Littleton Sailing Club to reopen for ‘Buddy Sailing’

Important Announcement

The easing of Coronavirus lock-down restrictions from Wednesday 13 May signals the first phase of the re-opening of Littleton Sailing Club. The Management Team have decided to allow limited sailing activities to take place with immediate effect, which comply with all Government Guidelines and Legislation. The clubhouse (and all other buildings / stores) will remain locked with the exception of the outside toilet and there will be no duty team or safety boat cover.

Permitted Sailing (including windsurfing and stand-up paddle boarding):

The key points from the most recent Government Guidelines are that “unlimited” out-door exercise is to be encouraged and that we are permitted to travel to that place of exercise. This means that the lake is available for you to sail on and at Littleton we have always allowed sailing outside of our regular club hours, i.e. when there is no safety boat cover. Although not an official title, we generally refer to this as ‘Buddy Sailing’ and it is described in our Standing Orders as follows:

Sailing outside Opening Times
Members who wish to sail at the Club when there is no advertised sailing/racing programme (i.e. no safety boat is operating) may do so entirely at their own risk provided they arrange for some other person to be available on shore (and another craft available on the water) who can provide assistance should the Member get into difficulties.

The Government Guidelines for England are now that you can:

  • ‘meet one other person from a different household outdoors – following social distancing guidelines
  • exercise outdoors as often as you wish – following social distancing guidelines
  • use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart’
  As before you cannot
  • ‘gather in a group of more than two (excluding members of your own household)’

This allows multiple people from the same household to sail one or more boats. This also provides the necessary scope for members to make arrangements to buddy one other sailor from outside your household. You cannot volunteer to buddy for a whole group and the club WhatsApp group is not to be used to offer your services.

If the buddy is a non-sailor or just not sailing that day, then the club has made available the rowing boat (with boarding ladder) which will be stored near the slip on a trailer to provide some self-safety covers. This satisfies the club requirement for having “another craft available on the water”. The oars will be stored in the outside toilet and the first to arrive should collect the oars and launch the boat. Similarly, the last to leave should put the boat and oars away.

Additional Precautions / Rules:

The risk of Coronavirus is reducing but a significant risk remains particularly via transmission to vulnerable people (principally older people and those with pre-existing conditions). All members wishing to come to the club must follow all Government guidance and observe the following rules when at the club:

  • Sail well within your ability and that of your buddy or family member who is your rescue. Careful consideration is needed for sailing above wind force 4(>18 mph) or wind force 3 (>12 mph) for less experienced sailors. No buddy sailing in severe wind and weather conditions as no rescue boat is available.
  • If you are symptomatic or have been in contact with others that require you to self-isolate , you cannot come to the club;
  • Those who have been declared vulnerable and advised to self-isolate should continue to do so;
  • Observe Social Distancing at all times (i.e. the 2m rule), avoid touching shared surfaces and where possible wipe clean shared surfaces you have touched;
  • The clubhouse is to remain locked. Keyholders are asked not to open the clubhouse or any other building or store;
  • You should either come to the club already wearing your sailing gear or change in the car park;
  • Please ensure you have a charged mobile phone for emergencies onshore or ideally with you whilst sailing.
  • You must sail within sight of the of the clubhouse and avoid blind spots e.g. avoid the dive area by mark 3
  • The outdoor toilet will be left unlocked. Please wipe down surfaces after use with the cleaning materials provided;
  • The club safety boats are not to be used (all engines helpfully removed!);
  • Club boats will not be available for hire; and
  • Two-handed boats can only be sailed by those from the same household.

Social Distancing vs Rescuing Someone:

This has been discussed and all options considered so it is worthy of an explanation. The vast majority of rescues do not require bodily contact. In most cases, all that is needed is assistance in righting a capsized boat or steadying a boat whilst a sailor gets back on board, maybe followed by a tow back to the clubhouse. If a sailor needs to be recovered from the water they will often be able to do this unassisted. Climbing onto their own boat, if lower in the water, and then the “rescuer’s” boat (particularly if this is the rowing dinghy) is often the easiest way.

If a person becomes entrapped or is unable to help himself or herself, e.g. unconscious, then immediate assistance is required, possibly including first aid and the risk of harm from the situation far outweighs the risk of contamination from the Coronavirus.

The same would apply were you cycling, playing tennis or driving to the supermarket and witnessed an accident or someone taken seriously ill. Common sense needs to prevail and hopefully it goes without saying that anyone nearby and able to offer assistance without putting themselves at undue risk should do so, whether they are the official buddy or not. The risk is reduced by short duration of close contact and being outside.

Please Enjoy Yourselves Safely:

To end on a positive note, we hope that you will be able to take advantage of the ability to start sailing again. It will be a long time before things return to normal and many annual events have already been cancelled. However, so long as people work within the rules set out above we hope to see more of you on the water shortly.

A separate note will be issued to confirm the reinstatement of the 2020 invoices with deductions for the lock-down period as previously described. We ask that all those intending to sail, please pay their 2020 membership fees to ensure that they are covered by the club’s insurance. To those of you who have already paid, we are grateful. This year is going to be financially challenging for the club having missed our usual open day with its intake of new members and the RYA training courses that also bring new people to the club.

Rear Commodore (Sailing) & the Management Committee