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Yachting NZ issues COVID-19 guidelines to allow major regattas to continue

by Sail-World/Yachting NZ 16 Mar 22:55 NZDT 16 March 2020
Optimists sailing at Queen Charlotte YC © Queen Charlotte YC

Yachting New Zealand has issued a note to clubs and classes outlining a framework which will allow several major dinghy regattas to proceed with some changes ashore.

The Optimist Nationals at Worser Bay will proceed, as will the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta.

Confirming as things stand, NZ International Optimist Dinghy Association says they are currently continuing planning for the Nationals in Wellington 9-13th April being held at Worser Bay.

All organising parties are working to monitor the situation and will take all additional steps to ensure the safety and good health of our young sailors and their supporters. Some changes to the usual regatta format are now likely to be implemented to ensure safety and compliance along the lines of the YNZ document attached. These will be notified soonest and may include online briefings via social media etc.

The association will continue to respond to any further directives or major changes to this situation as they become notified. While some uncertainties remain NZIODA wish to maintain what certainty we can by responding to facts as we know them, rather than adding to speculation.

The letter issued by Yachting NZ on March 16, 2020 follows:

You will all be aware the Covid-19 outbreak is a rapidly-evolving situation and we are getting updates constantly from the Ministry of Health and medical teams at High Performance Sport New Zealand and Sport New Zealand. You will also have noticed many events and gatherings are being cancelled or postponed and many of you will be making decisions about your own events and activities coming up.

As of today, the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta is still going ahead at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club on March 28-29. This decision is based on the Ministry of Health’s current advice for public events and mass gatherings. Our event has a relatively low risk and sailors and supporters who have travelled overseas and not quarantined within 14 days of the event will not be able to enter. We can reduce the risk further by removing all large social gatherings.

That means: - An online briefing will be posted on the Yachting New Zealand Facebook page on the Friday night before the event. - There will no BBQ for volunteers at the conclusion of racing each day. - There will be no prizegiving on the final day of racing. Instead, awards will be sent out in the week following the event and the winners will be acknowledged on Yachting New Zealand’s channels. - If the event is cancelled due to changing circumstances, full refunds will be issued to all entrants.

Please enter the event sooner rather than later. Please email Sam@yachtingnz.org.nz if you can also help out on the water. We are taking anything related to Covid-19 seriously and want everyone to remain safe and well and to feel supported. The office at Yachting New Zealand remains open for business but, if you feel unwell or have flu-like symptoms, please don’t come in to see us and contact the Ministry of Health’s healthline or your health professional.

You will have seen the various guidelines for trying to keep safe and well. The best defence is to practice good hygiene, particularly washing hands thoroughly with soap and water. Other measures are:

• covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or coughing/sneezing into your elbow • disposing of used tissues appropriately in a bin • washing hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and drying them thoroughly, or using hand sanitiser: • before eating or handling food • after using the toilet • after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses • after touching public surfaces • practice social distancing, which means trying to keep 1m away when meeting with others. • limiting alcohol, as this may affect your ability to adequately follow the advice above.

The measures above are especially important for people who have pre-existing health conditions, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, pre-existing cardio-respiratory conditions or who are immunocompromised.

There is some really useful information on the Ministry of Health website about self-isolation, symptoms, travel and what we can all do to better protect ourselves and those around us.

At this stage, we encourage yacht clubs to consider the advice available and make decisions on whether they remain open and host events based on what is best for their club. I firmly believe one of the best things we can do is to remain active, exercise and sleep well so we improve our chances of remaining fit and healthy. Things are, though, changing quickly and we will be reassessing the situation on a regular basis and will update you as we know more. We are taking this seriously, are following government health guidelines and won’t be taking any unnecessary risks. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards

David Abercrombie

Yachting New Zealand chief executive

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