Ripon Sailors Beat Lockdown Blues on the Crest of a Virtual Wave!
Posted: Tue, 19 May 2020 09:50
Ripon Sailing Club in North Yorkshire is maintaining its thriving community spirit during the Coronavirus pandemic with a packed virtual schedule which has moved a whole variety of its regular activities online – including racing!
From e-sailing and fitness to quizzes and coaching, Ripon SC is offering members a wide range of opportunities to stay in touch and have fun despite lockdown restrictions having prevented them from meeting at the club or getting on the water as usual.
Following the government's announcement that watersports are now an allowed form of exercise, inland clubs have to develop new policies and procedures before this can work in practice and so Ripon sailors will be continuing to keep busy with their digital communications and activities.
As Commodore Jamie Kerslake explains: "It's all about offering members that sense of community and continuity. We wanted to keep members engaged and were also taking into account the demographic of our membership. A lot of them were self-isolating and so maintaining social interaction was really important for them."
Using an e-sailing game called Virtual Regatta and a Zoom subscription, Ripon SC has been successfully running its committee meetings, club racing, coaching and training, fitness circuits and socials online, with members aged one through to 80 taking part. There is so much going on that the club has also launched a new weekly e-newsletter.
Ripon SC's innovative online activities have brought together all ages and even enabled members to make new friends – older members have been having great fun racing the children online, with youth and experience finding a level playing field!
Only limited recreational sailing for small numbers will be allowed in the foreseeable future to maintain social distancing. The club is looking forward to when it can once again see all of its members in person and welcome the wider community to join its on-the-water activities and training courses.
Mr Kerslake added: "We are extremely lucky to have a proactive volunteer committee that are contributing to the future of the club - many of whom are working themselves. Our committee are working hard alongside the wider regional RYA team to adapt our processes and return to the water. In the short term this means adapting our sport to meet social distancing guidance and in the longer term we will be looking at how we can safely deliver racing, training and coaching as well as welcome new members to learn to sail."