What’s happening to international sailing because of COVID-19?
Just like many sports around the world, the international sailing circuit has been put on hold.
Events such as the 2020 Youth World Sailing Championships have been cancelled outright, thanks to the likelihood of continuing travel restrictions, and to protect the wellbeing of athletes, coaches and other individuals involved.
The Youth Worlds typically attracts young sailors from more than 60 countries around the world. And, it’s not the first international sailing event to hit the dust. So, when can we expect international sailing comps to launch again?
We took time out to investigate what’s happening to the international sailing circuit in the wake of COVID-19.
Uncertain times for pro sailors
Right now, international sailing comps have been put on hold. This is largely because of international travel restrictions, and to protect the health of participants. As a result, international sailing comps have become impossible to run.
Sail World News mentions the possibility of holding international events among small groups who have the capacity to create a ‘borderless bubble’ – like Australia and New Zealand. However, nothing that we know of is in the works.
So, when will international sailing competitions restart?
What the experts say
Tip & Shaft, a French sailing newsletter, spoke with Andrew McIrvine – the Secretary General of the International Maxi Association and consultant vascular surgeon at three prominent hospitals in the UK.
McIrvine says the real problem is ‘cross border stuff’, as crews cannot physically get to international regatta locations.
“At the moment Copa del Rey is on. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda have cancelled their programme to the end of June, but they have said nothing about the Swans and the Maxis,” he said.
“I see RORC saying they will try and run the IRC Nationals in September as nonsense – raising peoples hopes with no factual basis. The best thing is to say what you are cancelling, and leave it at that.”
McIrvine says he feels for pro sailors at the moment, as they don’t know what is going to happen in the future.
“Some of them have called me to say, ‘Please, please run something for the Maxi Worlds we need to feed our families’,” he said.
“I think we might be writing-off this season and hope to God by April things have settled down, or we have a vaccine.”
Verse pro-sailors online instead
Some professional and recreational sailors are getting their racing fix from Virtual Racing. World Sailing and Virtual Regatta has released an eSailing World Championship app, which pits sailors against the best in the world.
Okay, it’s not exactly the same as racing in real life or watching the action from a screen, but it’s actually pretty fun – and you can learn a lot about strategy along the way. There are seven qualification events, with respective winner securing a place in the eSailGP Grand Final on 14 August 2020.
Finalists sail eF50s – the fastest sail boat in the SailGP. Courses are designed to mimic iconic locations, including the Sydney Harbour, San Francisco and New York. The next qualifier is scheduled from the 9 June, with the final in virtual New York on 16 June.
What’s changed in your state or territory?
For those of us content to enjoy the water recreationally, it’s exciting to hear that regulations are easing in states and territories around Australia. If you’re not sure what that means for you, we recommend checking out the Australian Sailing Resources website, which provides a state-by-state breakdown of current restrictions.
Are you covered in real life?
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Contact us for more information, and if you’re out on the water, please stay safe.