Back to Rowing at Marconi
Elettra is back!
Well, she didn’t actually go anywhere, but then again neither did we for a while! She was put away after last winters racing season in March and the Harkers Yard Gig Association (HYGA) agreed to cancel the next 2020/21 winter racing series.
We have used the down time over the last few weeks to bring her and all her equipment back to ‘as new’ condition, quite important for a wooden boat.
The governing body responsible for agreeing unlocking measures with government is British Rowing. Their Olympic Chief Medical Officer & Coach were part of the team which helped government agree to include rowing in their return to outdoor sport.
Phased Return to Rowing
Unlocking has progressed from no rowing, through individual or family groups rowing through to the following steps:
- Phase A allowed only individual rowers and own boats
- Phase B allowed individual rower, club boats (we don’t have any 1-seaters!)
- Phase D Effective 1st August allowed 2 rowers, coxless.
- Phase E Effective 15th August, and upgraded after our clarification request from ‘2 + Cox’ to ‘full crew’ of our HY gig
- Phase F Effective 28th August allowing up to 8 rowers + Cox and full crew Cornish Gigs (6 + cox)
- Phases G & H will begin to allow progression towards low key small racing events, but we (the HYGA & MSC) have yet to start to discuss what we might opt to allow.
So in general the story for Rowing is not greatly different from the RYA stance for sailing.
I have worked as Chairman of the HYGA to agree risk assessments for the recent stages and what mitigating measures we will take, we have chosen to work on the safe side of British Rowings’ guidance.
Phase E Risk Assessment has been agreed by the MSC board as well, (it can be found online in our ‘members area ’http://www.marconi-sc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/MSCP446-Phase-F-Covid-19-Risk-Assessment-Rowing.pdf ), so we can now row as a team of 4 + Cox + Passenger following the mitigating procedures which rely on individuals providing their own gloves, glasses, bandana style neckerchiefs to pull up as masks where distancing determines, under the supervision of myself or nominated coxswain, cleaning regimes. We have also chosen to limit our pace to a cruising pace of a maximum 16 strokes per minute to reduce risks of exhaling aerosols or others inhaling them deeply (this is less than half the pace of racing).
Lastly, Track & Trace is carried out by our Team App, on smartphones, tablets or computers.
As well as new software we have the full contact details for each rower, and each event is logged along with each rower logging themselves on to the trip or event.
We can now enjoy a bit of exercise afloat rowing in our lovely estuary, and are starting with gentle ‘cruising’ type rows, around the cans to also practice manoeuvres again, round Osea or to the seals and we will build up to trips to Maldon or round the Ross’s Revenge.etc.
Want to Try Rowing?
So should anyone else wish to try rowing, do contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get you logged on and out with us to try rowing, we can make sure you have a gentle & enjoyable introduction.
We don’t yet know how or when we can begin to interact with other clubs yet, as our usual events would quickly exceed the ‘mass gathering’ limits at the moment, but we could as always do with a few more ladies to help build our numbers ready for when we do begin to race, probably next year I’d guess.
The HYGA fleet is now approaching 20 Gigs, each with Ladies, Mens & Mixed crews, so like every other walk of life we’ve got a way to go yet before we can be “back to normal”.