Like most Sports Clubs, the Covid 19 regulations put a stop to usual activities at Lough Erne Yacht Club. The racing season had not been able to start.

With the possibility of outdoor sports being allowed, the beginning of the season was coming near, but with no gatherings of more than ten, social distancing of two metres and an inability to share surfaces, the normal format of racing with the keel boats was not deemed possible.

Even with single handers there was a problem, for being in a dinghy usually means getting wet, there then being a need for changing room use.

On Saturday June 20, Lough Erne Yacht Club managed to hold our first races, while at the same time adhering to the ‘Covid’ regulations, the actual number congregating being less than ten.

Three Hansa 303’s took to the water under the appropriately distanced supervision of the acting Race officer, John McCrea.

One was crewed by a single household pair, one by a ‘bubble’ pair and one went solo.

After time getting used to the unusual steering of the boats, three races were held in Goblusk Bay with a ‘moderate’ breeze, but with many very challenging gusts.

Adam Mitten with Rebecca Ballantine won the first race, their first ever, while races two and three went to Garnet Doherty with grandson Adam.

June Clark came a close third in all races, becoming more disadvantaged as the wind strength increased.

It is hoped to continue this Saturday racing and as numbers of competitors increase, different flights will be organised, ensuring that no more than ten are assembled at one time and enabling time to disinfect surfaces etc before each use.

The Hansa 303’s boats are a recent addition to the club.

Designed for up to a crew of two, the unusual seating arrangement enables access to sailing to those who do not have the ability to easily move about in a restricted space.

They are the main boat used by the Sailability section of LEYC in 2019.

It is hoped that by introducing the boats to sailors, they will then have the experience necessary to be able to volunteer to be a ‘buddy’ sailor, once the covid 19 restrictions are lifted to the extent that enables our 2020 Sailability season to start.