May 29, 2020

Dear Members,

Greetings from Chatham. We have never had a summer like the one this is shaping up to be!  The one that may come the closest dates back to 1967, when our solid fill pier - now Chief’s Pier - was being constructed and the sailing school operated off the Morris Island causeway. The main focus of last Saturday’s Memorial Day board meeting was the viability of Sailing School. Our Sailing School President, David Leary, Director Maryann Smith, and Program Director Chris Beard presented reports and board members weighed in via Zoom with questions and valuable input.  With safety precautions for students and staff at the forefront, the board approved moving forward with plans to open our sailing school.  David, Maryann, Chris and Head Instructor, Zoe Carlson, in consultation with the board are moving ahead with planning.

Safety, Separation and Sanitation. Wash stations will be set up on the club property.  We ask that members, guests and children wash their hands frequently and wear masks, buffs, or face coverings while at the club. Additionally, State regulations require that we all maintain a 6’ social distance with non-family members.  We ask that parents team with Club leadership and staff to support our new structures related to safety, social distancing and sanitation.

Racing and Social Events. On the racing front, most Southern Massachusetts regattas, including our Opti Regatta, will not take place, thus curtailing our traditional sanctioned regatta schedule.  However, we plan to run local racing series, including a new 21+ series. The majority of our social events will not happen this summer. Vice Commodore Regina Shakin and her Social Engagement Committee will monitor and evaluate whether ‘distanced’ Fun Days or socials are possible, depending on the evolution of the Commonwealth’s phases and related guidelines.

Clubhouse. The Clubhouse has new floors, window treatments, cushions, and a refrigerator upgrade. Additionally, the bathrooms have been renovated, each with a new sink, counter, and loo.  Thanks to Julia and Mark Casady for seeding this project and to Vice Commodore Shakin for overseeing the work. There will be heightened scrutiny around cleaning the clubhouse and bathrooms this summer.

Wharf and Boathouse. Planning continues to move along. We have selected Robert B. Our to construct our wharf in the early fall. We received 8 bids from local contractors to construct the boathouse.  A subset of the Boathouse and Wharf Group reviewed the bids this afternoon with our architects and engineers. We plan to study the bids and select our boathouse contractor shortly.  On June 4, we will appear before the State Board of Appeals seeking a variance for our boathouse and hope for a positive outcome.

Directory. Thanks to all members who updated their contact information on the website.  Rear Commodore, Chris Ritchie and Dawson Ritchie have been hard at work recording changes for the Directory, which will soon go to print.

Optimism and Gratitude. In June, Rear Commodore Chris Ritchie will organize the launch some of our fleet. We hope to make the stand-up paddleboards and certain club boats available to members for use.  Basic rules will be circulated and posted, and sign ups and waiver details forthcoming.  Important to remember that we have a community of volunteers who have essentially twice planned out the summer of 2020; it is essential that members abide by guidelines, assist with supervision and be patient and understanding with volunteers and staff. The board will continue to communicate regularly, and we will share plans and policies as they evolve. 

On behalf of the officers and board, we look forward to a fun and safe summer ahead. 

The Crab Marches On!

Drew Carlson


Below, please read an important letter from Sailing School President, David Leary.

Good news! The Sailing School is planning to open this summer. No more virtual learning...sun, sand, water and boats! Please register now so that SHSS can plan for class sizes and health/safety logistics. Our registration deadline is June 15 but we may face state mandated class size limits, so we recommend registering now to increase the likelihood of getting a space. Watch for more information in the coming days about the types of changes we will need to make. The journey to opening remains fluid while we await additional state guidance applicable to programs like ours. To keep families as up to date as possible and share a bit about the types of things we are addressing, please check out our new SHSS COVID planning web page through this COVID-19 Updates. We will update that information as things develop so check back regularly. About the only certainty is that things will change as we move toward July and much of this will be out of hands. Key points:

Fun, Friends and Skills. Our program will be different but fun, friendship and skill building will remain central.

Lots of Planning with Experts. In consultation with medical experts, US Sailing and in collaboration with peer organizations, we are finalizing changes to our classes and curriculum to provide social distancing and to implement other measures to protect students, staff and members.

Singled Handed Sailing. Single handed sailing through the Opti will be introduced in our Seamen and Mates classes this year to allow social distancing. Peer programs are doing the same and many have taught young children in the Opti for years. Chris Beard has experience from prior programs doing this and we are excited about the possibilities. Our staff ratios will make this experience safe, fun and empowering.

Face Coverings. We will provide students and staff with one sailing buff to use as a face covering, but we encourage families to purchase additional sailing/sun buffs. All students, staff, family members and caregivers will be required to wear a face covering while at SHYC this summer. Come prepared with extras!

Class Schedules & Change. We will share more detailed information about our class schedule as soon as possible. Our plan is to offer our classes using the same Monday-Friday schedule currently in place, but some of that might change as we get state guidance and have more information about enrollment. In addition to our work moving classes toward single handed sailing, we are planning for the types of things we expect Massachusetts’ upcoming guidance to require such as teaching in small groups and managing the number of people on campus at any one time through staggered start times. Some of this information will change up to and, perhaps, following opening day. Please bear with us. We know it isn’t convenient for families, but we hope the chance to be on the water and get away from computer screens will make up for the inevitable challenges.

Some Early Class Changes. While we are very hopeful about the summer, our focus at the start of the program will be on core morning and afternoon classes where we think we can most successfully engage in social distancing. At this time, we will not start the summer with our morning or afternoon adult sailing classes. Our experts have told us that adults and children should not mix on site, placing multiple adults in a Day Sailer does not allow social distancing and we are not able to place our staff in boats with students to teach. If things change over the course of the summer, we will re-visit this decision. Likewise, our Hermit class presents significant challenge in achieving social distancing; because of the very young age of the students, their lack of sailing skill and the requirement that we keep our staff separate from students. But we are looking at alternatives that might allow some of our youngest students to come to campus with a parent. Stay tuned. Also, for now, the lunch program and weekend hours, and the Opti for Seamen and Intro to 420 class are on hold.

420 Racing & Skippers. Because our 420 program does not require us to place staff in the boats, our experts have indicated that we can offer the Skippers and 420 Race Team classes. We will share more information about special protocols for these classes in the future.

Registration & Refunds. For now, please register only for Session 1, Session 2 or the full summer. Weekly registration will not likely be possible this year. Depending on state guidance, we may need to cap class enrollment and those who have registered earliest will be prioritized. If, after a family has registered, we reduce our rates before opening as a result of a delayed start date or material program changes, any difference can be refunded. We also know your lives are in flux and will have a generous refund policy until we open, and the program is finalized. If you have registered already for the Hermits class or the morning adult instruction class and would like a refund, please let us know.

Medical Issues. Whether to participate in sailing at SHSS this summer is a decision that every family should make in consultation with their health care providers and taking into account their own unique circumstances. Our insurance carriers have required that we implement new COVID-specific waivers and we will share them for signature soon.

Financial Support. Like most Junior Sailing programs across the US, SHSS intentionally operates at a loss each year to remain as accessible as possible. We are planning for a bigger loss this year as a result of COVID compliance and your support would make a difference. If you can, your support would be appreciated. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so in the registration process or by contacting David Leary at [email protected].

Questions. If you have questions or suggestions, please email Chris Beard at [email protected] and/or David Leary at [email protected].