Words from the Commodore



Commodore’s Comments August 2020


Greetings from the helm;


Although the disruption from the pandemic continues to disrupt our racing schedule this summer, I am heartened by the reports of successful sailing camps and “light touch” junior regattas.  In addition, sailing activity at the Club level seems to be picking up.  Although it’s only one data point, I know that the summer dinghy series at the Columbia Sailing Club has enjoyed its highest participation in years, thanks to a combination of promotion and people staying close to home.  I don’t think this is isolated however, based on the anecdotes that I hear from around our region.


Hopefully all of our SAYRA members are US Sailing members, because US Sailing has produced some phenomenal work in the midst of this pandemic amidst challenging work conditions.  Members have received frequent commentaries that are both interesting and informative on a wide range of topics.  In addition, classes that previously had been held in person are now being held virtually – with surprisingly productive results!  One particularly interesting video addresses the issue of diversity in our sport.  It’s a thought provoking topic and I hope you’ll take some time to view it:  https://youtu.be/ilXDqQlg3VQ


I am sorry to announce however, that we have decided to cancel the SAYRA Club Championship this year.  This regatta represents a slightly greater logistical challenge in some respects than other regattas and most certainly requires travel for out of town clubs.  The feedback at last year’s Champs was loud and clear – sailors want more racing, over a two day period and social activity.  Given those guidelines and the hurdles we face, the sentiment was that a great event in 2021 rather than a scaled down competition with limited participation this year, would be the correct choice.  Boo, hiss, but discretion is the better part of valor, so stay tuned for an awesome regatta next year.


The Executive Committee also decided at its last meeting to change the format of the annual Convention to a scaled down version, possibly hosted at a centrally located club or conducted virtually.  US Sailing cancelled its National Sailing Program Symposium slated for Savannah, around which we were going to build our convention.  That led us to the possibility of returning to Hilton Head and the Sonesta.  However, the advance planning required and the uncertainty of attendance make a large gathering a risky proposition from a financial perspective not to mention the health perspective.  Although the infection rate is trending downward and the prospects of a vaccine later this year or early next year are good, no one knows what is going to happen with the pandemic as we enter the colder months.  The unfortunate reality also is that many of our traditional attendees do fall in high risk categories.


The SAYRA Convention has grown over the years from simply a business meeting to an educational session and social gathering.  However, simply executing the business of SAYRA is possible with a scaled down format, whether that is in person, or via Zoom.  The Executive Committee will meet in October to decide which direction to take, so stay tuned.  Obviously this isn’t what we’d hoped for, but we will get through this pandemic and back to our wonderful traditions.


Sail safely and fast!