Some good news….some bad news…04/06/2021
First, let us get the bad news out the way.
We have very reluctantly decided that we cannot run the regatta to Jersey and Paimpol as planned. The easing of travel restrictions is clearly not going as well as we’d all hoped and it is already apparent they won’t be relaxed sufficiently by early July for the regatta to sail to France and The Channel Islands.
For us to be able to sail to the Channel islands and France all territories concerned need to be mutually green under their traffic light schemes and the PCR testing requirements need to be either removed or made affordable. With the rise of the Indian variant making France ban all but essential travel from Britain, there is clearly a long way to go before we get to that situation, and the Channel Island also remain problematic with the need to quarantine on arrival and return. We had planned to wait for the UK government review of travel restrictions due on June 7 th , but as it is now clear that isn’t going to give us the green light we need, we have brought the decision forward to give everyone concerned clarity on what will be happening without further delay. We know there will be a second government review on June 28 th that could possibly give the green light, but that is too near to the start of the regatta, and that now looks less likely to relax the rules sufficiently.
It is with a heavy heart that we have made this decision, as it is a big disappointment for all of us wanting to get across the Channel, and to our friends organising things in Jersey, our organising team in Paimpol and most importantly to our French competitors (we have 27 pre-registered) who almost certainly won’t be able to come to England for what follows…
But now for the good news….all is not lost!
We have been working on contingency plans for some time and have been able to put together a really good alternative programme with a series of races here in the Westcountry – we are calling it The Classic Channel Regatta (Westcountry Variant) – the antidote to Covid, it’s life affirming and the only side effect is a serious itch to get to sea! We are still putting the finishing touches to it, but here’s an outline of the programme:
- Dartmouth Classics: racing unchanged and as published. The only difference is that our base ashore will be mostly in Coronation Park to give more room to spread out – and the crew
supper will be in the park.
- July 8/9: Overnight Eddystone passage race Dartmouth – Fowey. The course will be round virtual marks to roughly replicate the Channel Race it replaces.
- July 9: After a morning arrival, rest of the day in Fowey with an evening supper-party in Gallants SC. The Gallants is a very friendly club with a great atmosphere – their chef is promising a really good informal supper-cum-bbq and we hope to have a shanty group for a sing.
- July 10: Passage race Fowey – Plymouth. The plan is for boats to anchor in Cawsand Bay in Plymouth Sound after racing until the afternoon when they will sail up the River Tamar to Saltash Sailing Club, also very friendly club in a great riverside location where we’ll have another informal evening supper-cum-bbq party with live music.
- July 11: Passage race Plymouth – Falmouth, evening free in Falmouth.
- July 12: End of regatta prizegiving and bbq lunch on the lawn at the Royal Cornwall YC – a lovely venue to finish at.
After this organised programme, and for those who want, there could be an informal cruise- in-company to the Helford River, and if the weather is settled, perhaps onwards to the Isles of Scilly.
Harbour dues at Dartmouth for July 5/6/7, and hopefully (if the budget allows) at Fowey on July 9 will be included in the entry fee. Saltash Sailing Club are providing a mix of pontoon berths, vacant members’ moorings and anchoring in the river, all at no charge. Falmouth will also be a mix of alongside berths, visitors moorings and anchoring off the Haven – Falmouth harbour dues will not be included and will need to be paid at the time as we won’t know what type of mooring/anchoring each boat will be directed to and charged for until arrival.
We think this has all the makings of a really great regatta – with a wonderful coastline and lovely ports to add to the enjoyment – and while Cornish croissants might not be as good as
French ones, the beer is better!
We have no limit on the number of boats we can accept at Dartmouth, but we are limited to no more than 50 boats for the rest of the regatta, apportioned equally between classes 1&2 and 3&4. Because of this, we regret we may not be able to accept all pre-registered boats that want to come for the whole regatta, so we will be accepting confirmed entries in the order they are received. (We have 78 British boats pre-registered, but from experience not all will enter, so it may just about balance out at 50.) However, to ensure you get a place, it is imperative that you return your entry form and payment as soon as you can after receiving the form by email. We will be sending the forms out next week to all pre-registered boats and will send a notification by email 24 hours ahead of them going out to give you the heads up.
Unfortunately, there is still one COVID related fly in the ointment that could scupper even this alternative regatta plan, and that is the ‘rule of 30’ for people gathering outside. That is due to be removed on June 21 with an announcement on June 14. Boris has nailed his colours to the mast saying he will not back-track on that commitment, and let’s hope he won’t, but there is clearly now some doubt lingering over the decision. The social side of the regatta is its beating heart (while the racing is its backbone) and if we can’t all gather together, then the life goes out of the regatta, in which case we will cancel the regatta altogether. We are optimistic that won’t happen, but if it does, then we will promptly refund all monies paid.
We feel this is a great alternative programme promising great racing and a lot of fun ashore – all we need is the weather to smile on us and the government to relax the rule of 30 – so it’s a case of touch wood, scratch a stay, turn three times and may the Lord and saints look kindly on us.
Once again, we’ll let you know in a few days’ time when the entry forms are about to go out.
With best wishes
The Regatta Organising Team