Coronavirus Blog

The intention of this blog is to keep a history of announcements made by the Club, but also to provide a way of helping members to keep connected. It will be a mix of factual posts and more light-hearted items and will also include links to items that may be helpful. Click here for the FAQ (updated 24th December).

Monday 4th January 2021- New Lockdown

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement at 8pm on Monday 4th January, the club will be closed until further notice, as outdoor sports venues must close. We will continue to monitor government and RYA announcements and provide further updates if the news changes.

Thursday 25th December – GWSC will be in Tier 4

The club will be closed until Monday 28th December. When it reopens, it will be in tier 4 of Covid-19 restrictions. Please read and follow the RYA Guidance and Government Guidance for Tier 4. The changing rooms will be closed but the toilets will remain open.

Friday 18th December – Message from the Commodore

The Commodore sent the following to all members today:

Just a week to go to Christmas Day! This year has been dominated by Covid and it remains that way.

Yesterday we heard that the Club continues to be located in a Tier 2 area. However, very many of our members live in Tier 3 areas. If you live in a Tier 3 area please do not travel to the Club. Please follow the Government Guidelines.

The Government has relaxed Covid restrictions for five days, from 23rd-27th December, and the rules advise that you can travel during this time. Because many people will have been mixing during those five days, the risk of Covid transmission will be higher immediately afterwards. Because of that risk we have decided to close the Club on Sunday 27th December. Please also be aware that with the cancellation of the Grafham Grand Prix on 3rd January, we have decided that, although the Club will be open, there will be no organised Club racing on 3rd January. Racing will recommence on Sunday 10th January.

I sincerely hope that you and your families have a great Christmas. Thank you for your continuing support for the Club during this difficult year.

Stay safe,

Mike

Sunder 6th December – a Couple of Reminders

Remember in tier 2 you are not allowed to mix indoors with people from outside your household, this includes the club cafe. Before using the changing rooms please watch this three-minute video which explains how the changing rooms will operate or read this article: changing room operation.

Saturday 5th December – Changing Rooms

From Sunday 6th December we are reopening the changing rooms. There will be limited space, with room for 20 in the Gents’ and 10 in the Ladies’. We continue to ask members if they can to change at home or in their cars. Click for details of the changing room operation.

Please watch this three-minute video which will explain how the changing rooms will operate.

Wednesday 2nd December – Reopening

The club is now open again! Please observe the Government and RYA guidance concerning the tier where you live and tier 2, where the club is. Please do not visit the club if you live in a tier 3 area.

The 2020-2021 Winter Series now starts on 6th December 2020 and runs until 28th January. Click for Notice of Race and SSIs.

Saturday 7th November – letter from the Commodore

On Friday evening the Commodore sent the following email to all members:

The country entered the second Covid-19 lockdown on Thursday 5th November.

Until this afternoon (Friday 6th Nov) the Club had received conflicting advice about what this means for our activities.

We now have clarity, and it appears that

  • The Government,
  • Anglian Water Services, (our landlord)
  • Gallagher UK, (our insurance brokers), and
  • The Royal Yachting Association

are all aligned.

  1. An email received from Anglian Water at 1450 today says: “All watersports including sailing and windsurfing will not be permitted on the parks for the duration of lockdown. Sailing clubs are expected to follow RYA guideline for operations during the current lockdown period.”
  2. The RYA say: “Outdoor sports centres and amenities (which includes sailing clubs and watersports centres) will have to close.  Members may be able to access boats for essential checks and maintenance, however, this will need to be agreed with their club/marina/harbour authority, with individuals taking personal responsibility for meeting Government guidance.”  The RYA were meeting at 1300 today to see whether they needed to update their 4th November guidance, from which the statement above is taken.  When the Club sees any new information we’ll pass it on if it has any material impact.  You can check yourself at https://www.rya.org.uk/newsevents/news/Pages/new-national-restrictions.aspx
  3. The Government guidance in summary is “…from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, you must:
  • Stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  • Avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  • Close certain businesses and venues.”

The full Government guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november#national-restrictions-from-5-november

The Club is considering how members can access their boats for essential checks and maintenance as proposed by the RYA.

For the present, to book an appointment to access your boat, please email office@grafham.org with a preferred access time and agree arrangements.

If we need to clarify or add information about this second lockdown we will do so via the website at https://www.grafham.org/coronavirus-blog/ and the Club’s social media channels. There is now a new GWSC Information WhatsApp group which you can join by following this link.

Thanks,

Mike

Mike Edwards

Commodore, GWSC

10:30 Thursday 5th November

We apologise for all the conflicting announcements. The latest advice from the RYA is: Outdoor sports centres and amenities (which includes sailing clubs and watersports centres) will have to close. You can read the full RYA statement here:

This means that GWSC will remain closed for the present.  If you need urgent access to the grounds, please email the office and they will get back to you.

There is now a new GWSC Information WhatsApp group which you can join by following this link. This will provide notifications of any new announcements.

Please watch this blog and the WhatsApp group for further announcements.

Update 09:50 Thursday 5th November – we are seeking clarification of our situation with respect to the new law.

Update 08:00 Thursday 5th November – Club remains open

We received the following from Anglian Water Services yesterday evening.

I can confirm that our parks will be remaining open for access to the tracks, play parks and nature reserves and we will be providing takeaway services from our cafes.

We will be allowing fishing to continue at our parks in line with the updated Angling Trust Guidelines. Telephone only bookings for boat and bank angling will be allowed.

Sailing and windsurfing will also remain open for members and day launches only. Sailing clubs can only allow social bubbles or ‘the rule of two‘ to use the same craft and must close all associated indoor facilities.

We are encouraging all users to respect the travel restrictions in place alongside the Covid-19 lockdown and ensure that they enact as required and follow any and all necessary Covid-19 safe procedures.

You will appreciate that information and guidance on the interpretation and restrictions applied to the upcoming period of lockdown has been evolving rapidly and consequently I must caveat our stated position with a ‘subject to change’ warning.  We are committed to ensuring that we adhere to the law and the spirit of this period of lockdown in the continued pursuance of beating the current pandemic.

Thank you for continuing to respect the rules and conditions in place throughout this Covid-19 year.  

As a result of this the water will continue to be open for sailing. The toilets will be open and the cafe will be open for a take-away service during normal opening times. The rest of the clubhouse will be closed. The office can be reached by phone or email.

Before visiting the club please be sure to check the Covid-19 Operating Procedures.

16:45 Wednesday 4th November

Following the vote in Parliament this afternoon, the water will be closed tomorrow. We are still awaiting updated guidance from the RYA and Anglian Water and will notify all members as soon as this is available. Please don’t contact the office for information in the meantime as they do not have any more information at the moment.

20th October – Latest Government Guidelines and Restrictions

Do not travel to the club if you would be in breach of any relevant government regulations or guidelines.  As of 20 October this would apply to anyone who lives in an area of England with a COVID alert level of “Very High” or who lives in Wales. Full refunds will be given to any Open Meeting competitor who enters and subsequently is unable to attend the event because of this restriction only.

8th October – Closing the lake due to bad weather

Under the current restrictions we have to be more conservative on wind speed sailing restrictions. Please check the website before setting off and if in any doubt call for advice to avoid risking a wasted journey.

23rd September – Change of Cafe Operation

The table service in the cafe has been suspended due to the new Covid-19 restrictions.

23rd September – NHS Test and Trace App

From Thursday 24th September NHS Test and Trace using a QR code goes live. Please download the NHS Covid-19 App to your smart phone and use it to scan the QR displayed on posters around the site, every time you visit the club. If you can’t scan the QR code, please fill in a registration slip at the entrance to the cafe and post it in the box supplied. Slips will be held securely for 21 days and then destroyed.

17th&18th September – Track and Trace

From Friday 18th September, the club is required to keep a record of everyone who visits the site for Track and Trace purposes. We are using an RYA-recommended App that has been developed for the hospitality industry for this. Each time you visit the club, please scan the QR code displayed on posters around the site, using your phone’s camera (you may need to download a QR scanner app if your phone doesn’t already have one). This will take you to a website where you can enter your details. The information will be stored securely for 21 days and then destroyed. If you arrive with others, only one member of the group needs to do this.If you can’t scan the QR code, go to registerdetails.com/Z7c in your browser, or there is a paper signing in log at the entrance to the cafe.

13th September – ‘Rule of Six’ and other reminders

From Monday 14th September it is illegal to meet anywhere in groups of more than six people. You can read the detailed government guidance here. The changes do not impact on-water activities at the club, however they do apply to social interactions in the club grounds. If you are chatting to others, picnicking etc, please observe the rules and note that you shouldn’t move from one group of six people to another. Social distancing must still be maintained.

The following points must also be remembered:

  • Follow the one-way system in the cafe and wear a face covering unless you are sitting at a table eating or drinking. Observe the ‘Rule of Six’ and maintain social distancing at all times in the cafe.
  • If visiting the office, wear a face-covering and follow the one way system on the stairs.
  • The rest of the clubhouse, except for the toilets, remains closed.
  • When going afloat, observe the red-and-white flag and be aware that safety cover is only reactive and for life-saving actions.

8th August – A Message from Roy Harold, Club Safety Advisor

Now that we are a couple of months into re-opening under Covid-Secure requirements, it falls to me as the Club Safety Advisor to review how things are going so far. In preparing to re-open, the Club’s Emergency Management Team agreed to adhere both in letter and in spirit to Government guidance and RYA advice. Our risk assessment identified that, following a much longer than normal winter lay-up, both boats and sailors would probably not be in absolutely tip-top condition, and that we should therefore emphasise the RYA advice to carefully and fully check boats, and to sail conservatively and well within your normal limits of capability. Additionally, in order to comply with Government social distancing guidance, safety cover can currently only be reactive, and in extremis for life-saving actions only. This restriction only serves to reinforce the need to make sure both you and your vessel can comfortably cope with prevailing conditions – “if in doubt, don’t go out” might be a useful catchphrase.

So, how have things turned out since re-opening? We have had a total of 15 rescues, 13 by coxswains and 2 by volunteer safety boat crews. There is a pattern, and it’s pretty much as anticipated – shrouds parting leading to dismasting, and sailors unable to competently crew the dinghy they are in, which in several cases wasn’t the one they’d last sailed back before the world went crazy. We are also seeing people who are clearly feeling a bit frazzled by that crazy world we are all now living in, so we all perhaps need to remind ourselves that we are a sailing club, take a breath, and preserve the decorum, courtesies and old world charm that makes sailing such a fun thing to do – “be nice to each other” sounds a bit trite, but it might be our other new catchphrase.

I’ll end by wishing you all fair winds, and I hope to see you on the water just as soon as I manage to get all the cobwebs off my own dinghy!

30th July – Double-handed Sailing

The RYA has just issued detailed guidance on the possibilities for double-handed sailing.

30th July – Face-coverings in the Cafe

Government guidance now makes it mandatory to wear a face-covering if purchasing food in a take-away. This applies to the club cafe. If you are eating at a table inside, a face-covering need not be worn.

17th July – Update on the Cafe and Bar

The cafe is still operating a one-way system: enter via the door at the western side and leave by the eastern side door. The fire doors are propped open to ensure a good flow of air but please don’t walk through them. There are also socially distanced tables inside. If you want to use them, please sign in on the list by the entrance (please print your name clearly). This is so we can trace people who were inside if someone who was there becomes ill. Place your order at the window and pay using contactless. If you are sitting inside please tell Alex your table number when you order, and your order will be brought to you. On Wednesday evenings there is also a bar service in the cafe. Order from the bar person who will be in or around the cafe and your drinks will be brought to you. From Sunday 26th July we plan to extend this to Sundays after sailing too.

4th July – Double Handed Sailing Guidance Update

Please see the updated guidance in the Covid-19 Operating Procedures (in the section On The Water)

2nd July – Coaching/Youth Race Training Saturday 4th July

We regret that we have had to cancel the adult and youth coaching sessions scheduled for this weekend, due to the forecast of very strong and gusty winds. The coaches have advised that in the circumstances they don’t believe it would be safe to run the sessions. We plan to go ahead with the 11th July sessions and the office will be sending an email to everyone who had booked for 4th July soon.

30th June – Wednesday Evening Competitve Sailing

Here are the NoR and SSI for the Wednesday Evening Series.

30th June – Updated Guidance on Launching

The guidance on launching in the  Covid-19 Operating Procedures has been amended.

29th June – Strimmers

Strimmers may now be borrowed from the Coxswain. You should arrange with the coxswains and collect from the coxswain’s shed.  You will need to bring your own PPE (safety glasses, gloves and ear protectors) and will be responsible for sanitising the contact areas of the strimmer both before and after use.

27th June – Sunday Competitive Sailing

Here are the NoR and SSIs for Sunday’s racing.

26th June – Chandlery 

We are now able to offer a Chandlery service. Please email coxswains@grafham.org with your order. It will be prepared on the next Thursday and can be collected from the Coxswain’s shed any time thereafter. Please pay by card or exact money only. There is a link to the Chandlery Catalogue here.

26th June – Restarting Coaching for Club Members

We are very pleased to announce that we are planning to restart club coaching for adults and juniors with two experimental sessions, on Saturday 4th July and 11th July. See all the details here.

23rd June – Latest Opening Hours

The current club opening hours are here.

23rd June – Reminder about Safety on the Water

Safety cover continues to be very restricted. In the event of emergency, priority will be given to people over boats/equipment. Only go on the water if your sailing skills are of a standard commensurate with the red & white flag i.e. you are able to right your boat unaided and return to the shore under the prevailing weather conditions on the day. Before going afloat check your equipment to minimise the chance of breakages. You may see safety boats manoeuvering on the water. Do not assume they are providing any type of normal safety cover; it is important that safety crews train and practice to retain their skills.

23rd June – Competitive Sailing and Cafe – Wednesday Evening 24th June

There will be competitive sailing on Wednesday evening, 24th June, on a similar basis to that run on the last two Sundays. Supplementary Sailing Instructions and the Notice of Race are available.  The first start will be at 18:45. The cafe will be open from 16:00 – 19:00 for take away refreshments. Initially on offer will be hot and cold drinks, baguettes, chocolate cake, chocolate bars and bacon baps. Click for full menu and prices. Plus burger and chips!

Please note the requirement at paragraph 5 of the NoR to complete one duty via Dutyman to qualify for the series. The water will be open until 20:00 and the site will close at 20:30.

You need to enter via WebCollect, use the button just under the banner on the Club web site and sign in using your account detail. If you need to access WebCollect from a mobile device, there are three ways to open it: either scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Desktop which takes you to the normal home page, tap on News, which does the same thing, or tap on Sailing & Racing then Club Racing. You will see the WebCollect logo which you can tap to open it.

21st June – Signing on for Competitive Sailing via WebCollect

If you need to access WebCollect from a mobile device, there are three ways to open it: either scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Desktop which takes you to the normal home page, tap on News, which does the same thing, or tap on Sailing & Racing then Club Racing. You will see the WebCollect logo which you can tap to open it.

20th June – Sociable Saturday Competitive Sailing

12 members signed on for the competitive sailing organised by Ian and assisted by Richard. The start line was between an orange flag displayed on the shore and an outer distance mark which was a dan buoy with a chequered flag. Boats started in flights of 6 people, with one minute between each flight. The course was around the club ‘cans’ and two laps were sailed in each of the two races.

This was a trial for the competitive sailing to be run on Sunday 21st and Wednesday 24th and worked well. If you plan to enter any of the competitive sailing events, please sign on using WebCollect.

20th June – Competitive Sailing

Following last Sunday’s experimental time trial sailing competition, some minor changes have been made to the start/finish line and start sequence. Please read the updated Supplementary Sailing Instructions and the Notice of Race – the organisation is very different from standard club racing. You need to enter via WebCollect, use the button just under the banner on the Club web site and sign in using your account detail. The procedure was tested during Sociable Saturday on Saturday 20th June and worked well. It is planned to also run similar competitive sailing on Wednesday evening, 24th June. Supplementary Sailing Instructions and the Notice of Race are available. Please note the requirement at paragraph 5 of the NoR to complete one duty via Dutyman to qualify for the series.

20th June – Operating Procedures for the Cafe

The Café is operating a take-away service with a one-way system.

Ordering: Menus are on display on the windows. To place an order enter through the door on the West side of the Clubhouse. There is hand sanitiser available by the door.

Only one person in the café ordering at any time. Place order at the servery – stand behind line on floor. Move forward to pay when asked – card payments only. 

Or you can text your order to Lisa on 07738 401190. 

Food Collection: Follow the one-way system to the collection point. Only one person in the café collecting food at any time. Collect your order from the table. Exit through the door on the East side of the Clubhouse. There is hand sanitiser available by the door.

Eating 

Please move away from the vicinity of the Clubhouse. Respect the guidance on social distancing (2metres) and the regulations on gatherings (no more than six). Rubbish – please place in the bins. 

 Thank you: we are confident that with your co-operation we can get the service to work 

19th June –  Sunday Competitive Sailing 21st June

Following last Sunday’s experimental time trial sailing competition, some minor changes have been made to the start/finish line and start sequence. Please read the updated Supplementary Sailing Instructions and the Notice of Race – the organisation is very different from standard club racing. You need to enter via WebCollect, use the button just under the banner on the Club web site and sign in using your account detail.

19th June – Hire of Club Boats

From Saturday 20th June, members will be able to hire club boats. Initially only single-handers will be available: Toppers, Picos and Lasers, with other boats to follow. Members who normally sail a double-handed boat and are unable to do so due to social distancing measures may hire a club boat free of charge. It is essential to book in advance by phoning the office on 07943 196522.

16th June – Hire of Club Boats

We are currently preparing the club boats to allow hiring to restart. Initially this will only be the single-handers: Picos, Toppers and Lasers. There will be a further announcement soon. We plan to introduce 2000s and the Stratos at a later time.

16th June – Cafe reopening Saturday 20th June

Lisa will be reopening the cafe on Saturday 20th June from 10:30 – 14:00. This will be a take away service only, with a one-way system to place your order and then collect it. Payment will be card/contactless only. Please be sure to follow the signage and maintain social distancing and take your order outside. There will be no tables inside.

Initially on offer will be hot and cold drinks, baguettes, chocolate cake, chocolate bars and bacon baps. Click for full menu and prices.

Assuming all goes well, the cafe will also be open on Sunday from 10:00.

13th June – Safety Boat Safe Operating Training

Roy Harold has created a training video to inform safety crews about safe operation of RIBs to respond to emergency situations. You can watch it here.

13th June – Restarting Competitive Sailing

We plan to experiment with a time trial sailing competition on Sunday 14th June. The start will be at 11:00 and as used to happen on a Sunday in winter there are three races back to back. Please read the Supplementary Sailing Instructions and the Notice of Race. They are different to what you are used to.

You need to enter via WebCollect. Use the button just under the banner on the Club web site and sign in using your account detail..

There are a series of allocated starting slots with a maximum number of boats in each. Six boats if you are a single handed and three boats if you are double handed. Each group will start a one minute intervals and you will be timed around a one lap course. If you are late for your slot (or too early) you will not get a recorded lap time.

Safety is the key phrase and 2 metre separation is a must particularly at the key points of starting, launching and recovery afterwards. It may take a long time to launch so make suitable allowance.

Have a good day. Happy happy safe sailing

Ian Rawet – Chair Racing Committee

11th June – Update on the First Week’s Sailing

The Emergency Management Team has reviewed how things have gone in the first week of reopening for sailing. In general everything has gone well and we would like to thank everyone for observing the Covid-19 Operating Procedures. Here are a few tips to ensure everyone’s safety:

  • Each day during the first week we had a ‘Club Host’ onsite to help members understand the new procedures. We will be continuing this at weekends and on other occasions when organised activity restarts. The Club Host will be wearing an orange hi-viz gilet. Please speak to them if you have any queries and co-operate with their requests.
  • Please sail within view of the Coxswain’s look-out. If you can’t see it, the coxswain can’t see you
  • Please do not park in Shrimp Alley, this area was becoming a pinch point at busy times
  • Please be considerate on the slipways. Allow the boat ahead of you time to get clear before approaching. Please do not stop on the slipway to rig your boat as this will obstruct it for other users but rig your boat away from the slipway.

8th June – Day Sailing Starts Tuesday 9th June

We will be restarting day sailing from Tuesday 9th June for windsurfers and dinghies. At this time there will not be any day sailing for cruisers. All booking will now be online so please ensure you buy your ticket before arriving, as we will not be able to issue tickets in person. You can buy tickets here. Currently the site is open from 10:00-19:00 and the water is open from 10:30-18:30.

5th June – Briefing: Racing; when to restart? 

 We know that many of you are keen to get back to racing so this is an update on the current position.  

 In the short term simple informal competition is the order of the day. Initially this will take the form of a Tower Dash, either to the Tower or a suitable mark depending upon the weather. If you wish to record a time, the office will record and publish the results. The RYA have published a suitable list of apps to help comparison with your peers. Up to six single handed boats at any time could sail this together whilst recognising the social distance rules. 

There are suggestions that rabbit style gate starts organised by yourselves in groups of six boats (single handed) are possible. If you wish to try this you need to remember the 2 metre distancing regulations which makes the gate start difficult, possibly very difficult. 

 Alternative versions of organised racing are being considered with the objective of restoring some form of competition as soon as practical. An early possibility is handicap racing around a one lap course using the fixed club marks. The lap should last 40 minutes or so. Starting is the problem. There could be a starting window of 10 minutes and with the Race Officer recording both a start and finish time. An alternative is to start in groups of no more than six single handed boats with a two minute separation between starts. The starting line will be between a fixed club mark and the shore and managed from the shore.  

 With regard to the weather, we are taking a conservative approach to opening the water as the coxswains are the only safety support available.  

 Allow a lot of time to launch. Launching and recovery is proving to be a problem whilst the water level is so high. It is taking a long time for people to queue so far apart whilst waiting to launch their boat, moor it to the buoy and return the trolley to land. The water level is falling which will reduce this problem. 

Meanwhile keep watching the website. It is likely that the decision to provide organised racing as mentioned above will be made at 24 hours’ notice. Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions will be published soon. 

 An online entry process (to replace signing on) for each day’s racing has been designed, using WebCollectto avoid queues in the Club house. We would like you to use it now in order to test and evaluate the process. Please log on using your normal email address and password. There are dates for each day that club racing could occur. Please enter your details as if the racing series is already underway. We will then be able to measure the capability of WebCollect and the office can test the processes they will need. 

 Ian Rawet, Vice Commodore 

Chair Racing Committee 

1st June – Reopening News

The clubwill reopen for sailing to members only from Tuesday 2nd June. There are restrictions and limitations in place and these are all described in the Covid-19 Operating Procedures. Please ensure that you familiarise yourself with the details before visiting the club. At this time there will be no day sailing but we hope to reintroduce this soon..

On Wednesday 3rd June the 2020 Tower Dash will start, click for full details.

22nd May – Anglian Water Parks Update

Anglian Water have posted this update today.

21st May – Launching Keelboats

The following is a clarification on the procedure for launching keelboats when sailing restarts:

  1. the coxswain can provide launching assistance
  2. when asking him for help maintain 2m distancing
  3. only the coxswain will drive the tractor (this is to prevent the possibility of cross contamination from others getting in the cab), sailors hook the trailer onto the hitch themselves (the boom is more than 2m long so that conforms to social distancing from the cab).
  4. It will also be necessary for sailors to unhitch the trailer themselves
  5. If assistance is required when coming back to the jetty i.e. someone to grab the forestay, this should be worked out amongst the fleet

20th May – Letter from the Commodore

We do not yet have a date for the re-opening of the Lake; Anglian Water have not published anything definitive.  However, based on our discussions with Anglian Water we do believe this will be reasonably soon and so I am writing to you now with details of the way in which we expect to return to sailing initially, and the measures to which we will need to adhere.  To put this in context I want to stress three things up front:

1) This will not be a return to “normal” as we knew it before “lock-down”.

2) We will need to abide by a number of restrictions, most notably that relating to social distancing and personal hygiene. You will be responsible for your own safety on shore and on the water.

3) We intend to do things progressively.  We will start onshore with the barest minimum of facilities and on water with informal leisure sailing only.  Over time, as restrictions are eased, we hope to be able to open up more of our facilities onshore, and on the water move to more structured activity, including some form of racing.

General precautions to ensure the safety of yourself, other club members and the general public

Here is the link to the latest Government guidelines on social distancing. Please take the time to ensure you are absolutely familiar with them before visiting the Club site.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

If you are unwell with the symptoms of Covid-19 do not attend the Club.

If you have had contact with a family or household member who is unwell with the symptoms of Covid-19 do not attend the Club for a minimum of 14 days.

Wash your hands after touching common surfaces – and always after coughing, sneezing and before and after arriving and leaving the Club.

Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and avoid touching your face, nose and eyes.

Keep your distance and avoid being face to face with people from outside your household.

Do not share water bottles or food with people from outside your own household.

We suggest you bring some disposable gloves with you and use them if touching common surfaces.  We also suggest you bring a first aid kit with you so you can attend to minor cuts and such like yourself.

Accessing the site and opening hours

Revised opening hours will apply.  Initially the site will be open from 10 am each morning and will close each evening at 19:00 (including weekends).  The water will open from 10:30 and will close at 18:30 each evening.  Over time we may be able to relax these hours so keep an eye on the website for details.

The barrier will remain down during the time that the site is open.  It should open automatically for you.  If not, ring  07950 590754 from your mobile phone for admission.  Do not use the keypad at the barrier.

Parking

We are fortunate to have a large site so parking even with the current restrictions should not be a problem.  But please make sure you park well apart from the next car, sufficient to ensure social distancing when getting in or getting out.  That may mean you need to park further away from your boat than normal.  If we have a lot of people on site it may also necessitate using the top (visitor) field.

Clubhouse

The clubhouse will be closed, except that there will be restricted access to the toilets.  There will be signage at the toilets indicating the procedures to follow.  You should enter the toilets by the outside doors on the half landing facing the roundabout.

There will be no facility for changing on site.  You should arrive ready changed or change in your car.  You may want to invest in a dry robe or similar. Do not use the toilets for changing: this would be socially irresponsible.

Rigging and access to the water

Again, the key message is to adhere to the social distancing principle – 2m separation.  If you find that somebody in the adjacent berth to you is rigging their boat at the same time, come to an arrangement with them whereby you can both do this safely.  Please also remember that the Government guidance which we need to follow at this stage is to exercise in the company of only one person from outside your immediate household, and then adhering to the 2m separation guideline.  Larger gatherings are not permitted so please act accordingly in the boat park.

When launching also take care to adhere to the 2m separation guidelines.  Since dinghies are more than 2m long this should not be too difficult, but windsurfers take note, particularly if using the steps.

Do not touch other persons’ boats or trolleys at any time.

The water level is particularly high at present so launching may be more difficult than usual, particularly given the need to do so unassisted.  We intend to reposition the small dan buoys just offshore to aid in this but if you use them please do so wearing gloves.

On the water

For obvious reasons, only single-handed sailing or sailing in the same boat by persons living together in the same household, is permitted.

There will be a coxswain on site, but safety cover will be extremely restricted.  If you are going out on the water, your sailing skills should be of a standard commensurate with the red & white flag ie. able to right your boat unaided and return to the shore under the prevailing weather conditions on the day.  We expect to operate the flag system more conservatively than in normal circumstances.  We also expect that the red & yellow flag will be used frequently ie Lake open with restrictions.  Where this is used the restrictions will be posted on the window of the café. You may wish to use your own VHF radio to make contact with the Coxswain. This should be a VHF marine radio, ideally with the ability to take an earpiece.

Initially the Lake will be open for unstructured leisure sailing only.  We will not attempt any kind of organised racing, nor should you try to do this on an informal basis – it is likely to be in breach of the guidance against “gatherings”.  In due course we hope to introduce some form of racing and details of this will be posted on the web site.

Staff on site

There will be a coxswain on site all the time the site is open, based in the coxswains’ shed.  If you need to talk to him, do not enter the shed and do not cross the 2m line marked at the shed entrance.

The Office will not be physically accessible.  The hours when the Office staff can be contacted are shown on the website.  The chandlery will not be open.

For hygiene reasons tools may not be borrowed from the coxswains.  If you need anything you should bring it with you.

Day Sailing

For the time being we will not be re-introducing day sailing.  We may do so at a later date.

Updates to this advice

It is very likely that over time our advice will be modified and updated.  Updates will be posted on the Club Web Site so please do keep looking there

Best wishes, and stay safe

John Aston, Commodore

 

19th May – Boat Park

Members have been visiting the dinghy park to check on their boats and do maintenance. In some cases this has involved excavation from the undergrowth.

Nigel Denchfield’s comment was that he would need a bigger strimmer. There is huge variation across the site. The Flying Fifteen to the east of the clubhouse is not too bad, and Tim O’Brien has done quite a lot of work there. Also the first block immediately to the west of the clubhouse is reasonable.

The worst affected area is the second block to the west of the clubhouse (F block) which has been overrun by cow parsley. If you are planning to come to mow your boat space and it is in F block you will need to bring shears as it is unlikely a normal strimmer will handle it. Also watch out for the stinging nettles!

16th May – Update on Water Closure

Some members have read the information on the  Anglian Water Parks website that says they have cancelled all events until 30 June and assumed this means that the water will be closed until then. The 30 June date relates to their organised events, they have not announced any specific date for the water to remain closed and we are in regular discussions with them to understand when the water will reopen.

13th May – Coronavirus Update Letter from Commodore

I am writing to update you on the latest news regarding the Club and the Coronavirus pandemic.

Following the Prime Minister’s broadcast of Sunday 10 May and the subsequent Government announcements of the following day, Anglian Water issued a statement on Monday 11 May, which reads as follows:

Having reviewed the Government’s announcement yesterday, because our water parks are tourism venues and draw large crowds, they will remain closed to the public at this time. 

It continues to be a difficult decision for us to make. We know how much the local community and visitors love our green spaces, but the health and safety of our local communities, visitors and colleagues is our priority.  We must be certain that when we reopen we can do so safely, meeting all the guidance on social distancing. 

We know this will be disappointing news. We are regularly reviewing our position and will continue to update this page with any changes.  However for the time being, like the rest of the hospitality and leisure sector, our attractions, activities and recreation services remain closed.

We are in regular contact with Anglian Water about their timescale for re-opening the Lake.  Also, on 12 May the RYA issued comprehensive guidance for Clubs on steps to take prior to re-opening and we will be mindful of that guidance to ensure that, when we do re-open we are ready to facilitate safe sailing activity with appropriate social distancing measures, hygiene procedures and the appropriate safeguards for our members and our staff.

We have though agreed with Anglian Water that members may now access the Club Site (though clearly not the Lake) to carry out work on their boats, to deliver or remove boats, and to maintain their berths.

For those of you who wish to do this the process will be as follows.  As the Club site will remain locked you will need to pre-arrange access; this will be managed by Hilary Talbot.  If you would like to visit the site, please email Hilary at hilary@htalbot.com, providing the following information:

  1. Member’s name
  2. Mobile phone number
  3. Date and approximate time you want to come
  4. Boat park space(s)
  5. What you plan to do
  6. How long you expect to be here for

Hilary will then allocate you an appointment, as close as possible to your requested time. Appointments will be staggered to avoid people arriving at the same time or working in adjacent boat spaces, and to avoid general overcrowding.

Please be sure to bring everything you may need as the club will not be able to provide any equipment such as strimmer, buckets etc. You will be able to fill your own bucket if necessary from the outside tap. The clubhouse, toilets and coxswain’s shed will not be open.

Best wishes, and stay safe

John Aston

Commodore

12th May – Update about Re-opening

Although the Prime Minister indicated that more outdoor exercise will be possible from Wednesday, on Monday evening, Anglian Water announced that they will not be reopening Grafham Water yet. The Commodore will be writing to all members on Wednesday afternoon with the latest update. This will also be published on the club website.

11th May – Latest Government Announcement

Following the broadcast by the Prime Minister yesterday evening, we are in discussions with Anglian Water and reviewing RYA guidance on the next steps.

Yesterday evening the RYA posted their latest information here. In their post they say:
“Until we have seen the Government guidelines in detail, we cannot speculate on when Clubs and Training Centres will be able to reopen their doors. We look forward to seeing the further guidance within the Government’s three step plan.”

Anglian Water also posted the following on their Facebook page:
“Following today’s announcement Grafham Water remains closed at this time. For several weeks, while our park remains closed, we’ve been working on plans to gradually reopen it. We are currently reviewing the latest guidance and how we can operate within these safety measures. The safety of our staff, volunteers and public is our priority. We are following government guidance and will respond to any changes in this as quickly as we possibly can. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

11th May – British Red Cross Need Help

Roy Harold is helping the Red Cross to organise leaflet deliveries to shielded residents of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, who have not yet responded to government attempts to contact them. He needs people able to knock on doors, this week, starting in Peterborough on Monday (today). If any members living locally would be willing to help, please contact him by email (roy.harold5@btinternet.com).

7th May – RYA Webinar #2

Here is the link to the second weekly RYA racing rules webinar. The topic is The Start and any limitations on the right-of-way boat.

1st May – RYA Webinars

The RYA are doing a series of webinars on the racing rules on Wednesday evenings at 8 o’clock. The first one was this week and you can watch it by clicking this link. YouTube has a whole playlist of RYA videos with something for everyone.

20th April: Member News – Ann Young

Former Laser sailor and now Topper owner Ann Young was spotted over her garden fence today. She and David are doing fine. She has been managing to get online delivery slots for groceries and also has a neighbour who is fetching shopping for her too. She has got a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle to keep herself occupied and has been following the news on the club website as well.

19th April: Team Grafham take up eSailing!

The latest group to start racing in Virtual Regatta is Team Grafham. They will be racing at 4pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Yesterday was their first event with 4 races sailed by  Boo, Adele, Archie, Poppy and Denise Plant. Quote from coach Matt: “as you can imagine it won’t be long till they’re pretty good!”

18th April: Latest letter from the Commodore

John sent the following email to all members yesterday:

Dear Member

I am writing to update you on matters at your Club in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.  It is a little over three weeks since the Prime Minister’s announcement of strict social distancing measures.  The Club site was closed on 24 March and has remained closed since then.  Yesterday the Government announced an extension to the social distancing measures (initially for a further three weeks when they will be reviewed again), and we should not expect any reopening of the Club in the near term.

Many of our members have renewed their memberships for the full year: thank you for your support for your Club.  In terms of subscription receipts we are a little behind where we were at the same time last year, but under the circumstances that is not surprising, and we hope more renewals will come in over the coming days.

We are taking whatever measures we can to reduce costs over this difficult period.  Today, operationally, the site is on a “care and maintenance” basis.  We have somebody visiting every day to check things, and the grass is being cut as required to keep the site tidy.  In order to reduce costs most of our staff are on furlough, taking advantage of the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.  There is a virtual Office working part time.  The “opening hours” are set out on the website and the Office can be contacted via email (office@grafham.org) or on 07950 590754.  Please understand if there is a delay in their responding.

It goes without saying that a Sailing Club without sailing is something of a challenge.  But in an attempt to fill the void, some of our members have taken the initiative and are organising “esailing”, and there is an enthusiastic and growing group of participants.  You can read more about this activity, and how to take part, on the Club website at https://www.grafham.org/esailing/

Hilary’s blog, also on the website, is regularly updated with information and anecdotes.  If you have something to contribute please contact Hilary.  A couple of our members have offered to run an online quiz – no doubt with a heavy sailing content.  Please watch the website for further details.

It is important to remember that we are not only a Sailing Club, but we are also a community of friends.  A number of our members are having to follow Government advice to adhere to rigorous shielding measures and therefore are in a higher degree of social isolation.  Please can I encourage you to support such people, where you know them, by ringing them up or otherwise providing encouragement or practical help where possible.  Local government is establishing online coordination hubs to bring together people who need, or can offer, help. The local one for Grafham is www.wearehuntingdonshire.org and there may well be others in your own area.

We do not know when the current restrictions will be eased and what continuing restrictions might apply thereafter. Nevertheless, I want to assure you that we are giving attention now to how we will restart sailing activities, whenever that time comes.

Stay well. Best wishes

John Aston
Commodore

17th April: Latest announcement from the Government

The Government announced yesterday that the current restrictions will remain in place for a further three weeks, so there is no change to the situation as described below.

The Prime Ministerial statement on 23 March places stringent restrictions on people leaving their homes.  Consistent with these restrictions we have closed access to the Club Site with immediate effect.  The buildings and the boat park are secured and closed. Access will not be possible until the restrictions are lifted; in the Prime Minister’s announcement he said that they would be reviewed after three weeks   In the meantime, we will do whatever we can within the Government’s restrictions to ensure the security of the site.  The office staff, who will continue working from home, will be able to remotely access email and phone calls, but please understand if there is a delay in responding.

Meanwhile Council continues to review the steps we need to take as a Club in order to deal with this radically changed situation.

The Government announced yesterday that the current restrictions will remain in place for a further three weeks, so there is no change to the situation with the grounds and water as announced previously. The site and buildings are being checked every day.

17th April: eSailing News

The Cat fleet had very close racing on Wednesday evening. You can read Julian Bosch’s blog and check the results.

16th April

The Wednesday Lockdown eSailing event yesterday went well. The results are here and there is a report in the eSailing blog.

13th April: Update on eSailing

Today we have a virtual blue and white flag as the wind is 24 knots gusting 27. There is new information about the Lockdown eSailing event planned for Wednesday in the eSailing blog.

The Cat Fleet held their 6th event in the April series yesterday and the series is currently being led by Jon Sweet.

12th April: Happy Easter

Happy Easter to everyone and we hope you manage to have a good weekend. The results for the eSailing are currently being processed and will be uploaded to the website when ready. Watch this space.

There is a virtual AP flying this morning as there is no wind at all on Grafham Water.

10th April: More on eSailing

There is now a separate post about Grafham’s esailing activities. Click here.

9th April: Report on the Laser Lockdown Races Yesterday

Thirteen boats entered the Laser Lockdown Virtual Sailing Event held last night, 8th April.
We were racing Star boats around a windward-leeward course in Kiel, wind gusting 20 knots.

It was a lot of fun. There were many penalties, some technical issues, and a lot of user error. Even better, no one got wet and we did not need to drive home afterwards.
What’s Next?

By popular demand, we will be holding another Virtual Sailing event at 7.30pm next Wednesday 15th April. This time we will be sailing Dayboats at Aarhus (spinnaker practice required!). Three races again starting with a preparatory signal at 7.29pm.

If you would like to enter please send an email to Peter Gee, Laser Fleet Captain at laserfc@grafham.org. This event is open to all Grafham sailors of any class and ability.

7th April: Local Authority Resources

Local authorities have set up websites with resources to provide local information and support to those who need it. The one for Huntingdonshire is www.wearehuntingdonshire.org and for example it says that council tax which is paid in 10 monthly instalments can be paid from June-March instead of April-January. The club is also here to try to provide help to any members who need practical assistance.

6th April: The Laser Lockdown Wednesday Virtual Sailing Event 

This is a one-off event being held online this Wednesday 8th April at 7:30pm. All sailors of any level are welcome. We will be using the Virtual Regatta Inshore game and it can be played on PC or smartphone (iOS or Android).

There are no Lasers in the game so we are racing Stars in Kiel Harbour.

Races last about 5 minutes and there will be 3 races:
Race 1                         7.30pm  prompt. Preliminary start signal at 7.29pm.
Race 2                         7.40pm approx
Race 3                         7.50pm approx

The game is limited to 20 entrants per race. We will be inviting the other Grafham fleets to join us so you will get a chance to race against old friends. If we get more than 20 entrants, extra races will be arranged. If the event is a success, further events will be held in different virtual boats and locations.
If you would like to join please email Peter Gee at laserfc@grafham.org and he will send you full instructions and login details. Before Wednesday, you will need to allow at least 30 minutes to open an account, customise your settings and learn how the controls work.
Happy (Virtual) sailing!

Many thanks to Laser Fleet Captain Peter Gee for organising this.

4th April: Beautiful Grafham Views

A couple of beautiful evening views to remind us how lovely it is here and to look forward to better times when everyone can be back here.

 

 

3rd April: Clapping for Key Workers

Yesterday evening Perry residents, like others across the country, came onto their doorsteps to clap for our key workers who are doing so much to keep us safe and well. They were rewarded with this beautiful sunset over Grafham Water.

 

2nd April: Restricted Office Opening Hours

From Saturday 4th April, the office will be manned on a restricted basis, please click here for full details of current office opening hours.

If you need to speak to us, please phone 07950 590754 and leave a message and we will get back to you. Phone messages and emails (to office@grafham.org) will be responded to during the office opening hours.

31st March: First Aid Online Refresher Courses

The Red Cross are providing free access to their online refresher course. If any instructors need to evidence a refresher, noting also the HSE extension of existing qualifications, Roy Harold would recommend they consider using this online facility.

Message from the Red Cross: To help ensure you and your team’s first aid skills remain up to date, we’d like to give you free access to our online first aid annual update course. The course is designed for anyone who wishes to refresh their existing first aid at work skills and while it does not result in obtaining a formal certificate, it will provide you with a record of learning and help you to refresh your existing first aid knowledge. Please follow this link to access the instructions on how to enrol on the course

30th March: One Member’s Answer to the Club Closure

Paul Murphy has come up with a novel approach to getting your sailing fix at home. View his video on YouTube.

30th March: More News of Members in Isolation

Also in isolation is Barry Wyatt, Flying Fifteen fleet captain. This photo was taken at last year’s Flying Fifteen fleet dinner, where Barry was handing out the trophies. Unfortunately, this year’s dinner had to be cancelled as a result of the emergency situation.

Barry sent the following message to Ian Rawet: “Started on the garden, but the weekend temperatures provided an excuse. Otherwise, shopping is a continuing challenge – as it is for most of us. Anyway, so far, we’re pretty well and trying to stay cheerful. Katy has been a marvel – she’s in school one day a week and is helping to keep us fed and watered.”

If anyone wants to send a message to Barry his email address is b.wyatt@btinternet.com.

29th March: Membership Renewals

A letter from the Commodore has been sent to all members this afternoon explaining the Club’s position. Here is a link to the ‘How to’ document referenced in the Q&A attached to the letter.

28th March: Another Member is Shielding

In addition to Richard Major (see below), Mandy Sweet is also having to stay in isolation.

She is being looked after by her mother Wendy Horton, founding member of the Sociable Saturday Cake Club so hopefully she will have plenty of cake to keep her spirits up. Wendy said: “Mandy has just been stocked up by her Mummy. Her shopping list
included Rose wine and mini Galaxy ice creams. I couldn’t get the Walker’s Squares.”

Mandy wrote: “Luckily I’ve been keeping busy sorting all the online school stuff and tidying/cleaning so far. One week nearly gone!”

If you want to send Mandy a cheering email, her email address is mandyhorton44@hotmail.com.

27th March: RYA Videos on YouTube

If you need something to watch, here is a link to the RYA YouTube Channel

26th March: Protecting Those Defined as Extremely Vulnerable

Earlier in the week the Government announced it would be writing to 1.5 million people in the UK defined as being extremely vulnerable during the pandemic. They have issued this guidance.

One of our members impacted by this is Laser sailor Richard Major (on the right in the photo), who many members will know. He sent this status update yesterday when asked if he would like members to keep in touch:

“I am fine but a few emails would be nice. My highlight of the day yesterday was hanging out my washing! Only another 11 weeks to go!”

So if anyone would like to send Richard a message his email address is rmajor2@btinternet.com.

If anyone else out there is in the same situation and would like to keep in touch, please let me know and I can include you here.

26th March: Information for First-Aiders from the British Red Cross

Roy Harold, the club’s first aid trainer among other things, has provided this link to an article on the British Red Cross website, which he suggests may particularly be of interest to those who have attended his first aid course

25th March: Dead Fly Art

The son of one of our members is locked in because his daughter has a cough. He is a bit of an artist and generated this after only six days of quarantine. He called it dead fly art.

Drawn by Rob Kinnear

24th March: Announcement – Access to the Club Site

The Prime Ministerial statement yesterday (23 March) places stringent restrictions on people leaving their homes.  Consistent with these restrictions we have closed access to the Club Site with immediate effect.  The buildings are being secured and closed and the boat park is being checked before all staff leave site.  Access will not be possible until the restrictions are lifted; in the Prime Minister’s announcement he said that they would be reviewed after three weeks   In the meantime, we will do whatever we can within the Government’s restrictions to ensure the security of the site.  The office staff, who will continue working from home, will be able to remotely access email and phone calls, but please understand if there is a delay in responding.

Meanwhile Council is urgently reviewing the steps we need to take as a Club in order to deal with this radically changed situation and we will be writing to members with more details shortly.