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COVID-19 at Seafarers

The Coronavirus Pandemic


The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic significantly affected life in the UK, and life at Seafarers, for two years from March 2020. When the UK went into its first "Lockdown" (a new term back then), the Committee took appropriate action. The programme was put on hold and access to the compound and clubhouse restricted. To help maintain a community spirit amongst the membership, especially during the first few months of Lockdown I, a number of online activities were set up. These included "Virtual Regatta", virtual coffee mornings, and a webinar. A number of quizzes and competitions were offered via the website - see During Lockdown (SOCIAL) within the COVID-19 Archive. Committee meetings, coffee mornings and the AGM used video conferencing; members became quite experienced at using "Zoom" and "Teams". Cautiously, progressively and always in step with Government and RYA guidance, the Club reopened, and re-entered Lockdown, and reopened again, with members being kept informed at every stage.

The highlights have been:

  • 16/17 May Maintenance Opportunity members could book a slot to access the compound to check their boats and undertake routine maintenance.
  • 21-25 May Recreational Sailing Weekend a trial to allow members to undertake sailing by booking a half day slot with some supervision, the tractor available and only 6 boats at any one time.
  • 26 May Recreational Sailing - the get back to sailing weekend went well with some 25 boats getting afloat. This gave confidence to regularise this as follows:
    • Weekdays members had access to the compound for independent sailing without a patrol boat, tractor or supervision.
    • Weekends - four half-day sailing sessions available with a supervisor on site, the tractor available and the downstairs toilet open. Booking required to limit maximum of 10 boats per session.
  • 8 June Cruising Opportunities - at weekends an option was added to the bookings available to allow whole day slots, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, to undertake limited cruising.
  • 12 June Webinar this allowed the Commodore to update members, to listen to their thoughts and answer their questions. A video of the event is available from the COVID-19 Archive.
  • 20 June Patrol Boat and Club Boats - following trials, a Club Fusion and two Club Hartleys and, subject to volunteer crews, a patrol boat were made available for the weekend sailing opportunities. The SOP for Club boats and patrol boats stipulated a full wash down with detergent before and after use.
  • 4 July Booking Ended/Tuesday Added/Bar Opens the need for booking was lifted and all Club boats became available. The tractor and patrol boats would be available, subject to volunteers, on Tuesday evenings, Saturday mornings and afternoons, and Sunday mornings. The bar would open, initially on Saturday afternoon's after sailing, and subject to a number of constraints including 1-in-1 out, plastic glasses, and payment by contactless cards. Fun races were encouraged that minimised the need for race officials. The race tower was not available.

  • 25 July Return to Duty Survey/Mixed Household Crewing a survey was underway to establish which members would be available to carry out duties from the end of August. Meanwhile, the "Breakout Series" of races, to be run by volunteers, was added to the programme.
  • The RYA had advised that crewing of double-handed boats by members from different households could be be acceptable if, having undertaken their own risk assessments, members felt they could implement sufficient mitigations. The Committee's advice was that members should not take this decision lightly and would recommend against.
  • 8/9 August Training Four trainees successfully completed the RYA Advanced Course "Better Sailing".
  • 29 August Formal Racing a formal racing programme commenced supported by a duty crew roster. This continued through September and October although about one third of the races scheduled were cancelled due to high winds.
  • 5 November Lockdown II the Club had to shut down again although members were permitted to enter the compound to carry out essential checks and maintenance on their boats. Virtual racing was revived.
  • 10 November AGM - the Club's first ever virtual AGM.
  • 2 December Lockdown II to Tier 2 sailing and maintenance permitted but the bar remained closed. Ad Hoc racing was organised by volunteers.
  • 15 December Virtual Prize Giving ceremony involving prize winners, Commodore and Racing Secretary shared with members as a recording shortly afterwards.
  • 16 December Webinar - guest speaker Susie Moore, RYA's Regional Development Officer for the south region.
  • 20 December Gosport to Tier 4 members living in Gosport (which includes Lee-on-the-Solent) not permitted to leave their 'area' unless for work, education or other specific exemptions. They could, therefore, not visit the Club.
  • 26 December Hampshire to Tier 4 this put the Club and virtually all members within a Tier 4 area. The compound could open and the slipway could be used to facilitate individual exercise although with only one person from another household. The Club was not permitted to run events, organise activities or open up the clubhouse except for the toilet facilities. Routine maintenance and gatherings on the Club premises were not permitted. Sadly, the New Year's Day race had to be cancelled. However, a VR New Year's Day Regatta was arranged instead.
  • 6 January Lockdown III - the Club had to shut down once more although members were permitted to enter the compound where this was absolutely essential checks. Virtual racing was revived again.
  • March - transition from Lockdown III with pre-season briefings by webinar
  • April - Sailing programme commences with first fun race. Bar opens 12 April for serving drinks outside to seated members (table service). Rule of 6/2-households applies ashore; first duty crew scheduled 24 April
  • From 19 July - the (hopefully!) "final" phase as follows:
    • Sailing permitted with no restrictions on numbers.
    • Club boats may be used. Please wash down on completion of use as you would for your own boat
    • Lounge and galley will open with no requirement to serve drinks at the tables
    • Face coverings need not be worn inside the clubhouse. No rule of 6
    • Payment in cash will now be accepted, although cards are preferred
    • The galley may be used, although the hot water, coffee, tea and biscuit facility outside will continue and is the preferred option.
    • Mixed household sailing permitted with social distancing a consideration/personal choice.
    • RYA training courses are permitted.
    • Changing rooms are open.
    • Daily Risk Assessments will continue to be conducted for all events (not specific to Covid).
    • The Club has its own NHS QR Code and it is recommended that this should be used by all members whenever they use the club premises.
    • For those not using the App, names may be entered in the 'attendance book' provided.
  • December - the appearance of the coronavirus Omicron variant caused a fresh wave of infections which led to the postponement of the Christmas Draw and the cancellation of Coffee Morning and the New Year's Eve party.
  • The New Year's Day race went ahead.
  • During January and February, attendees at events such as a Tuesday Talk and the Commodore's Pre-season Briefing were encouraged to carry out lateral flow tests in advance.
  • It was not until March 2022 that the Committee decided that lateral flow testing was no longer necessary and that all reference to Covid-19 could be removed from the SOPs
  • The postponed Christmas Draw was held on 26 March which was the same day as the Vice Commodore's briefing and the Shakedown race.

Plans and Risk Assessments

Club activities throughout the period were covered by a full suite of risk assessments. A revised plan and risk assessment was issued for each phase. These risk assessments and plans are available from the COVID-19 Archive (menu button to right; smartphone users select More).

SOP Covid-19 Supplements

Many standard operations covered by the SSC SOPs had to be amended during the pandemic. These amendments were, for the most part, published as Annexes to the appropriate section or sub-section of the SOPs. These were finally removed in March 2022.

The full collection is available from the side menu - "SOP COVID-19 Supplements" is available from the COVID-19 Archive.

  • Membership Information (SOP 2.2)
  • OOD/Shore Coordinators (SOP 6.1 Annex 1)
  • PB Crews (SOP 6.2 Annex 1)
  • Tractor Drivers (SOP 6.3 Annex 1)
  • Beach Crew (SOP 6.4 Annex 1)
  • Sailing Instructions (SOP 7.7)
  • Use of Family/Disabled Toilet (SOP 12.18)
  • Use of Club Boats (SOP 16.5 Annex 1)
  • Use of the Bar (SOP 18 Annex 1)

Covid-19 Emails

A total of 32 pandemic-related emails were sent, the majority from the Commodore. These may be accessed from the COVID-19 Archive.

Last updated 15:02 on 9 April 2024

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