Coronavirus FAQ

To help in understanding the current situation at the Club as a result of Coronavirus, we have put together an updated FAQ. If you have a question you think we should address here, please email the Webmaster.

Q: How can I contact the office?

A: As well as the email address, office@grafham.org, there is a new mobile number, which is 07943 196522. The office opening hours are shown on the website here.

Q: What is the situation regarding junior members restarting sailing?

A: The guidance is basically the same as for adults. Parents should take things slowly and cautiously and seek advice from experienced members or the coxswain if uncertain. It would be sensible for junior members to stay close to the shore while safety cover is limited and only to sail when they are completely happy that they can cope with the prevailing conditions. Remember that in an offshore wind it is more difficult to return to the shore.

Q: Can I hire Club Boats?

A: Not at this stage.  We hope to be able to re-introduce that at a later stage: it is contingent on being able to introduce safe procedures for wash down and disinfecting the boats before and after use.

Q:  Is the Club putting pressure on Anglian Water to reopen the lake for sailing now, as the Government has said that sport like sailing is allowed?

A: We remain in regular contact with Anglian Water, whose position on reopening has already been shared with our membership. Currently they are taking a consistent stance with all sailing clubs on their reservoirs. We would ask members to understand that reopening is not just a simple task of opening the club and allowing members to go sailing.

The RYA has issued detailed and comprehensive guidance to clubs, based on the Government’s advice, and the latest information is here: https://www.rya.org.uk/newsevents/news/Pages/Guidance-issued-for-English-sailing-clubs-.aspx. This includes a 13 page guidance document to assist clubs in planning for and implementing a resumption of water-based activities. GWSC has already put in place much of the planning and preparation described in this guidance, however there is still work to be done. We are currently developing operating procedures for use of club facilities, such as toilets and safety boats. We are working to obtain appropriate PPE for our staff and volunteers and we are planning and resourcing the necessary cleaning and disinfecting regimes that we will have to implement. The safety of our staff, members and volunteers, both on and off the water, is paramount and we need to be sure that when we do resume sailing we will be able to do so in the safest possible way.

In all the guidance issued by the Government and the RYA there is an underlying message of “safe operation” and taking a conservative approach. Anglian Water are being consistent with this and GWSC needs to be too. We are working hard to ensure that we will have all the necessary procedures in place by the time we are allowed to resume sailing.

We would particularly like to draw your attention to the RYA’s statement in their guidance published on Tuesday 12 May, which says: “We urge the members of English clubs to be patient during the next couple of weeks. It is unlikely many will be able to open straight away and it’s in all of our interests that clubs open when they are ready to facilitate safe activity with appropriate social distancing measures, hygiene procedures and risk management practices.” We hope that members will bear with us as we complete the necessary preparations to allow you to get back out on the water.

The Commodore will be writing to all members again within the next few days with the latest update.

Q (added 24th April): Is the Club lobbying Anglian Water to reopen the lake? It ought to be possible for people who live locally at least to individually sail or windsurf.

A: We do not believe that this would be the right thing to do at the current time. We believe the closure of the Lake by Anglian Water, and our related closure of the Club Site are necessary and appropriate to comply with the Government’s directions on social distancing.  In particular:

  • It would not be fair on our neighbours, the villagers of Perry. People would be coming to the village for non-essential purposes, exposing the residents to additional risk
  • The club and the sport of sailing would be seen in a bad light if our members were out enjoying themselves on the water while others were urged to stay at home
  • It would be unfair on those members who live further away and who would not be allowed to travel to the club
  • It would mean bringing staff onto site on a regular basis which would be inconsistent with the Social Distancing requirements
  • RYA guidance is that Sailing Clubs should close, and the huge majority, if not all, of clubs are closed

Please see the latest update from Anglian Water in the next Q&A below.

Q (added 23rd April): What is the current Anglian Water position on the closure of Grafham Water?

A: Anglian Water have published the following announcement:

Coronavirus Closure Update 23/04/20

We realise that many of our customers are disappointed about Grafham Water being closed. We do understand how much people love visiting our green spaces and it has been a difficult decision for us to make.

There is a concern that opening our parks would risk attracting large numbers of people from out of the area, who would park in local villages. This has been experienced at other parks and I am sure you have witnessed people travelling outside of their locality in the news.

We also have a concern about risk to our staff, as our parks are a significant size and policing them as per the current government policy on social distancing and exercise would be difficult.

The recent ministerial advice on keeping parks open is more specifically in respect of parks in towns and cities where local communities have less access to gardens and countryside. Typically our parks are rural tourism destinations and, as such, the local communities have access to wider public rights of way networks, countryside and gardens.

We need to encourage people to stay home where possible, exercise locally and observe social distancing measures. For these reasons, our parks will remain closed to public access until the national guidance changes.

We look forward to welcoming you back to enjoy our parks again as soon as we can.

Q: How long will the Club remain closed?

A (updated 23rd April): The Club is closed in accordance with H.M. Government’s restrictions on people leaving their homes. 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. This has now been extended by a further three weeks. The next government review is due on 8th May.

Q: Can I get into the Club grounds to check on my boat?

A: Unfortunately, not at the moment.  As the Government has banned all but essential travel, and Anglian Water has closed all its water parks, we have closed the site to all access. The buildings have been secured and closed and the boat park was checked before the site was closed. Access will not be possible until further notice.  In the meantime, we will do what we can within the Government’s regulations to ensure the security of the site.

Q. What are you doing to ensure the security of the club grounds and buildings? 

A: The grounds and buildings are being checked every day. 

Q: What is happening about membership renewals?

A: A letter from the Commodore has been sent to all members this afternoon (Sunday 29th March) explaining the Club’s position. Here is a link to the ‘How to’ document referenced in the Q&A attached to the letter.

Q: Is the Club Office still contactable?

A: Yes but office staff will be working from home and there will not be someone available every day. After Friday 3rd 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.

Q: What will happen to the Club’s Open Meeting programme?

A: Inevitably, meetings are having to be cancelled.  Most of the Summer Programme has now gone.  It may be possible to reinstate some, but our Autumn calendar is pretty full already.