How has COVID-19 affected the Sailing Industry. What events have already been cancelled?

With the COVID-19 Lockdown still in place in many countries around the world and the exit strategy still being planned by most Governments I have taken a look at what the impact has already been on the Sailing Industry.

What sailing events have already been cancelled due to COVID-19?

Clipper Round the World Race – One of the earliest large scale impacts on the sailing calendar was made by Clipper Race Ventures when they announced the postponement of the remaining 3 legs of the 19/20 race. The fleet arrived in Subic Bay, Philippines on 15 March 2020 where the Island of Luzon was in ‘enhanced community quarantine’. Clipper Ventures did a fantastic logistical job arranging travel home for all its crews and skippers by the 20 March 2020. Clipper have since announced they are hopeful the 19/20 race will recommence in February 2021. This difficult but necessary decision will of course impact the following race schedule with the next race now rescheduled for the summer of 2020.

Royal Yachting Association (RYA) – The RYA have also made the difficult decision to postpone all its directly organised events and training until at least the 31 May 2020. They continue to issue guidance both for recreational boating both in the UK and further afield, as well as guidance to all their recognised training centres across the world. Almost all RYA recognised training centres have now ceased all water based and face to face training with only the online training able to continue.

Round the Island Race – On 20 March 2020 the organisers of the well attended RTIR (a race for all round the Isle of Wight) announced that due to the current situation surrounding COVID-19 the decision was made to reschedule this years race from 30 May 2020 to 26 September 2020.

Americas Cup – On 24 March 2020 the Americas Cup made the difficult decision to cancel the event scheduled for Portsmouth, UK which was due to take place from the 4-7 June 2020. In a statement on the ACWS website the organisers have put the health and well being of the participants and public first and explained how it would be irresponsible for them to continue with this event, also given the large scale international travel logistics required for such a prestigious event. This came just days after the organisers had also announced the cancellation of the ACWS Sardegna which was scheduled for the end of April this year.

Smaller Boat Shows & Festivals – As the days go by and there is no sign of lock down or social distancing easing any time soon we are seeing more and more of the smaller boat shows and marine festivals cancelled, a bit hit to smaller organisations and communities. Poole has announced the cancellation of its boat show this year usually held in mid June along with many other clubs and organisations having to cancel and postpone events. The impact of these will certainly be felt for some time with a huge amount of smaller shows, regattas and club organised events taking the hit on this pandemic.

There is still some good news…

Vendee Globe – At the time of writing this, all looks good for the Vendee Globe Race to set off as planned from Les Sables d’Olonne on 08 November 2020. Although we may see a slightly different race village set up (or a more virtual set up) should social distancing still be in place. It goes without saying that a 28,000 mile single handed round the world race is probably taking social distancing to the extreme!

Southampton Boat Show – Although currently in the UK large gatherings are not permitted in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the organisers of the Southampton Boat Show held in September are hopeful the show will go ahead as planned. With still 6 months to go until this event lets hope we will be able to attend this world renowned international boat show to finally catch up with the industry and meet industry colleagues and friends alike for a well needed catch up over a beer!

Cowes Week – Again at the time of writing there is no news about any cancellation of postponement of the Cowes Week Regatta scheduled for 8-15 August 2020. Although it may be too early to tell, lets hope this event goes ahead of planned to give us all something to look forward too in our sailing calendars!

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