On 24th March, the Covid-19 lockdown meant that we had to close the Club for the first time in its 121-year history. The Flag Officers formed the Covid-19 team and met weekly during lockdown via Zoom, at all times following a considerate and conservative approach. Regular meetings were also held with the management committee who agreed phase 1 re-opening on 13th May with access to the grounds and boats moving to phase 2 on 16th May with the reintroduction of social sailing and cruiser launching. At all stages we have followed the RYA and gov.uk regulations and guidelines to keep our members safe while allowing them to do what was permitted. An enormous amount of effort has been put in by our staff and large band of volunteers to ensure that our activities and premises are Covid secure. Our sailing committee in particular worked tirelessly to enable racing to restart on 18th July with online registration and completely rewritten procedures to ensure social distancing and no groups of more than six on our launching ramp. The changing rooms have remained closed throughout and all our planned social events have been cancelled.
It is easy in this crisis to focus on what you haven’t been able to do but here at Blackwater Sailing Club we would like to look back and celebrate a little of what we have been able to do this year:
· Social sailing only restricted for 7 weeks
· Virtual Spring Regatta during May
· Launched over 100 cruisers
· 35 club meetings held via Zoom
· Virtual AGM and EGM
· Became skilled at changing in the car park
· Virtual quizzes and social evenings via Zoom
· Many members enjoyed social sailing, cruising, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and model yacht racing
· Completed the rebuilding of the centre and southern sections of our Clubhouse in June
· Re-opened the bar in July
· Members fit out of the new Clubhouse completed during July-August
· Introduced online registration for racing
· Club racing restarted 18 July
· Cadet Reid Scott 5-day race series for 70 cadets run during August in place of cadet week
· Most of our major cup races were run during August-October including the Dyer Cup, Round the Islands Races and Bart’s Bash.
· 6-day race series with 69 boats run during August in place of Club week
· Online virtual RYA first aid training courses
· Welcomed the Chelmsford Fire Service to do their Swiftwater and mud rescue training at the Club
· Optimist training for beginners on our freshwater lake
We are planning a full sailing and social programme in 2021 in the hope that the Covid-19 restrictions will be eased, but if not, we can still enjoy sailing on the beautiful Blackwater Estuary and our 7-acre training lake. We hope to be able to officially open our fantastic new Clubhouse and run an Open Day so that we can invite our friends and potential new members to come and see our great new facility.
Photos © Ian Johnson