Restarting racing during The Pandemic

Published on June 7th, 2020

The first positive COVID-19 test in the USA was collected from Washington state, and while the rest of the country is slowly releasing the health restrictions intended to limit the disease spread, Washington is in no hurry to do the same. David Miller reports from Seattle:


I’m going to depart from the normal fun of writing about One Life to address how to go about restarting sailboat racing in the middle of The Pandemic. Those of you who also read Scuttlebutt Sailing News know my general view on the subject: Racing is not an essential activity as we’ve come to understand the term in the context of The Pandemic.

There is informal “household” racing going on in the Puget Sound area currently, but we (Kris, my crew, and I) have decided we’ll wait for the go-ahead from local authorities before we start racing. I’m excited to discuss it appears we may have the go-ahead shortly.

Here is some context for friends reading this from outside our area… In Washington State, the early surge of COVID-19 cases has primarily been confined to the three most populous counties in western Washington, plus Yakima county in eastern Washington (likely due to high infection rates amongst the farmworkers working hard to put food in our grocery stores and a high number of infections in long-term care facilities).

We were among the first areas in the USA to see COVID-19 and among the first to shut down, which saved our area from the kinds of hospital and morgue scenes seen overseas and on the U.S. east coast.

As with most areas, we have a “staging” system to reopen. A few weeks back, our Governor allowed counties to apply to move to new stages. All of the counties across the water from Seattle have moved to a later stage. Yesterday, Martin Luther King County (where Seattle is located) applied for a “modified” stage 2 reopen — which is why this blog post exists.

Before I get to parsing the new rules for MLK County, I want to set out what I think are necessary baselines for any organized racing during The Pandemic. As a note to those who do not know me, while I am neither an MD nor a PhD, I have 20 years of experience as an analyst in the biotechnology and healthcare industries. I’ve authored and secured passage of multiple pieces of legislation at the state and city level. This subject matter, therefore, is one I am very familiar with. – Full report

Comment: As I’ve said before, if government permits boating, than organized events need to occur within the guidelines. The season is on, sailors want to sail, but events must be modified to adapt to the health restrictions in place. This will likely impact who can participate, but it also is allowing for unique formats to be explored. I’ve done two well-organized fixed mark, doublehanded, non-spin races with my wife in our 28-footer, and the last time we had done that was a lifetime ago in a Snipe. Love not hiking and having a real lunch… good times! – Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

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