The CCA has a long history of promoting safety at sea. The CCA sponsorship of the Safety at Sea Seminars and the publication of the Safety for Cruising Couples booklet are current examples. The global outbreak of the Coronavirus Covid-19 is a new type of safety challenge confronting sailors worldwide. The policy responses to the virus are rapidly changing the way we will be able to enjoy our shared pastime this sailing season.
The Impact on Racing
The decision by the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee (BROC) to cancel the 2020 event may be a harbinger of other event cancelations. The current Social Distancing (SD) recommendations from the CDC and State health agencies upend normal sailing activities. Racing on a crewed boat makes it almost impossible to comply with SD guidelines. SD will make it impossible to host most normal regattas until such time as the SD guidelines are no longer in force.
The major reason for canceling the 2020 Bermuda Race was the BROC’s belief that, given the tight time frame, holding the race would have forced skippers to choose between performing required prerace training in violation of SD guidelines or not training and going to sea unprepared to deal with emergencies. This is not a choice the CCA was willing to force onto participants.
In addition, the decision by the Government of Bermuda to not allow transient boats into the country without 14 days of quarantine put the final nail in the coffin of this years race.
The Impact on Cruising
Cruising will also be challenging this summer. Many cruisers enjoy going ashore to explore new harbors, eat at restaurants or Yacht Clubs or participate in organized cruises such as the Boston Station Maine Cruise. Many people also enjoy changing crew over the period of a cruise. All of these activities will likely be difficult if not impossible this season. Yacht Clubs are not currently considered “essential businesses” and may not be open at all this season for any type of social events.
Government policies are changing rapidly and it will be important for sailors to stay up to date on what different states are requiring. Florida has already started closing parts of its coastline to transient boats. Boats coming into the US from overseas are being forced into 14 day quarantine periods. Boat yards, DOCWA.com, etc. are already refusing reservations from boats from NY or other states. Canada is requiring boats crossing their border to go through mandatory Covid-19 testing and 14 days of quarantine.
For international sailors, www.noonsite.com is providing information on the changing rules regarding entry into foreign ports. They also are starting to keep track of what various state governments are requiring. If you are planning on cruising this summer it will be important to be well prepared by keeping fuel & water tanks topped off and by having plenty of stores & first aid supplies onboard.
At its core, the CCA is a collection of passionate, seriously accomplished, ocean sailors making adventurous use of the seas. All members have extensive offshore boat handling, seamanship, and command experience honed over many years.