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The Classic Channel Regatta Newsletter
Early May 2021

Hello <<First Name>>
 

Will we, wont we, get to Paimpol and Jersey? – and will the French competitors be able to come to Dartmouth? These are the $64,000 questions causing us much crystal ball gazing.

It’s impossible to answer that right now, but the information and mood music coming from both the UK and French governments last week, together with very encouraging data from the scientists on the effectiveness of the vaccines, is leading us to feel more hopeful that we may get there, but it looks as though we aren’t going to know for sure until a matter of days before the start of the regatta.

The two obstacles that need to be removed, or at least relaxed considerably, are the requirements for multiple PCR testing and quarantine. For this to happen the first requirement will be for England, France and Jersey to be aligned in mutually agreed ‘green’ travel zones.

The current policy in Jersey is for people entering from a green zone (England may be divided into different traffic-light zones and you mustn’t have been in an amber or red zone for 14 days before arrival) is a PCR test on arrival and 24 hours quarantine awaiting the results.

They have a walk-in test centre at the ferry terminal in St Helier and the PCR test is free, so the only significant problem here is the quarantine period. However, if we start the Channel Race late in the day on the 8th to arrive in St Helier later on the 9th, the quarantine on board will be for the rest of that afternoon and evening.

The next day we will be at sea racing to the Minquiers and back, so on returning to St Helier the quarantine period will be over. Although not ideal, that does seem manageable, and the hope is that the quarantine requirement will have been removed by July.
Getting into France is looking quite promising with the announcement that no quarantine will be required for people with proof of vaccination or a PCR test.

Most us will have been vaccinated by July, but we are concerned about younger people who may not have been. However, if they have just had a free PCR test in Jersey with a negative result, that should solve the problem.

Further good news from Paimpol is that UK boats in the regatta (and all non-EU boats to be more accurate) and their crews can enter France at Paimpol with no customs formalities. We have been in direct contact with the regional customs office in St Brieuc who have confirmed that all they require from us is crew lists sent to them a few days ahead. Whether they will send an officer or officers up to Paimpol to make checks is unknown, but it is going to be important for skippers to ensure all ships papers and crew lists are in order and accurate.

And we have had clarification from the customs office that all non-EU vessels must fly the yellow ‘Q’ flag on entering French waters and keep it flying until formally cleared by customs (which may or may not happen).
Those of us old enough to remember sailing to the Continent before Britain joined the EEC in 1973 will remember having to hoist the Q flag at the same time as the courtesy flag.

The final Covid related hurdle is the PCR testing requirement and possible quarantine on return to Britain, or for the French, on arrival at Dartmouth. This is a real stumbling block which needs to be removed, or at the very least made free or much more affordable.

So where does that all leave us? The British government have said they will review the rules every three weeks, which means we should get reviews on May 29 and June 19, although they seem to have a policy of leaking beforehand.

The June 19 review is going to be the critical one. Jersey is keeping its policy under constant review with a major review due for July 1, just 5 days before the regatta.

Vaccine Passports. In addition to being a requirement in France, we are watching what may happen in terms of vaccine passports and whether that will influence the ability to transit in/out of the CI’s and the UK without PCR testing. In the meantime we would urge everyone where they can, to avail themselves of a vaccine if offered so that, if required, v-passports can be utilised.

We are not closing off any options and remain hopeful we will be able to run the regatta to Jersey and Paimpol as planned, although a final decision on this may have to wait until quite close to the regatta. If we can’t get to either Jersey or Paimpol, we have a raft of contingency plans to fall back on, including the ultimate fall-back of running the regatta in the Westcountry where we have options on going to Fowey, Plymouth, Falmouth and possibly Salcombe. Information on all our contingency plans was in our last newsletter and is also on the regatta website HERE.

In the meantime we will be sending out the entry forms towards the end of May. These will be based on the premise that we will be able to run the regatta to Jersey and Paimpol as published. Under our normal cancellation policy, there is the option to cancel up to two weeks before the event, and if we have to adopt one of the contingency sailing plans, there will be the option to pull out when the plan is announced, but we very much hope everyone will want to stick with us wherever we go. Whatever happens it will still be a great regatta!

And finally, some sad news just in. Our delightful, ever energetic and highly knowlegeable Race Officer for the last regatta, Stephen Parry, died unexpectedly of a suspected heart attack last Friday (7th May). A lovely guy, a great racing sailor, who had a genuine affinity for classic yachts and their crews which showed in his fondness for the CCR.

Much of the improvement in our race management was down to his professionalism and we were looking forward to working with him for the next regatta where he had been much involved in the planning. He will be greatly missed and we are sending condolences from all at the regatta to his widow Angela (who was the voice on the vhf at race starts) and his family.
Adieu Stephen - RIP.

We’ll send you more news later this month when things may (or may not) be a little clearer.
 

With best wishes

The Regatta Organising Team.
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