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08/05/2020

IHCA President May 2020

When will postponement come down?

Currently COVID-19 has put sailboat regattas on hold around the world but many parts of the world are starting to reopen in phases. Financial uncertainty for individuals, sponsors and event hosts is a fact of life right now and many sailing events are being cancelled right now due to financial uncertainty. Some of our bigger championships are being rescheduled for 2021.

How long will this go on? No one knows but eventually we will be able to return to sailing and sailing events, however it’s very likely that it won’t be like it was, at least for a while. I find myself on a committee of one-design class leaders discussing this very subject. World sailing, some of the national authorities and even our insurance company is publishing recommendations as to how we safely get back to sailing. The situation is rapidly evolving but the IHCA will strive to provide up to date to recommendations on our web site. Specific guidance and rules will vary in different parts of the world and we absolutely advise you to follow the guidance and rules established by your local authorities.

As we go through these phased reopening cycles, the most likely scenario is that local sailing in small groups with social distancing will be the first thing to restart. Luckily for us, social distancing will be easier to execute on small boats like Hobie Cat’s than on Farr 52.

On the positive side, there is an opportunity here for all of us to focus on growing our local sailing and growing the local fleet. Some of us put a lot of energy into traveling to events but what if we took that energy and focused it into building our local fleets? The smaller local events will allow us to control social distancing and health restrictions imposed by local governments. This is the perfect opportunity for all of us to grow our local fleet sailing. Also to encourage some of the social sailors who don’t race to see the enjoyment we all love every week end.

Some of you know, I am a scientist and have a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. While my area of expertise is more in genetics than epidemiology, I can offer some comments on the COVID-19 situation.

Here in the US, Tony Fauci is one of our experts in infectious diseases and his no non-sense style is refreshing. His office is about a five-minute walk from mine and he is an absolute expert in this stuff. You can take his advice to the bank.

This virus is expected to create waves of disease and this will happen at different times at different places around the world. No-one knows exactly how long this will go on but we have lived through pandemics before and we will get through this one.

Use good common sense and follow the advice of your local authorities. We will get through this.

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