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Spinlock IRC Welsh National Championship, incorporating the Celtic Regatta - Preview

by Mark Thompson, Rear Commodore, CHPSC 12 Aug 2020 18:16 BST 14-16 August 2020
Spinlock IRC Welsh National Championship © PSC

Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club in conjunction with ISORA has led the way in North Wales, with a considered and steady return to keelboat racing, post the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, with three well supported club races and two ISORA offshore events.

Both forms of racing having a careful regard to Welsh Government Regulations, and recommendations made by our sport governing body - RYA Cymru Wales.

It's important to note that there are hugely differing regulations across the four home nations, and different again to our neighbours across the Irish Sea in Ireland.

For Wales there are regulations around interactions between households, with social distance remaining at 2m between multiple households, in any outdoor or indoor venue, and the number of households who can "exercise" together using their chosen sport remains at two. (of course, a household can be "extended" by joining another household, this can only be done once. This allows more people to interact without 2m distancing)

A recent change for us to consider, is the numbers of people that can participate in an "event" which is capped currently at 30 and the number that can gather at a venue. However crucially, in an "event there can be multiple households participating, but must maintain 2m distance protocols

So, where does this leave us? After much debate and taking advice from RYA CW and our partners Plas Heli and the Royal Dee Yacht Club, and discussing all the constraints imposed, we assessed that during an organised activity (event) that multiple households could sail together but must maintain 2m physical distancing. In addition, using "extended" households could be helpful to increase crew number without 2m distancing. However, recognising that not all boat owners could "extend" households, having potentially already taken this step with elderly relatives for example, we took the decision to limit crew numbers, as many other organisations (such as JOG, RORC) have done using the following formula:

  • IRC Fleets: Half the IRC rating crew number (rounded down) and add 1
  • NHC Fleets: LOA < 9m 3 crew > 9m 4 crew
The next hurdle to overcome was the limitation on event numbers, which is 30. To enable us to operate within this criteria, we have had to take the decision to split the regatta into "events", so for example the Coastal ISORA fleet is a separate event and competing for a separate trophy to the IRC 1 and 2 fleets or NHC Cruiser fleet (which may be split into two event classes)

Whilst we retain the regatta title of IRC Welsh Championships, for scoring and administration the three events will be run and managed separately and require a nominated person to do this.

The following people are nominated by the event committee:

  • Covid Event Manager - Gerallt Williams - Task Force Leader & CHPSC Vice Commodore
  • Event Management - Mark Thompson (for CHPSC)
  • Plas Heli, RYA CW and IRC Rating Committee - Stephen Tudor
  • Plas Heli and Berth Master - Richard Tudor
  • Coastal Event: Peter Dunlop - Course setting and ISORA liaison
  • IRC 1 and 2 Event: Mike Butterfield - Race Officer
  • NHC Cruiser Event: Robin Evans - Race Officer
In addition to the event regulations, we have a duty under both the regulations and direction of our governing body, RYA CW to be considerate to the local community, and conservative with risk in order to not potentially burden the emergency services, so for this reason our "stripped down" championship evolved to the model described above and we are confident we can run a worthwhile and challenging set of events.

For the Inshore events (IRC and NHC) we shall be using the PSC bridge facility and fixed marks racetracks, with most of our fixed courses having a windward/Leeward element and of course race management can construct their own courses from the marks as appropriate. It's important to separate our event starts by 15 minutes to differentiate these.

Listen carefully on CH17 for your course and start information and please stay away from the start line during other class starts.

Generally Coastal will start first, followed by Cruisers and then IRC classes who will have multiple starts on all three days. Coastal will only have one start and use a different finishing line. Cruisers may have multiple laps of the same course scored as two races.

To avoid gatherings and simplify briefings, all changes to SI's will be emailed to skippers, and posted on the event What's App group - we will use the mobile number on your entry form - this will become active on Thursday - watch out for a link by email or message on your phone.

The skipper briefing will be added to this group as well

Finally, Plas Heli will be open for refreshments and food, but is operating under strict service protocols around seating and distancing. Please observe these protocols and it should be possible to enjoy post racing drinks almost as normal. We will not hold any formal daily prize-giving, but ensure results are posted electronically and any daily prizes delivered to the winners!

We wish you a fun three days of racing here in the bay and thank you for your cooperation in respecting the regulations we are operating within, and our local community here on the Llyn Peninsula.

Hwyl, Good Racing

Mark Thompson
Rear Commodore
Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club

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