed due to commissioning of a replacement motor yacht but we are happy to announce that practical courses are now scheduled to resume from 1 May.

Limited classroom courses for VHF, Diesel, First Aid and Radar resumed from 12 April with strict measures including reduced numbers of students.

Unfortunately the Government roadmap will not allow multiple household groups to share accommodation aboard until 17 May.  So all adventure sailing and milebuilder sailing in 2021 has now been rescheduled.  See below.

Covid Risk Assessments, Measures and Terms and Conditions

In compliance with government regulation and guidance we completed Risk Assessments for each type of activity and formulated detailed measures to minimize risks and comply with Covid-Secure guidelines.  Our Covid 19 risk assessment valid up until November 2020 is available here.  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.  As circumstances change we are reviewing the risk assessments and measures for all activities.

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, you can postpone freely to any later available and acceptable date.

Practical Training

All standard practical courses resumed from 29 March and we are now sailing every week and every weekend.

The government’s roadmap at Step 1 (8 March to 11 April) does not permit overnight stays away from home or mixing of households.  Step 2 (from 12 April) does permit overnight stays but only for single households or bubbles.  Step 3 permits shared multi-household accommodation aboard.  So all RYA practical training courses are running as non-residential with yachts returning to the marina at the end of each day, eliminating the requirement to stay overnight (although variations in the start and finish times will allow some night sailing when required).  Customers are free to go home and return to the yacht the next morning.  From 12 April we have been able to offer cabin accommodation to customers who can’t or don’t want to travel daily.  We have a limited number of cabins available on yachts – bookable in advance and subject to conditions.

The following additional rules and procedures apply to practical training courses:

  1. We will sail with crews of up to 5 people plus the instructor
  2. For some day sailing trips on a larger yacht we may operate with up to 6 crew on deck.
  3. During training we do not allow more than a single household below deck at one time.
  4. We will not allow the preparation of communal meals aboard.
  5. Wet weather clothing hire is available with sanitisation measures between users but on a strict advance booking basis.
  6. Cabins are only available (on a pre-booking basis) for use subject to government regulations for overnight stays.
  7. Customers will be required to self declare their covid health status beforehand and will be temperature tested on arrival.  No other Covid testing is planned for courses of 5 days duration or less.

Despite these restrictions and complications the practical training courses are running very well.  The change to day sailing has increased the intensity and effectiveness of training – especially for competent crew and day skipper students.

Eventually we all look forward to a time when social distancing measures can be eased and we can return to residential training courses.  However, we do not expect conditions to reach this stage until some time in May at the earliest.  Because of this uncertainty we cannot currently accept bookings that are conditional on the sailing being fully residential.  We can only accept bookings on condition that attendance may be non-residential.  If anyone wants only residential sailing we will take details and add them to a waiting list so that as soon as we have a date for resumption of residential sailing we can contact people and assemble crews at that time.

Milebuilders

We have now scheduled a new series of one-day (non-stop) milebuilders that will run without the need for overnight stays.  Dastes are now available in late April and May.  Traditional 2-day milebuilders will be scheduled for June onwards – dates to be announced.

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

Shorebased Training

We plan to resume classroom training for VHF, First Aid, Diesel Engine and First Aid with very small numbers and social distancing with effect from 12 April.  Dates are on the relevant web pages and and we are taking bookings subject to the terms and conditions explained above.

Day Skipper and Yachtmaster Shore-based courses have not yet resumed in the classroom.  The reason is that 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.  Nevertheless people do value the human contact and unique quality of a classroom course so we are considering re-introducing classes for small groups from June 2021

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

 Adventure Sailing and Around Britain

To comply with Government regulations concerning sharing of accommodation spaces we have cancelled some early adventure sailing events up to and including Easter and postponed the start of around Britain sailing by 4 weeks to 16 May.  But we still plan to sail 3 complete circumnavigations of the UK.  Obviously we have to address the potential complications of  varying covid regulations in the different jurisdictions of England, Scotland, N Ireland, Wales as well as the possible travel restrictions between UK and Ireland, France and Belgium.  We hope that many of these restrictions will be lifted by the time we might encounter them from the end of May onwards.  But 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

With places already taken by people who postponed from 2020 and lots of new bookings these trips could quickly sell out.  So if you are thinking of joining one of these amazing adventures in 2021 don’t prevaricate!

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

Fast Track Yachtmaster Courses

All scheduled fast track courses in 2020 were postponed and all students have now agreed with us other arrangements to complete courses.  A full programme of 3 YM Fast Track (Sail) courses for 2021 has been scheduled.  Details are here:  Fast Track

Bookings Postponed Due to Covid

From the outset of the pandemic we contacted all customers progressively and informed them of the postponement of their courses and the options that were available.  We are very grateful for the patience and forbearance of our customers as we worked through this process at an extremely difficult time for the business.  We appreciate the disruption and inconvenience that the whole episode has caused – not least because the stop – start situation has caused second and third postponements..  We have now reached a stage where almost all customers with postponed bookings have either already completed their courses or events or have agreed new dates in 2021.  We are aware of a very small number of people (eg some who booked milebuilders) where we have so far been unable to schedule substitute dates.  We will now focus on these remaining outstanding requirements and contact the individuals concerned.  If you had a booking with us and feel that we have not yet addressed the problem yet please do get in touch to make sure that we have you on the list.

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

We hope you stay safe!

Dave Allan

21 April 2021

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