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Covid 19 – a message of support from Chichester Harbour Federation

All our members and the wider Chichester Harbour community are impacted by the current Covid 19 situation. The Federation plays many roles in representing the interests of both harbour Clubs and harbour users. At this time many of our Officers and members are engaged in working directly for their Clubs or businesses and other community organisations. In particular, our role on the Conservancy Advisory Committee carries on, albeit in a new ‘virtual’ way. Almost certainly we will play a part in how the harbour opens up again when the Government decide that the time is right to relax or amend the current rules.  

There are many mixed (and often negative) messages coming from the press and social media about the long-term implications of the Virus and, in due course, the Country’s ‘exit strategy’. So, we feel it is important to highlight that our Harbour Clubs and marine business have already shown impressive resolve in responding responsibly to the situation. No-one could have imagined a scenario where all clubs and marinas were forced to close, let alone that recreational boating would essentially be stopped.

We have always believed that our Clubs and organisations were a core part of our harbour community, whether that be for sailing or, like the Friends of Chichester Harbour, looking after our wonderful harbour environment.  So, if one thing positive comes from this, it is that community spirit is everything – and long may it continue.

It is likely that the way in we take our sports and recreation, on and off the water, will take time to get back to normal and there will be challenges ahead. Until now it has been all too easy to take   for granted the unique lifestyle that Chichester harbour and its ANOB offers.  Perhaps it is time
too for us to appreciate and thank all those who, often behind the scenes, run our clubs. Your support and membership in these difficult times makes their efforts worthwhile and greatly enhances each Club’s and the harbour’s ability to recover from this situation. 

It is difficult to know with any certainty the timeline to take us beyond the current lockdown, but following government advice is likely to be the quickest route to navigating our way out of this.

With this in mind, our Harbour Master and the RYA have published advice on their websites so there should be no confusion as to everyone’s responsibilities. Importantly, the RYA have created a dedicated Covid 19 Resource Hub for the sport (see link below).  Whether you are Sailing Club, Training Centre, Marine Business or just a sailor, it contains a wealth of information and legal guidance to try and help organisations mitigate and survive the effects of the current crisis. Updated regularly, we recommend it as an invaluable go-to resource for Clubs and their
officers.

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
https://www.conservancy.co.uk
https://www.rya.org.uk/Pages/Home.aspx

Until we are all able to go back onto the water, please stay safe.

_______________________

We are the oldest of the harbour wide organisations, formed in 1924 when, with only four clubs sailing, the need for regulation to avoid disputes became apparent. Over 90 years later, with 15 active clubs, the harbour is recognised not only as the busiest for dinghy and keelboat racing in the UK, but possibly in the world.  

The number of boats entering for the Fed’s Chichester Harbour Race Week makes it consistently the most well attended open regatta in the country.
 
ChiFed’s stewardship is vital to the smooth organisation of a huge programme of racing in a harbour where over 10,000 boats are registered. By our agreement with the Harbour Master, using the marks listed and adhering to Chifed’s Racing Regulations with an annual programme of racing fixtures agreed,  our member club enjoy a light level of authority which is the envy of clubs elsewhere.
 
Under the 1971 Chichester Harbour Act ChiFed is required to nominate 4 serving members for the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Advisory Committee and 2 Conservancy board members, so we represent our members by playing a key role in managing our harbour and uniquely for any other harbour in the UK, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

 

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