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Yachting New Zealand update on Covid-19 - March 20

Issue date

Many clubs and class associations are facing huge challenges right now due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it’s a similar story at Yachting New Zealand where we are facing the same issues. We are, as it were, all in the same waka. We are taking anything related to Covid-19 seriously and want everyone to remain safe and well and to feel supported.

First and foremost, we strongly recommend that your actions are consistent with the advice being given by the New Zealand Government. Please review them regularly as the situation continues to evolve.

At this stage, we encourage yacht clubs and class associations to consider the advice available and make decisions on whether they remain open and host events based on what is best for their club. It might be different for clubs and classes who have fleets of predominantly single-handed dinghies to those with larger crews on keelboats, due to the guidelines around social distancing.

While the situation is changing rapidly, at this point in time, clubs and classes can continue to operate within the guidelines set out by the Government. The recommended guidelines are to avoid gatherings of more than 100 people. Our sport is one which can be enjoyed at safe social distances following consideration of on-water and off-water issues but, again, clubs and classes need to decide what is best for them given their unique situation.

We will be updating our website regularly, and will continue to communicate on our social media channels. Some events and courses have already been cancelled or postponed and you can find the latest information here. Please email if you have any information regarding your event or club. 

For the time being, the office at Yachting New Zealand remains open for business, with some working from home 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. We have put plans in place should we need to work remotely but we are always available should you need any assistance, advice or guidance. Your regional support officer is there to help you and might be able to offer guidance in the first instance. You can find the contact details of Yachting New Zealand staff here.

To help guide clubs and class associations through this time, here are some considerations to help you shape your decisions: General:

  1. Communicate with your members - keep them informed as your situation evolves and changes
  2. Advise all members, staff and volunteers who are showing any type of illness or who have been overseas recently to stay away from the club
  3. Decide whether to remain open in a limited capacity over winter or close
  4. Consider your volunteers and avoid calling on those who are at risk or in the older age brackets
  5. Review your plan regularly based on the most recent information. Every indication is that restrictions will affect clubs and classes for several months

On water:

  • Consider the proximity of people on board. As an example, 10 crew on a yacht won’t be able to meet the 1.5m social distancing requirements, but a single-handed dinghy will
  • Make racing non-pointscoring. 
  • Regattas / championships bring large groups of people together - consider postponing or cancelling. Yachting New Zealand made the difficult decision to cancel the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta but will be holding coach-led racing instead which doesn’t require volunteers or race officers.
  • Any briefings or communications can be done online and sailors can meet on the water.


  • Comply with the indoors and outdoors limits. This should include cancelling courses or training activities that have groups of people in the same room for extended periods.
  • Use cashless payments to minimise personal contact.
  • If you decide to continue to operate, consider increasing spaces between tables and reduce the number of chairs in bars and restaurants.
  • Conduct your committee meetings by video / teleconference.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning common areas.

We are a resilient and resourceful nation and those qualities are more important now than at any other time in our lives. I’d like to assure you that supporting you, our members and partners, is our primary focus at this time. Remember:

  • Stay informed and stay safe
  • Use good hygiene practises
  • Stay healthy
  • Wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Keep your distance
  • Support local and small businesses
  • Stay in regular contact with your members

Above all though, look after each other and we will get through this together.

Kind regards David Abercrombie Yachting New Zealand chief executive