7th September 2020

Dear Members

Perhaps like many of you, I am increasdingly becoming frustrated at the lack of real consideration for the boating public during the COVID-19 lockdown.

I fully understand the need for great caution, but what I fail to understand is the illogical and unjustified restrictions on perfectly safe activities  that can occur in boats.

With again no clarity from Australian Sailing, I have written to our Australian Sailing -Victorian Manager – Gavin Wall.

I received this via email today:

Dear Commodores, Secretaries and GMs,

As everyone would be well aware the Premier announced the Governments roadmap out of the current COVID-19 restrictions on Metro Melbourne and regional Victoria yesterday.

Over the coming week/s I will be working with the State Government through Better Boating Victoria and Sport and Recreation Victoria to gain clarity on how the proposed roadmap effects sailing in both Metro Melbourne and regional Victoria.

I will put out relevant frameworks and information as it comes to hand to ensure all Victorian clubs are able to update their members and prepare for a return to sailing as soon as possible. In the mean time the following website holds the current information regarding the proposed roadmap.




This is what I sent to him in response:

Dear Gavin

Please point out in your discussions the following:

It makes no sense, that in greater Melbourne I can go shopping at the supermarket and come into contact with potentially 10’s or 100’s of people, with no contact tracing as I will not be in contact for more than 15 mins, and I can do this every day, but I am not allowed to (travel outside of 5km) to:

– go alone in my car by myself to Check that my boat is safely secured in its morning pen and necessary items like the bilge pump, battery charger and fire services are working correctly;

– take my boat out at all, either by myself or with a family member who resides in my household;

– go fishing at all from a boat or on a river or the shore by myself;

– play golf either alone, with a member of my household.

The rules around boating are illogical, and unjustifiable and not supported by any evidence of transmission in that environment.

I can accept clubs not being open to prevent gatherings. 

However, there is no justification to prevent all forms of boating even though there is simply no evidence that boating alone, or with a member of your household is any more dangerous or likely to cause transmission than being in a car or at home together.

In this day and age, yachting competition may take place with no need for any gathering of race officers or crew, with virtual starts, tracking of positions and finishes (TackTracker) remote calculation of results etc. No gathering at a clubhouse is necessary for races to be run. It is not necessary to come into close contact with any other person.

Keel boat races could take place safely with solo or double handed crews, observing social distancing while on board.

The ‘one rule fits all’ approach is shortsighted and unjustified. It engenders ill-feeling towards “government” and causes ordinary people to distrust autocrats who make rules with no understanding of the real world nor any attempt to listen to or understand those to whom they should listen like you as our yachting peak body representative.

That is why it is vital that you make proper representations to those in power on our (the silent boating population’s) behalf.

I suggest that if you want your voices heard, both yacht and power boat members, write to Gavin Wall, CEO Victoria gavin.wall@sailing.org.au, or to the BIA who may be contacted at CEO BIA Victoria

It seems that there is little or no effective lobbying of government on this issue – or maybe we just have an unsympothetic bureacracy – either way, squeeky wheels generally get the WD 40!

“I must go down to the seas again, the lonely sea and the sky….” (John Masefield’s well known poem) – BUT I CAN’T!

Keep Safe…

John Hall