Outlook for 2022 

(Update 28 December 2021)

After last winter’s lockdown – which effectively closed sailing for 4 months, we were fortunate to complete a full sailing season from April to December.  This started with the restriction to non-residential sailing only (ie no overnight stays aboard yachts) but as the successful vaccine campaign progressed we re-introduced residential courses and adventure sailing.  Demand has been high for all courses and events and our resources were frequently stretched to cope.  We are now engaged in an intensive maintenance programme to ensure that we start the new season with the fleet in good order.  Shore-based classroom courses resume in January and practical sailing is set to re-start on 31 January – as soon as the marina Lock re-opens after its 3-week annual refit. 

Unfortunately, as we all know, Covid is not over yet and our planning has to address the risks of the current wave of infections from the Omicron variant and the uncertainties in future Government policy.  Clearly this is going to be ‘work in progress’ for some time to come but in this update we will 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 most 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 not yet changed significantly since 19 July but clearly new announcements may be expected in the coming days.  We will review the risk assessments and all associated documents as new information becomes available.  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.

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 (Sail)

Standard practical (sail) courses are currently scheduled to resume from 31 January 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 continued 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 may modify the testing requirement to include an additional (earlier) Lateral Flow Test taken 8 days before the course start date.  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:

  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 with sanitisation measures between users but 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.  While this is the case 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..

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

Shorebased Training

Classroom courses for VHF, First Aid, Diesel Engine and Radar 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.

There is some risk that changes in Government rules or guidance could restrict classroom training.  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 ruin as scheduled.  However, current 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 full 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