Top facebook2x Top email2x Email us Top search2x Basket Login
Home / News / Coronavirus: Latest Guidance to Members (updated 30/6/2020)
Home / News / Coronavirus: Latest Guidance to Members (updated 30/6/2020)

Coronavirus: Latest Guidance to Members (updated 30/6/2020)

737071 orig
Published 00:00 on 26 Jul 2020

Update 6: Post-July 4 Relaxations (30 June 2020)

We have updated our Covid Policy and the Appendices describing how the latest Government guidance affects the Club from July 4.

There are a lot of changes (e.g. members with second homes in the village can now stay there overnight), businesses offering hospitality can reopen (albeit subject to many restrictions), but these changes do not significantly alter the restrictions on our ability to organise events involving groups of members, where the limit of 6 people from different households remains for activities outdoors on public land or in private dwellings. This limit also applies onboard a single vessel but, importantly, not between a group of vessels afloat.

The new "1m plus" rule still asks us all to stay 2m apart unless this is not possible (in which case other measures have to be taken to reduce risk), so this change also does little to make life easier for the Club. Despite all this, we are planning to run some Junior sailing in July including a re-designed Junior Week 2020. We are also looking at how racing might be run during Regatta Week. Members will be updated in Newsletters.

The new guidance imposes the 6-people limit on visits to clubs, pubs and restaurants which will be allowed to reopen from July 4 but only by adhering to measures to make sure they are "Covid-19 secure". Therefore members should not arrive at the Club premises in groups exceeding this number and if visiting any other Clubs in the Harbour should also be careful to observe it. While on the premises, the Green, or the Hard please try to minimise social interactions that go beyond this 6 person group size. Clubs are also being asked to keep records of those attending so this information could be used by the Test & Trace service should a local outbreak occur and WWSC is examining how best to do this.

There are signs that some members of the public think these relaxations mean the danger has past when, in fact, we are still in a precarious position. So we do urge all WWSC members to act as ambassadors for the Club in demonstrating our adherence to this latest guidance which is needed to prevent local flare-ups or a possible second wave of infections in the UK during a period when the virus is still very much in circulation.

Previous Updates:

Update 5: Re-starting Club Activities - Next Steps (19 June 2020)

Over the past couple of weeks several clubs in the Harbour have begun to run club sailing events in a limited way. At WWSC we are following these developments closely and paying particular attention to the very detailed guidance provided by our national governing body, the RYA. Based on this guidance, the Club's Covid Team has agreed a Covid Policy which we've published along with a wider suite of documents to help explain our approach to operating in the current crisis.

Our approach reflects the RYA's emphasis on always following Government guidance, being considerate to other users and exercising caution to minimise risk. We are aware that WWSC is expanding our activities beyond "private sailing" more slowly than some other local clubs. This reflects our determination to abide strictly by current regulations and guidance (following the advice of RYA on this) and always remembering our responsibilities not just to our members but also the wider local community as we all work together to navigate a safe path through the pandemic.

The Regulations and Guidance we are operating under are complicated and changing - for those who are interested, we have provided the relevant extracts on our website. A particular challenge all clubs face as they move forward is the current Regulation prohibiting the organisation of any outdoor events which involve "gatherings" of more than 6 people in one place (irrespective of whether or not they maintain the "2m rule" during the activity). So long as this rule remains in place, it will be impossible to conduct racing or training as in past, but we are developing plans to comply by creating events based around this small group size.

I am pleased to say that from this weekend we are able to take some modest steps towards resuming club activity. Our club dinghies are now available for hire (see below) and we will also be running two small Oppie sessions.

Operating organised sailing under the current restrictions is challenging and we will be using the weekend's events to help test and develop our approach to running events during the rest of the Summer. Our aim for 2020 is to ensure that WWSC offers something for all over the prime weeks of our season. Our plan is to hold events in both Junior Week and Regatta Week, even if both these will necessarily be rather different to usual. Obviously, if the rules are further relaxed before then, this will get easier.

Please stay safe, continue to abide by the rules, and bear with us as we do our best to get as many members back sailing again.

Ivan Western, Commodore

Update 4: WWSC Approach to Resuming Activities (4 June 2020)

Thanks to those of you who responded to my email of 27 May seeking views on the resumption of the Club's sailing programme. Working with a small 'Covid Sub Group' we have studied these views carefully alongside the guidance we are getting from the RYA and from our contacts with other sailing clubs. On the strength of this the Committee has concluded that we should not expand activities beyond private sailing until at least the end of June. Our reasons for this are set out below.

Our current position remains that:

  • Only "private sailing" should be taking place from Snowhill.
  • Members who are from different households should observe social distancing at all times and not gather outdoors (e.g. on the Hard or in the car park) in groups of more than 6
  • The Club House remains closed and members should not enter it.
  • The Engine Store and Sail Store may be accessed, but only by one member at a time.
  • Members should bring hand sanitiser with them and use it before and after touching gates, locks, doors, taps, etc. and before and after entering the Engine Store or Sail Store.
  • Even though it is natural to assist others with the launching and recovery of boats members should avoid touching boats and trolleys owned by other households.
  • We urge all members to adhere to both the letter and spirit of the Government's Covid-19 guidance and to support each other in doing this. To make this easier we are improving Covid-19 signage at the Club.

The Covid Subgroup will continue to work on detailed plans for:

  • enabling rental of club dinghies,
  • resuming some form of Club racing,
  • offering some re-designed adult and junior training events

Alice McMillan, our Treasurer, is developing proposals for reduced subscriptions and/or fees in 2021 to reflect the impact on members of our reduced 2020 offering.

Tash Price, our Social Secretary, is re-thinking other parts of our programme so we can run events while still remaining inside the guidelines.

Please look out for our Newsletters for updates on all this.

Our reasons for reaching this decision

At the meeting the Committee noted:

  • WWSC is the largest social club in our village and has a responsibility to this community which comprises a high proportion of older people who are more at risk, including many who are our members.
  • We have been warned we are at a "dangerous moment" in the country's journey through the pandemic as a number of restrictions are being eased simultaneously at a time when the estimated number of daily infections remains high and with the important "Test & Trace" system as yet unproven. Among these relaxations is the reopening of WW Estate's car park which has led to a much larger influx of people into our village.
  • There are signs all around us that these changes have tended to lead to less stringent compliance with the revised restrictions that remain, perhaps because people wrongly believe the relaxations mean the danger has passed.
  • However much we love it, extending recreational sailing from the Creek is not as important a priority as, for example, reopening schools and other essential services, and enabling those businesses threatened by Covid to trade again.
  • The response to the Club's recent questionnaire showed no widespread demand for us to make further changes with some members asking us not to act too quickly. This echoes RYA advice, which is for Clubs to move slowly and cautiously, carefully reviewing the impact of changes as they proceed.
  • Finally, the Committee felt that, while the idea of "supported private sailing" was attractive in theory, managing it safely in practice would be much more difficult, with the risks of introducing it too great at present.

It will be at least 2-3 weeks before the impact of the recent relaxations on both national and local rates of infection is known. We concluded, therefore, that it would be prudent for WWSC to wait until at least the end of June before making any further changes.

I appreciate this may be disappointing for some but hope this message explains how carefully we have considered the issues. So:

  • Stay safe everyone
  • Keep observing the restrictions so we all play our part in preventing transmission of the virus
  • And then, hopefully, we will be able to make further changes next month.

Ivan Western, Commodore

Impact on 2020 Membership applications (2 June 2020)

Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Club's planned programme of activities the Club has reluctantly decided that it needs to put all further applications for Family Membership on hold until next season. For more info click here.

Update 3 (13 May 2020)

Coronavirus: Advice to members following revised Government statements on restrictions

Your Committee has reviewed carefully the latest advice issued by the UK Government and, in particular, the guidance on what you can now do when leaving your home to exercise and spend time outdoors for recreation (see here). We have also taken into account statements issued in the last few days by the RYA and the Chichester Harbour Conservancy.

A common message running through all this material is the need for everyone to act cautiously given the risk that hasty action to relax restrictions could contribute to a second peak of infections on a scale which could overwhelm the NHS. Our decisions below have been guided by this concern.

The Government guidance includes the following:

All forms of water sports practised on open waterways including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed.

It adds:

There are no restrictions on how far you can travel to get to the countryside. However, you cannot visit and stay overnight at a holiday home or second home. To stay safe, you must take hygiene precautions when you are outside, and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors and keep at least two metres apart from anyone outside your household at all times.

The Conservancy has today confirmed "Chichester Harbour is open for recreational boating as described above" [i.e. in the Government statement] and says they "welcome a return to some form of normality for harbour users". The RYA is encouraging Clubs to take steps to facilitate a resumption of sailing but to plan carefully and proceed cautiously.

Advice to Members

We have therefore concluded that as a first step:

  1. It is now reasonable for WWSC members to use their boats on a private basis and at their own risk subject to this being possible without contravening any of the current Covid-19 secure restrictions issued by Government (see below for further guidance).
  2. As part of this, members holding the required plaques may from now on place their boats on the Club chains or in the car park (see below). [NB Your membership packs included an explanation of the new plaque arrangements or look here.]
  3. The Club Hut will remain out of bounds and should not be entered by members.
  4. Members may use the car park and access the lean-to and engine store but must bring and use hand sanitiser before and after touching the locks/gates/doors. We will aim to leave pedestrian gates open so those on foot or bicycle need not touch them.
  5. We feel it is still too early for the Club to resume racing, training or face-to-face shore-based social activities all of which are cancelled until further notice. Similarly we will not yet be making Club dinghies available for renting. We will keep all this under review as the situation develops.

Further Guidance

  1. We ask members to consider the following before bringing a boat to the Creek or using it there:
    • Can I do this by travelling directly between my primary residence and the Creek without interacting with any people outside my own household or entering any buildings? (WWSC does not wish to encourage members to do anything that could increase the risk of transmission between different households or communities. NB there remains a prohibition on travel to visit second homes.)
    • Am I or anyone in my household showing coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating? If so, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.
    • Can I maintain social distancing of at least 2m from anyone who is not in my own household throughout my boating activity?
    • Can I do it without needing to enter the Club Hut?
    • Have I brought with me the required hand sanitiser? (The Club will provide some outside the Hut but you should not rely on this.)
  2. To avoid any potential overcrowding, there will this year be no fixed time from which you may take your boat down. Instead we are asking members to use common sense and, if necessary, wait inside their car until there is sufficient space to unload and rig their boats. Our new plaque arrangements guarantee there will be enough spaces on the chains and in the car park for every boat with a plaque, so there is no need for anyone to rush.
  3. Many members will not be able to take boats down to the Creek due to the current restrictions or may not wish to. We are therefore asking those who do place their boat(s) on the chains to try so far as possible to use the same location(s) as last year. Please don't use this as an opportunity to "pinch" someone else's favourite spot on the chains!
  4. Finally, we do not want any WWSC member to risk a situation that could lead to someone else having to come to their assistance. There will be no Club Safety Boats. This means that anyone venturing out should be absolutely confident the conditions are appropriate to their abilities and that their boat is in seaworthy condition. If you are in any doubt about this, you should NOT use your boat.

A Final Reminder

If you choose to take your boat down and/or use a boat from the Creek it is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that you are acting in accordance with the letter and the spirit of the current Coronavirus restrictions. As always, it is you that is responsible for the safety of anyone sailing your boat or who is a Third Party affected by its use.

I am sure we all appreciate the need to do everything we can to comply with all the restrictions so as to play our part in protecting the NHS and other caring services, thereby saving lives and supporting our communities.

Thank you and keep safe,

Ivan Western, Commodore

Update 2 (20 April 2020)

No recreational boating, Club closed, all events until at least mid-May are cancelled

Following the Government's decision to extend the lockdown restrictions by at least 3 weeks (i.e. until at least May 7), the Club has decided to cancel all originally programmed events until mid-May. Those who kindly volunteered for duties at these events may stand down. All other advice from the Club on coronavirus remains in place (see below).

We are running some special online events to enable members to maintain contact until we can all meet in person again. These events include the Commodore's "Lockdown Quiz" (see here) and Tom Walker's Virtual WWSC Regatta (see here). News on all these special events will be issued in Club Newsletters.

On Friday March 27 the Harbour Conservancy issued a Notice containing the message that "Recreational boating is contrary to this [the latest Government Coronavirus] advice and has the potential to place extra strain on emergency services", see here.

Please would all members now comply with this.

With no recreational boating activities permitted, there is now no reason for any member to access the Club premises or take their boat down to the Hard or to the Club car park. Until further notice therefore all our facilities should be regarded as "closed" and "Boats Down" day will be re-scheduled once the coronavirus restrictions are relaxed.

I am sure we all appreciate the need to do everything we can to comply with all the restrictions so as to play our part in protecting the NHS and other caring services, thereby saving lives and supporting our communities.

Thank you and keep safe,

Ivan Western, Commodore

Update 1 26 March

We have reviewed the messages I sent out to all WWSC members last Monday morning (see below) in the light of the tighter Coronavirus rules set out by the Prime Minister in his broadcast later that evening which in effect amounted to a lock down for those of us who are not engaged in essential work.

The Government has now ordered that none of us should leave our homes, other than to work, buy essential supplies or to take exercise once each day. Some members who live in the vicinity of the Club and whose boats are kept so close to the water that they may be wheeled down (or perhaps are already down) may determine that they can take that exercise by sailing their boats.

The Club has no view on this. However, I do urge members to respect the letter and spirit of the Government's announcement in relation to taking exercise, so that if they do choose to use their boats, they do so in a manner which complies with the Government's requirements only to take exercise with those in the same household and at all times keeping at least two meters apart from all others. I would also like to re-emphasise my previous message that members should avoid entering the Club Hut so far as possible and, if they do, assume it could be contaminated.

Hopefully, by complying with these restrictions, we will before too long all be able once again to enjoy the delights of sailing together.

Original 23 March Message

After consultation with Flag Officers, the Commodore issued the following message today (23/3/2020):

It will be no surprise to members that the Club will not be running social events or organised sailing activities for the foreseeable future. Clearly we want to do everything we can to support the national effort to resist the spread of the Coronavirus which inevitably means enforcing social distancing, cancelling group activities and discouraging all but essential travel.

I am sure that all of our members will understand and support this approach. We will obviously update members as events unfold but for the mean time please see the notes below which set out the approach the Club is taking.

Junior & Training Programme

We will not be opening booking for our Club Junior Programme or for any other training events for the time being. We will provide ample notice to everyone as and when this changes.

Club Racing and Social Programme

All events scheduled for April are cancelled as of today and those who have volunteered for duties may stand down. It currently seems unlikely that we will be able to resume our programme for some time beyond this but will keep you advised.

Private Sailing

We recognise that some members may wish to sail privately over the next few weeks. Our advice to members is "Please only do this if it is consistent with the coronavirus restrictions".

Sailing is not an essential activity, so, under current guidance on social-distancing, non-permanent residents of West Wittering should not travel to the village purely to sail. To do so increases the risk of the virus being spread between different communities.

Taking Your Boat to the Beach/Car Park

In line with the above, members based in West Wittering are free to take their boats down as scheduled next weekend but they should follow social distancing guidance. Please note that because of the new system we have introduced, there is no need to rush to secure yourself a slot on the beach or in the Car Park. We have taken great care only to issue the same number of plaques as there are spaces on the Hard and in the Car Park. So you if the restrictions on travel mean you are not able to come to West Wittering for the time being or if you will not be sailing for some time, don't worry, you will not lose your boat place (assuming you have purchased a plaque).

Use of Club Hut

We recommend members avoid using the Club Hut other than for storing of sails, oars and engines. We don't employ a regular cleaner so those using the Club Hut should assume it could be contaminated and take the appropriate precautions (wash hands) if they use its facilities. Members should not leave their waste in the Hut but take it home.

Last updated 20:54 on 6 August 2020

© 2020 West Wittering Sailing Club powered by Sailing Club Manager