Return to Sailing – COVID Procedures


We would like to invite you to consider getting out sailing with us as soon as you feel able. It will be great to see you out on the water. However, it will have to be either in single-handers or members of same household in a larger dinghy and you will need to be competent to sail that dinghy. When Killington re-opens for group sailing we will hope to cater for all. Instruction and training in dinghy or powerboat at either site will also re-start when we can.

PROCEDURES AND SAFE WORKING PRACTICES during the present phase of COVID 19 guidelines.

These are based on UK COVID 19 guidelines from UK GOV and a wealth of guidance from the RYA. Any member who considers themselves as “vulnerable” must assess the risks for themselves.

They are suggestions as to how we can start with recreational sailing on the bay and keep each other safe from coronavirus. They are considerate and conservative meaning we have consideration for the RNLI and Coastguard rescue services, with whom we have consulted, partly by not being over ambitious in our sailing efforts.

The changing rooms are not available so come changed, use the back of your own car or find an isolated spot in the compound.

The FIRST sailing session will be as much about walking through the procedures with those present as it is about the sailing. Anyone not at that first session should maybe buddy with someone when they first come to sail.

Initially sailing will be inshore, sailing area to be defined on the day. Suggested maximum wind speed as top end of a force 3 (approximately 19 km/h or 12 mph or 10 knots ) with consideration for direction and sea state.

Formal, competitive racing will be considered as a next step.

We must also consider how our whole operation is perceived by the general public. Only members actually involved in the sailing session should be on slipways and in/on race office area to keep our numbers down as a “gathering”. Observe from a greater distance, please.

The safety boat/OD duty list is scrapped and volunteers will be sought.

The Sailing Manager will list all persons involved in the session. If anyone develops symptoms of coronavirus after the session they should contact the Commodore.

These are not rules and regulations. It is appreciated that members will use common sense, goodwill will prevail and we will discuss with each other any actions we are taking.  Amendments can be made as we work through the practicalities as a group.

COVID 19 general guidelines.

Maintain social distancing of at least 2 metres.

Wash hands regularly with soap and water and dry them thoroughly.

Use sanitiser as necessary.

Cover mouth when sneezing or coughing. Dispose of tissues carefully.

Avoid touching any part of the face.

if you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus or have had contact with anyone who is unwell with symptoms the please stay away.


Individual responsibilities.

Although the Club will have in place the means for members to wash hands, sanitise and wipe down surfaces we would ask all members to have on their person sanitiser to use freely to safeguard themselves and the other members.


A Club officer will turn off the alarm system and the front door should remain locked.

The only entry to the premises should be via the side door into the male changing room and this is to use the toilet facilities.

One person at a time. The door will be partly jammed open so that entry can be made by use of foot or elbow and thus there is no need to touch handles. There will be a vacant/engaged sign visible from the parking area at the front of the clubhouse. For security the door into the main room will be bolted on the inside.

Entry to the toilets at other times may require the use of own key with suitable hygiene considerations.

Note: there is no other use of changing rooms and no entry to any other part of the building.

Compound and shed.

Please maintain social distancing. Minimal touching of boats or equipment other than your own. Minimal entry into shed other than to assist. Maintain hygiene protocols and hand washing facility available.

Dinghies/helm including those in Club dinghies.

Please arrange to have a painter and your own separate towline. Consider where you would attach a towline from the patrol boat or if you were to use your own. A tow might also be given by another dinghy.

KNIFE.          Some form of face covering e.g. snood, scarf.             Sanitiser.

You should be able to get back into your dinghy after a capsize and please consider any modifications to assist this. Consider masthead buoyancy.

Your dinghy should be in good working order.

It is advised that you stay in the sailing area and be aware of what is going on around you at all times.

Remember it is your decision as to whether you sail or not given the wind strength and sea state on the day

Launching/recovery of dinghies.

Buddy system but socially distanced. Best practice would be to only handle your own trailer with buddy minimally holding both dinghies. S/M could assist by holding a dinghy or handling a trailer by the stem or use of a sling. If assistance is needed to pull a dinghy up the slip owner pulls trailer and someone else pushes from the stern.

Cover by Merlin.

The Club will have Merlin on the water for the Club organised sailing sessions. It will essentially be acting as a patrol boat and co-ordinating the session. Assistance will be available to maintain the safety of sailors and recovery of their dinghy.

Cover by Sailing Manager (S/M)

Opening up and locking of race office at end.

May be car driver for launch/recovery of Merlin.

Liase with general public.

Be kitted-up to wade or to go on Merlin.

To generally manage the sailing session from the shore and be in radio contact with Merlin. To assist on Merlin if there is a more serious incident. To initiate a return of all dinghies to the shore via radio contact with Merlin and/or sounding of the hooter if there is a weather change or incident requiring it.

Might assist with trolleys.


Volunteer single helm or same household pair.

Must feel competent to work alone in assisting those on the water in situations mentioned below.

Controls and patrols the sailing area.

Have some form of face mask/covering.

Carry own whistle for attracting attention or to assist starting of any informal racing.

In the event of a capsized dinghy the aim is to get the person back in their own boat. Helm may assist righting of dinghy from mast head. May hold dinghy head-to-wind with painter. In exceptional circumstances and with both persons wearing face cover adopt any suitable method to help them get back in their dinghy which both persons feel comfortable with.

If it is necessary to tow someone back to shore they should be in their own dinghy (sails suitably released) and towed astern (not alongside) using the patrol boat towline or dinghy towline.

IF A DINGHY HAS TO BE ABANDONED there is a small anchor and line in the front compartment of Merlin which can be attached to the painter of the dinghy and thrown overboard. The anchored dinghy can be recovered later.

IF THERE IS A MORE SERIOUS INCIDENT liase with S/M for an immediate return to shore of all dinghies and in the case of a single Merlin helm he/she could return to a slipway to pick up the S/M or a dinghy sailor to assist you. Alternatively pick up a dinghy helm at sea and anchor their dinghy for recovery later.

PREPARATION of Merlin………it should be fuelled at the end of each session! Usual checks on kit and engine running done solo except for distanced help in manoeuvring. Hitching to car a distanced operation between helm and car owner driver.

LAUNCHING AND RECOVERY OF MERLIN… shared driving of the car. Follow usual procedures whilst maintaining distancing and involving the least number of people.

BACK AT THE SHED….Merlin should be re-fuelled, hosed down and hours logged. With Dettol surface cleaner spray and disposable cloth, the control and seating areas of Merlin should be wiped ( even though Merlin may well be unused longer than the 72 hours required for the virus to die anyway).


Careful organisation needed so that kit needed for your dinghy from the shed is selected with minimal handling of any other kit or equipment. Check you have everything you need before leaving the compound.

At the end of your session leave everything but the sails with the dinghy. Using the Dettol surface cleaner and disposable cloth wipe down all the surfaces of the dinghy which you have been in touch with. Replace cover. Leave for nature to take its course!

Personal kit from the kit store can only be supplied by a Club officer….if sailing regularly we may give it to you on loan for the season. If a one-off it will need to be washed off in the sink in the shed and then hung up in there, unused for 72 hours.


A Club officer will arrange for suitable cleaning of all areas used after each session.


The Commodore and Committee (June 2020).


Risk Assessments