Commodore's Update - RAYC Activity in the Covid 19 Era
Published 13:33 on 14 Aug 2020
Mixed Crew Sailing. The RYA has now released its guidance and risk assessment which enables sailing with crew from multiple different households as long as the risk is properly understood and managed. For the Club this means that. within certain parameters, we can look to conduct mixed crew chartering and Adventurous Training on our yachts. But be clear this is not a return to the old normal, and there are several factors for consideration to remain compliant with advice (and the law), conduct activity safely, and protect the Club's reputation. I have all approvals in-place now to run a test-case mixed crew Army AT exercise, with appropriate mitigation, aboard St B in early September from which our Lessons Identified will feed both the Club's and the Army's approach to future expeditions. You can expect to see more once the proof of concept is complete, but here is an outline of the approach which will see St Barbara deploy with a crew of soldiers all from different households:
(1) An enhanced standing Risk Assessment will be held aboard both yachts detailing the additional measures required to mitigate against Covid 19 transmission, and actions-on in the event of a case during a charter. There will be a non-negotiable condition that, if a crew member is suspected of having Covid 19, all other crew will be immediately required to comply fully with NHS notification and testing, and the subsequent self-isolation period.
(2) Enhanced physical measures will be in-place aboard both yachts, fully compliant with the specific RYA guidance. Expect maximum overnight occupancy aboard to be five personnel from different households for St Barbara V and four for Bombardier III: this is but one measure to achieve necessary separation down below. If any two crew members are from the same household then the total overnight number can increase to a maximum of six aboard either yacht.
(3) Skippers are wholly liable for the management of crew and risk and must be compliant with the Club's risk reduction measures, on top of any local measures in-place at the time of charter. The reputation of the Club here must be beyond reproach: charterers will be flying under the blue ensign and the Club's name and one wrong photograph of an MOD/RAYC voyage being complacent by having a large, non-distanced social crowd aboard in a harbour, for example, will quickly erode internal and external trust in us. The skipper is responsible in all respects for their crew's compliance.
In short, allow us to run our proof of concept prior to the Regatta (I will then bring the same crew to the Regatta, plus additional day-sailing crew but not exceeding five total onboard overnight), and to make any adjustments to the risk mitigation measures, but expect both yachts to be available to mixed-household sailing from 6 Sep 20. The Exec Cttee will also shortly be scoping what courses we can reconvene and when in order ensure a healthy qualification base for our ambitious plans next year. I would also encourage Unit Sailing Officers to look for windows now for high-reward AT aboard our yachts: the JSATFA process is a simple one, ATG(A) are stood-by to fund, and we will happily assist you in your planning.
Offshore Regatta. Plans are progressing and entries are strong for the main event in the Club's calendar so thank you for the support thus far. We are still working through some of the detail, and you do not need me to remind you that the exact format could change right up to the day should local regulations change - we remain flexible. In an echo of the point above on reputation I must urge you to consider your due Covid diligence at all times during the weekend, and particularly in harbour and at the social event. We simply cannot afford negative press by mass social gatherings in cockpits, or by disregarding the rules and regulations at RSYC. If there were a coincidental rise in cases in Yarmouth that weekend local - and wider - sentiment would quickly round on us had we turned up and behaved irresponsibly and in disregard and disrespect for safety, our members, the local community, and RSYC.
With thanks, and as ever I am happy to field any questions direct.
Colonel Chris Gent