Yachting New Zealand have made the difficult decision to cancel next weekend's Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta due to the Covid-19 virus but will look to run some coach-led racing instead.
The Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta, which is this country’s premier Olympic and youth classes regatta, was due to be held at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club on March 28-29.
A decision was made to cancel the event due to the concerns people have regarding Covid-19 and the potential risks associated with that. A significant consideration for event organisers was the safety and wellbeing of volunteers, many of whom are older members of the public and more at risk from the virus.
Competitors who had already entered will receive a full refund next week through a credit reversal.
“We realise this will be disappointing for many in the sailing community but we consider the wellbeing of everyone involved in sailing a priority,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. “Yachting New Zealand are committed to supporting healthy, outdoor activity in these uncertain times and believe we can do still do this with some well-coordinated coach-led racing.
“The wellbeing of our sailing community is paramount and we believe by spreading the event geographically and running some coach-led racing we are mitigating many of these concerns. By creating coach-led racing at different venues, each fleet will be much smaller than the number who participate at a centralised regatta and will be well below the current Ministry of Health guidelines.”
Sailors will have the opportunity to meet on the water in Auckland next weekend for two days of racing run by Yachting New Zealand staff.
“We won’t use any volunteers next weekend but highly value the role they play at regattas, and thank those who put their hand up for the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta," Abercrombie said. "We look forward to engaging with them again at future regattas.”
The racing will be free to enter with 470s, 420s, Lasers and Laser Radials racing off one venue and 49ers, 49erFXs, Nacra 15s, 29ers and windfoilers racing off another venue. These venues will be confirmed soon.
Participants will be able to launch boats from multiple venues and meet on the designated race course, with pre-race briefings done online.
A number of sailing events, including various national championships, have been postponed or cancelled and some clubs have chosen to postpone club activity.
“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,” Abercrombie said. “The landscape is changing rapidly so we will continue to monitor the situation on a regular basis and update plans accordingly.”
The latest Ministry of Health guidelines can be found here and provide information on various topics, including symptoms, prevention, treatment, public events and travel.
Please register your interest in participating in the coach-led racing on March 28-29 by emailing email@example.com