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Adapting to the outbreak Down Under

Published on March 19th, 2020

As the coronavirus outbreak hits the Northern Hemisphere, changes to the upcoming race calendar have been coming in waves, with uncertainty as to what will remain.

But the Southern Hemisphere incurred the approach of the virus while in the thick of their racing schedule, which has allowed for more gradual adjustments to their sailing activity.

How is the situation being managed down under? Here’s an update from Australian Sailing, the governing body for the sport of sailing in Australia:

Australian Sailing is aware that many of our affiliated clubs and class associations are facing significant challenges in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Social distancing is being practiced by the population on the advice of the Federal Government, which along with restrictions on group gatherings means many Clubs will have their daily business and sailing operations impacted.

We have been monitoring the situation closely and intend to provide Clubs and Classes with guidance on some of the considerations to assist you on how to make the best decisions in these trying times.

First and foremost, we strongly recommend that your actions are consistent with the advice being given by State and Federal Governments.

Secondly, we are aware that every club will have its own set of circumstances to address, whether it is to continue club racing, hold a regatta or keep canteens, restaurants or bars open.

Clubs and Classes that are racing single handed dinghies may also be acting differently to clubs with larger crews on keelboats. The age profile of volunteers and their availability is also an important consideration.

Whilst the advice regarding the situation will change regularly, at this point in time Clubs and Classes can continue to operate within the guidelines as set out by State and Federal Governments. Our sport is one which can be enjoyed at safe social distances following consideration of on-water and off-water issues for each Club and Class.

The Federal Government recently released COVID-19 guidelines for community sport to combat the spread of COVID-19 (click here). We recommend you review the page and consider how to best implement the recommendations for your Club. Full report.

Editor’s note: As North America warms up, and with consideration to the status of the outbreak, boats can get on the water using permanent marks and rabbit starts. Old school returns!

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