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Statement from the OK Dinghy Class on the situation with COVID-19 and its events schedule

by Robert Deaves 3 Apr 2020 06:12 PDT
Start of Race 7 - Swedish OK/Finn National Championship © Robert Deaves

This is not the year we all planned. Due to the worsening situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) we are seeing events cancelled worldwide, therefore the OK Dinghy International Association Executive Committee decided to be pro-active and make some tough decisions.

At the moment, we think that travelling should not be encouraged, and international events should not be taking place until such time as they will be open and accessible for everyone. We acknowledge there is a possibility that no sailing may take place throughout the entire European season in 2020, but remain hopeful of a window near the end of the year.

OKDIA understands the significant impact that the coronavirus is having on many people both in terms of their own and their family's health and livelihoods, as well as with disrupted sailing schedules. As much as we love OK Dinghy sailing, we need to be sensible and pragmatic about what is possible. While many events have and are being cancelled, the Committee is regularly reviewing the season and revising its plans and responses in the context of the potentially devastating effect this disease may have on clubs and communities around the world.

We also recognise that once this crisis is over, organising international events will not be a top priority for everyone, or easy, and that there will be long term economic and travel difficulties for everyone. However OKDIA is standing by to swiftly adjust schedules and reorganise events in a responsible way, with a considered approach to take into account everyone's safety and well-being.

The OKDIA committee meet and discuss the current situation at regular intervals by email or teleconference, and are in contact with event organisers regarding responses and options, and will continue to advise member countries as soon as any decisions are taken and whenever there is useful information to share.

Up to this point in time, the first half of the European season has either been cancelled or postponed, including the Spring Cup, the European championship and Kiel Week.

Following recent discussions the following has been decided:

  • The World Championship in Marstrand will not take place in 2020. The host club, MSS, together with OKDIA, and the Swedish association decided that it is neither in the interest of the competitors nor feasible for the organisers to hold a world championship this year. Additionally, the World Championship will not be rescheduled for later this year. Read the club's announcement here. OKDIA is working to offer the MSS the first free slot in the calendar to try again.

  • The World Ranking List as it stands at March 2020 is frozen until further notice, most likely until December at the earliest.

  • There have been suggestions that the European Championship should be rescheduled to take place during the Autumn Trophy at Bandol in September. No decision has yet been taken and a decision will not be taken unless the situation with COVID-19 starts to improve. Notwithstanding that fact, no decision will take place until the end of May at the earliest. It will be a pre-condition that the crisis is over and that there are no travel restrictions from any OKDIA Member country in Europe before a decision will be taken to go ahead.

  • The 2020 Euro League is cancelled. In the light of the current global pandemic and the health risk for competitors, the OKDIA Committee decided that it would not be appropriate to try to hold this series this year. But it is very committed to start the Euro League in 2021. OKDIA would like to thank all the sponsors - Allen, Art of Racing, Ceilidh, Ovington, Synergy Marine and Turtle Sails - who generously offered support for this new initiative, but we acknowledge that they will all have other concerns this year. We hope they will all return in 2021, when we will try again.

  • OKDIA will work to establish its calendar of events for the next few years to provide certainty for event organisers and sailors. Some changes are to be expected.

It is an important point for OKDIA, and the class that we all love, that the international events have to be inclusive and accessible to all members, wherever they are in the world. It would not be appropriate to hold true international events while there are any restrictions, so there will be no events in name only.

The committee would also like to thank and acknowledge all our event organisers and supporters who have put in a tremendous amount of work over long periods only to have to make the terrible and sad decision to cancel.

Finally, and above all, please stay at home. If you are able to go sailing, please remember it is not a social event, it is a time for personal exercise only, like going for a run or a cycle (if any of that is allowed in your country). Stay safe and wash your hands and we'll meet again once it is all over.

The OKDIA Committee

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