30 Sep COVID and the CLINIC SCHEDULE – the latest …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
THE PRESENT SITUATION
Apart from a private doctor’s week in Tarifa which has also just been postponed, the only remaining abroad clinic for 2020 is Mauritius in November.
Apparently Mauritius is opening up to tourists in October so we shall wait and see … and live in hope.
Happy to be home in West Witt
The up side of all this is that I have reconnected with home beaches and have been running a series of one and 2 day courses all over the south coast.
Tris Best of the OTC in Portland has been wonderfully welcoming and conditions have been sublime.
Only last week we were blessed with 2 days of force 4-6 in the harbour.
The irony was that the course I was running ‘Son of vass’ was for those who were supposed to be on my June Vass trip.
6 of them came to Portland but a couple decided to go to Greece last minute – and got smacked by the ‘Medicane’ – a hurricane in the Med which brought torrential rain and unassailable winds – followed by nothing. Cruelly we kept posting shots of us taking luck on the balcony in T shirts and sunnies!
Sometimes home is the place to be.
I’ve also been doing courses from my home waters of West Wittering, As well s spontaneous wave coaching sessions.
These latter courses tend to at this time of year tend to be scheduled on a tasty forecast just a few days in advance.
I flag them up on my PETER HART MASTERCLASS Facebook page.
AND THE FUTURE …
Well who knows?
We have every hope that my courses in Tobago will go ahead in Feb and March – and Kerry in May and that we’ll soon be all back to normal.
Together we can beat this thing … especially if we stay out on the water!
Check out the clinic page for all details of abroad trips