Preparing for the old normal

Published on March 19th, 2020

by Buttons Padin
Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck hit the nail on the head in his report, Let’s not stop living. He’s right.

Yes, everyone’s life is being turned upside down by this virus, but we’ll get through it. It won’t be next week or perhaps even next month, but when we do conquer COVID-19, we’re going to want to get back to the “old normal” with lightning speed.

I personally see the impact this new normal is having on all levels: I do the advertising for a sailmaker and a yacht broker, I run three one-design classes, I do the publishing for a major yacht club, am the co-chair of the Robie Pierce Regatta for sailors with disabilities, and, oh yea, I am also an avid sailboat racer.

Add to that I live in New Rochelle, NY, just three blocks outside the “Containment Zone.”

Every one of these touch points is being effected and, as we look for the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, I have the following recommendations for sailors, yacht clubs, and the marine industry that will make the transition from the new to the old normal smoother:

1. Event organizers – Keep planning your regattas and events. If you wait until it’s all clear to create your plan and open registration, you’ll never pull it off. Get going now! Perhaps you don’t go out-of-pocket with spending right now and you don’t have to collect entry fees yet; but create your plan, get registrations, know who on your committee will do what, and set a target go/no-go date to inform competitors of your final intentions.

2. Sailors – Keep signing up for regattas. Even if you opt not to pay the entry fee yet, let the organizers know you intend to participate should the regatta be held. They need to know how many sailors and boats to plan for. Get your crew, housing, and equipment inline now so you don’t have to scramble at the last minute.

3. Boat owners #1– If you’ve planned on getting new sails or having your old sails serviced, you can still make that happen. You can decide with sail lofts to drop off sails with no personal contact. And, as some sail manufacturing facilities are still operating, have your sailmaker go to your boat solo (ah, social distancing) to measure for new sails. Then, when you’re ready to go back on the water, you’ll have your new sails ready to go. Big smile! If your local loft isn’t “open,” you can still deal with your sailmaker by phone, email, Skype, etc.

4. Boat owners #2 – If you’re looking to buy a new boat or sell your current one, you can still work remotely with your broker. Create your own virtual tour video of the boat you’re looking to sell. Talk regularly with your broker about what you’d like to do when the coast is clear and have it all set when you’re ready to hit the water. BTW, riggers, electricians, mechanics, etc. in boat yards tend to work independently or in small, consistent clusters so they can continue to prep boats for commissioning and still operate with proper social distancing.

5. Everyone – There are a zillion sailing videos online that you can access to keep your head in the game.

Yes, let’s keep on living…and sailing. When we finally see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, let’s make sure it’s the red and green bow lights of the boat we’re about to board and sail away on.

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