Recognizing the pandemic ripple effect

Published on June 20th, 2021

Rusty skills is the ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic as shared in this report by Manfred Schreiber:

Oh dear, it is not easy after such a long time without racing, even during casual beer can racing. We had two accidents last Wednesday and I am still suffering from feeling bad about a near incident the week before.

For my incident, I did hear the call for room approaching the downwind mark but was so concentrated on a boat close in front but sailing on port myself. Suddenly I heard the voice, “Or is this rule not meant to be for you?” Autsch! My bad.

I wanted to apologize and hand over a bottle of champagne from my cooler this past Wednesday, but our sailing friend did not show up and now I am still carrying along the bad feelings. Hope to meet him soon.

But this past Wednesday we had two other different collisions during the racing.

The first was a classic “room for water“ situation, when the shoreside boat luffed up head to wind but did not make clear that they wanted to tack because of their draft and the windward boat sailing on starboard did not realize this. Both collided with mast heads banging, stanchions bent, and small holes in both boats.

When both skippers called me for advice independently on the situation, I recommended they get together in a friendly atmosphere, with the shore side boat bringing beverages and apologizing for not giving signals. I advised to give clear hand and voice signals, and how raising the voice is not shouting but rather what is necessary to be heard.

The other collision had been a bit more dramatic as one competitor tangled up in the anchor line with the starting vessel, which was a sailing yacht from a friendly club member which was doing this job as a great favor to us all. The masts tangled and there had been some damage.

Hopefully it does not put off the sailors and friends from all four boats as otherwise we would just shrink the fleet dramatically just for one windy Wednesday night beer can race.

Remember, this is just a beer can race and not everybody is “up to speed” after such a long absence from the scene. To help, the advanced sailors or so called pros should take three steps back from their usual “being aggressive” using their rules knowledge.

Be friendly, keep a beer or champagne and an apology in mind if something happens and try to be clear in your friendly signals and rules knowledge. It is just fun racing and we all need a bit of distraction from the daily stress.

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