Whilst the voyages on Outdoor Girl are all about sailing in the fresh air with no cabin and small group sizes of 3 or less, here are some of the mitigating measures we will be taking to keep you safe during the coronavirus crisis.
1. Your health and the skippers
We encourage you to use track and trace app (when it is working!) to make sure you have not inadvertently been near an infected person prior to your holiday. Outdoor Girl’s skipper will do the same.
if you are in any doubt about your own health, or you know you have been in a high risk environment then please talk to us before your trip. The voyage must not go ahead if there is any doubt about guest or skipper being exposed to anyone with or showing symptoms of coronavirus. We will be asking you to re-confirm this just before your voyage.
We have adjusted our cancellation terms for Outdoor Girl whilst Covid is still a disrupting influence. If you or Outdoor Girl’s skipper has to cancel due to covid, refunds or transfers will be prompt.
Skipper Debbie has a season to run so she will not be participating in activities with a high infection risk between voyages. To her advantage, she lives in a remote area. Her partner is over 70, so she would not do anything to jeapodise guest safety and hopes that guests are prepared to protect her and her family.
1. Social distancing, contact surfaces and handwashing
For experienced sailors, Debbie will run an ‘almost solo’ style of sailing where you can run the working end of the boat (stern to mast). Whilst the overall responsibility is Debbie as a professional skipper and yachtmaster instructor, what she is aiming to do is coach and encourage you to experiment with different skills, as if the boat was a bare boat hire, or a boat you had just purchased and were getting to know.
With your agreement, she will brief you on how the spritsail rig and safety equipment works, and then allow you to sail the working end of the boat (Your social distance space for solo sailor (or a team of 2) is the tiller and middle part of the boat aft of the main mast, whilst she keeps an eye on you from the bow area. In an emergency Debbie can also drop anchor or hand the mainsail and jib from her end and she is also in the best place to keep a lookout forward.
For beginners or the not so confident, a 2 day taster can be run with Debbie on the tiller on the first morning to show you the skills you need to sail Outdoor Girl yourself or as a couple. After a stop, the boat surfaces can be washed down and you can have a go in the ‘hot seat’ whilst Debbie instructs from 1-2 metres away. She started her sailing career in youth work where all the professional crew had to keep their hands in their pockets and let the trainees do everything, so hands free instruction comes easy to her.
Face to face briefings on the possible itinerary will be done with regard to social distancing before you get on board, or ashore during breakfast at the overnight stops. You will have your own waterproof (wipe clean) chart and tidal information.
Things like ropes are impossible to ‘wash’ but the sails are small and a single person can hoist them on their own without huffing and puffing all over the ropes. Frequent handwashing will be encouraged. There will be gel handwash, but the sea is so close you can easily wash your hands whilst seated on board.
2. Face masks if you prefer
Whilst the plan is to keep at a social distance, the sea and weather can fling up unexpected scenarios where you get closer than a metre. If you prefer everyone on board can wear a face covering, including the skipper. A buff neck scarf with extra elastic, kept around your neck, but handy as an easy mouth and nose cover when needed.
This is only meant as a back up precaution for people showing no symptoms of covid, and believing they have not been in contact with anybody who might be infected before the voyage. If there is any doubt the sailing should not go ahead.
2. Accommodation overnight – Are you brave enough to camp?
The price of these voyages is set to include meals and camping overnight. You will have your own 2 person tent if you are coming solo, or sharing the tent with a member of your household or bubble. There are full details of these mountaineering style tents in the accommodation section. The skipper has her own tent.
You can opt to camp on Outdoor Girl under the boat tent instead of ashore, but during Covid the skipper will have to be sure she can get to you in the boat quickly if she is social distancing in a tent ashore. Two people from same household can sleep on the boat. It is very romantic and more spacious than a tent, but there is not room to social distance. The boat is 6ft wide (183cm). Tent is 136cm wide with full mosquito net doors.
3. Camping or Glamping not for you?
If you really don’t want to camp and you are prepared to book more conventional accommodation ashore, Debbie is happy for you to come back in the morning and carry on with the next day sailing. There is no reduction in price, but we can probably give you a lift back to your hotel or cottage. Please let us know where you are staying when you book. Cottages, campsites ashore and hotels may be very oversubscribed this short summer due to the lockdown.
Debbie will cook and adhere to standard food hygiene requirements. As a covid precaution a cutlery/crockery set will be yours for the trip and your responsibility to wash.
Wild swimming and washing can be combined. Eco friendly soap products please if you bring your own toiletries.
As well as soap and seawater we will have hand gel, but please bring your own if you have a preferred brand of sanitiser that you are comfortable with using.