Message from the ORCV Commodore.  March 18th 2020

Re: ORCV and the Covid-19 restrictions

It is certainly an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on us all. As I write this I am sitting in Inverloch, having yesterday just cut short an NZ sailing holiday to get back to Australia before the borders shut down, I now face two weeks isolation, when I left a week ago, Australian’s main concern was toilet paper supply. For those who are unwell, or who have loved ones who are unwell, or are concerned about vulnerable people close to them, our thoughts are with you.  Similarly, our thoughts are with those whose work, retirement investments and livelihoods have been impacted. The key message is that the ORCV is still open for business, but the way we operate will change and the activities we undertake will also need to change, and perhaps your approach to racing could change too.

Ocean Racing is a pastime we enjoy when times are good. Yacht racing can also be a welcome relief, something to look forward to when times are tough and we have therefore reviewed our programs in the context of the need for sustainable measures which may be significant in the nationwide effort to slow the spread of the virus. The easiest approach for the club to take would be to cancel all events for the foreseeable future. We would like to challenge people to consider alternatives.

At this stage, we will not cancel or postpone racing, unless we are advised to by Governments we believe it is needed for community well being.  We note our previous push for two-handed and four-plus autohelm racing, perhaps that provides a viable alternative for those with concerns. We will review all events and associated plans, most likely curtailing organised post-race functions and limiting competitor interaction. We will consult with competitors but reserve the right to cancel races if competitor numbers are such that a race is not viable. We will conduct the races with increased emphasis on the honesty system to limit requirements for personal interaction and travel. We believe people need and want the opportunity to go sailing and enjoy getting out.

We have decided to postpone all Training related events until authorities indicate it is safe to run them.  Some events like SSSC we are unable to run as the school facilities will not allow it.  Others such as Rip Tour, it is prudent not to have groups spending time together in close proximity, especially given the age demographic of participants and volunteers. We will also limit all club social activities and in-person interactions such as meetings, conducting them online where possible. Our office remains open, however not physically. Our staff will be working remotely so all interactions will be by phone or online.

These policies will be reviewed regularly and any updates will be communicated to the ORCV community via our web site and Facebook Page.  We are fortunate that careful management of the club over a number of years has built up strong financial reserves, these will be used if necessary to ensure stability of employment and the future of the club.

The storm will take a while to pass, but like all storms, it will pass and there will be blue skies ahead. For now, we must batten down the hatches so to speak.

Martin Vaughan

Ocean Racing Club of Victoria (ORCV)