COVID-19: Sailing is all over the map
Published on July 22nd, 2020
by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
With regard to managing the spread of COVID-19, we are truly all over the map. While social distancing remains a consistent standard, some regions proceed with racing regardless. Even overnight races, but then sailors come ashore and strap on masks. Hmm…
As a sport, we make about as much sense as California which bans indoor dining, gyms, and haircuts but permits these services outdoors. Next time I see the governor, I will be standing upwind of his logic.
As schools need improvement before they uniformly allow in-class education, I struggle with the various activity in our sport. The Marblehead NOOD (Aug. 7-9) gets cancelled but the Annapolis NOOD (Aug. 28-30) stays on schedule? Perhaps it’s because some areas are more “cured” than others, but this virus travels the world, so is any region truly cured?
Or is it just that living in California, which has the highest total cases in the USA, make me more paranoid to the situation? Maybe Canada, which prohibits non-discretionary travel into the country, is paranoid too. Heck, they won’t even let their Major League Baseball team in the country.
Yes, it is a bummer to see event after event cancelled, but what now becomes more interesting to me is how far out these events are getting cancelled, and how different countries handle it. Case in point is Australia, which was tantalizingly close to eliminating the coronavirus, but is now seeing a surge in new cases.
Australian Sailing, the governing body for the sport of sailing in Australia, has announced that the 2021 Australian Yachting Championships, scheduled to be held in January 2021, is now postponed. That’s a big call six months out!
Several factors were considered when postponing the regatta from its usual January timeslot, one of which was the impact on entries created by the uncertainty of interstate travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a country 27% smaller than the USA, it reflects how they seek to manage the movement of the virus within their borders.
Early on, when San Diego closed its harbor to all recreational boating, I believe it had as much to do with optics as safety, as with the beaches and parks closed, letting boaters get away from the crowds wasn’t fair. Now that businesses can operate outdoors, recreational boating is still limited to same household occupants. Go figure!
UPDATE: There’s been a lot of regattas cancelled out of the abundance of caution, but we believe the 60th Annual Little Traverse Yacht Club “Ugotta Regatta” is the first to have been cancelled due to a positive COVID-19 test. For details, click here.