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Ocean sailor Feature

Covid-19’s impact on world sailing

Under the microscope the Covid-19 virus looks like planet earth impregnated with spikes and this image appropriately symbolises the pandemic’s global effect on the world of sailing.

Everywhere you plant a pin on the world a yachting event has been cancelled, postponed or banned.

The list is endless: the America’s Cup World Series, cancelled, the  Tokyo Olympics, cancelled, the TP52 Super Series, Sail GP, Antigua Sailing Week, ARC Portugal….all gone this year.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Clipper Round the World Race has been halted and crews flown home – just in time before flights, too, were cancelled. It won’t be re-started until 2021, which in turn will impact on that year’s event.

The fall-out of alleged bat blood contamination from China has seen yachts abandoned in ports that crews are denied access to.

In France, marinas were turning away visiting yachts – even for fresh water – according to some accounts.

Boat shows, local club racing, regattas and harbour days, too, have all been cancelled and in the UK’s Thames Estuary the Port of London Authority (PLA) ‘recommended’ the thousands of yacht owners in the vast area to leave their craft in their berths or on their moorings, for fear that should the RNLI’s assistance be required their crews maybe in ‘lock-down.’

At least one police force has taken it upon itself to make the ‘recommendation’ a punishable offence. Essex Marine Police have warned any yachtsmen found out in the estuary who refuses to return to his mooring will face a fine.

One enterprising outfit, Ancasta, the boat brokerage company, held a virtual boat show to beat the bug. With staff on hand via video to show visitors around the boats and later to answer emails.

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