Yacht clubs have been working out their own COVID-19 guidelines to meet the state’s standard and racing is getting back in full swing.
MARINA DEL REY— Despite a series of hoops to jump through, yacht clubs and their members have been determined to get back to racing. Many yacht clubs throughout Los Angeles County have resumed a full schedule of regattas with some modifications to their normal operations, including in many cases, no in-person skipper meetings or gatherings after events.
“I think we’ve proven, at Los Angeles Yacht Club, we’ve proven there’s a pent-up demand to race,” said Tom Trujillo, who is on the board of directors at Los Angeles Yacht Club.
The Small Craft Harbor Commission sent a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in October 2020, campaigning for the board to implement a protocol for recreational boating similar to the re-opening recreational boating protocol implemented in San Diego County in September 2020. In the letter, the SCHC included a draft protocol, outlining measures that included avoiding gatherings such as skippers’ meetings and award presentations; cleaning measures; logging guests for contact tracing; and requirements that the protocols be posted at public launch ramps, marinas, sailing clubs, and yacht clubs; among others.
“I know firsthand this protocol works very well because my boat is actually moored in San Diego and I sail out of that harbor frequently,” said Anne Eubanks, vice commodore of the Southern California Yachting Association, at the April 14 SCHC meeting
The Board of Supervisors has not acted on the proposal. Mark Hansen, the government and community relations chair for the association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs and government relations chair for the Southern California Yachting Association, told the SCHC at its April 14 meeting that sailboat racing is opening in a very inconsistent manner.
“The boating is going on and we’re not providing the guidance that I think we should be providing,” said Hansen at the meeting.
Hansen has sent several letters to the Board of Supervisors requesting approval of the protocol. Hansen said in one letter that an unintended consequence of the lack of a county boating protocol is host clubs are writing their own rules and protocols, some more comprehensive than others.
“The result is that, when boaters travel from harbor to harbor within Los Angeles County, there is no consistent county protocol for them to reference,” wrote Hansen in the letter.
The Los Angeles County Health Department confirmed to the Log that youth and adult sailing races and regattas fall under the department’s “Reopening Protocols for Youth and Adult Recreational Sports.” Sailing however, is not directly mentioned in the protocol.
A representative from the county health department was invited to speak at the April 14 SCHC meeting but that did not happen.
“I am disappointed that we did not hear anything from public health at this meeting, I was told they were invited and as everyone knows we sent a letter to them six months ago with suggested protocols that were sent to us by several organizations… and we’ve not heard a response from public health formally to that. Do they like these protocols? Do they not like these protocols? We endorsed them and we’d like to hear back from public health,” said SCHC Vice Chair David Lumian.
Trujillo said the lack of county-wide guidelines has not affected Los Angeles Yacht Club. He said they have been following the plans and tiers published by the county and have produced their own COVID protocols based on those guidelines.
“All NORs, Notice of Races, sailing instructions, they all have a preamble that states what our COVID stuff is. We’ve even gotten to the point of how many people are on a committee boat,” said Trujillo.
He said their COVID protocols have been working out for them and racers are glad to be back to racing.