COVID and the CLINIC SCHEDULE – more updates …

COVID and the CLINIC SCHEDULE – more updates …

WINDY UK AUTUMN

In August, as infection rates rose across the UK and Ireland it was soon clear I’d even have to cancel my weeks in rural Donegal – because S.Ireland were insisting on a 2 week quarantine period on entry.
You could legally access from the north – but this was a loophole. Most of the infection in S.Ireland was being spread by those coming from the north. The thought  of the Masterclass infecting locals was not tenable.
Despite news from Mauritius in late summer that they’d be opening their borders to tourists by November, the sudden increase worldwide forced them to reverse the decision. I had no choice  but to postpone  Mauritius (heaven on earth) and then Jeri (Brazil) in January.

However since mid August I’ve run  clinics at Littlehampton, 2 in Mudeford (Dorset), 2 at Bracklesham, 5 at West Wittering and 7 at Portland. Most off them windy and all of them a lot of fun.
But as everyone in retrospect commented, the NON planing days were the most useful.
For those who have engrained bad habits, 10 knots of wind and a big board is the ideal scenario in which to unpick and reassembler the core techniques.
I was especially happy for a Portland posse who did a two day light wind course with under steely blue skies one week; then returned the following week as storm Alex hit – and were able to put all the tweaks into practice with devastating effect. As it was ‘storm Alex’ by the afternoon turned into ‘nice fresh breeze Alex.’

Lockdown pt 2
 There was a hint that because clinics are work and take place outside that we could continue running courses through lockdown – but it wasn’t in the spirit of the law.
However, if the wind stays in the south and west and the temperatures remain in double figures, I will run some ‘Christmas Carving’ days in Portland and West Wittering between early Dec (if allowed) and the New Year.
Watch this space.

2021 and the Vaccine
The arrival of 3 vaccines is shining much light from the end of a very dark tunnel. I’m an eternal optimist and remain ever hopeful that Tobago and the UK will mutually open their borders so I can run my 2 clinics there in Feb and March. At last count there were a couple of places left on each week.
KEEP AN EYE ON THE CLINIC PAGE!
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LOOKING BACK TO WHEN IT ALL STARTED ….

 MARCH LOCKDOWN 2020
By happy chance I managed a full winter clinic schedule to Jeri and then twice to Tobago before we were locked down on 23rd March.

The thinking at the time was that Covid would peter out at the onset of warmer weather or that isolation would do its job and we would be leading near normal lives by the spring.
So in that vein I must admit to have selfishly enjoyed the initial weeks of ‘prison.’
Being self-employed I’d always feel guilty about taking time off – but being FORCED to ‘rest’  meant for the first time in 30 years I could lay back with a clear conscience.
The weather was amazing. All the jobs that had been queuing up for decades to be done ‘when I get around to it’   suddenly got done much to the amazement of my wife … well most of them anyway.
We used to home-school our kids so the ‘work from home’ directive was no big drama for either them or us. For a short period it was a state sponsored holiday.

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Harty Webinar

MAY – and so to Kerry …?
The Irish were taking the pandemic very seriously. I talked with my friend and local contact in Kerry Jamie Knox and he revealed that even after lockdown eased they were limited to teaching groups of 5.. Technically we were allowed to travel to Ireland but it didn’t feel right.
I also talked to Rose Spillane who runs the fabulous Spillanes pub on the shores of Brandon Bay – and she said that she’d love to see the PH Masterclass, but that even the Irish who had travelled to be region to stay in their second homes were getting a very hard time from the locals. So diplomatically this was an easy decision. With a heavy heart I postponed the Kerry clinics to 2021.
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The green green waves of Kerry

JUNE – GREECE – surely…
Summer had seemed such a long way off and suddenly it was upon us. With two separate clinic weeks booked in Rhodes and Vass, the signs looked good, especially since the Greek islands had very low infection rates.
However, we were to be hit by a double whammy.
Neislon with whom I run my Vass week, decided that the cost of re-equipping the centre, and shipping out staff and instructors for a short six week season, wasn’t worth it and postponed all operations in Vass for 2020. Then the UK government advised against all non essential travel until July.
With both my Greece clinics scheduled for June, once again I had no choice but to postpone.

UK SUMMER
Apart form the humanitarian crisis, this was turning out to be financially pretty disastrous for us outdoor windy coaches. But the up side that we were enjoying one of the warmest, windiest summers on record here in the UK.
It was time to put a bit back.
The sport was going gently nuts down here so I started mentoring a group of friends and friend’s friends and their friends  who all wanted to get into it.
I cant tell you how uplifting it was to see the sport blossoming again.
We were sailing mainly from a small high tide beach near to my home. It gives us access to the whole Chichester harbour so as everyone improved, we started doing things I hadn’t done since the  80s, like going on tours to other villages in the harbour.

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Lola Hart and friend ripping it up at home

AUTUMN and DONEGAL approaches
I had every hope my Donegal courses would go ahead. Ireland had set out a 5 step plan and everything looked set to open by mid August – whoopee.
With 40 people joining me over 4 separate courses this is a big event for PH Masterclass and the one I most look forward to – it’s such a special place.
But then … just when you thought it was safe …!!!
Suddenly, and with good reason due to rising infections, the Irish insisted that everyone arriving from the UK isolated for 14 days on arrival.
We waited until the end of August – the infection rates were only going one way so Donegal also had to be cancelled.

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Dear Donegal – we’ll be back …

There was a loophole in that due to Brexit shenanigans, you officially are allowed to access the Rep of Ireland from the North – some have done this and it hasn’t been popular with locals who said it shows a certain disrespect.
I found out yesterday that the Loch Altan hotel that we use for the clinics (fantastic place) has just had to close for 3 weeks – now that would have been inconvenient as a bunch of tired masterclasses found themselves turfed out onto the street!

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Happy to be home in West Witt

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Vass like conditions in Portland!

Check out the clinic page for all details of abroad trips

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