Batten down the hatches…again

It’s been a wet and windy October for sure and, as I write this, it looks as though we are heading into yet another storm with a new lockdown announcement. As I look for the positives in this current situation, it is that we are all much better prepared to enter another period of restriction and agile working has become commonplace for many of us.  As I reflect over the last few weeks, I realise that every event has been attended remotely and all of them have worked really well. This goes to show that we are adapting and finding ways to maintain some semblance of normality and will no doubt continue to do so as we move through this difficult time.

One of those events was the Sports Positive Summit. As an ambassador for Bluewater, who produce purified water, I joined a panel discussion on removing single use plastic from the sports industry. The conversation touched on the positive steps that had already been taken at events so far and how this may be impacted post COVID-19. We discussed how events can ensure safety and public health, without reverting to single use plastic. It is clear that the landscape has become even more challenging with events businesses under enormous economic pressure but there are solutions out there and it is so importance for us not to take a backward step in this area.

I was invited to join a webinar hosted by the ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations). As an international trade association representing the global marine industry, it brings together national marine industry associations in one global organisation and represents them at an international level, presenting a strong and united voice when dealing with issues challenging the industry. The webinar focussed on sustainability, circular economy and the environment. It also explored the boating community generally, perceived access barriers and what we can do to address this. Issues relating to diversity, inclusivity and accessibility were discussed as we looked at actions required to open our sport and industry up to a wider community.  

The World Sailing Trust delivered a session at the World Sailing Annual Conference, which this year was held online. I joined a panel discussion on gender and geographical diversity. To date our focus has been on gender and the fact that stereotypes and media representations still convey the message that sailing is a masculine activity. While we still have a lot of work to do in this space, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status also limits opportunities in our sport, so we need to come together to advocate for inclusive excellence in our events, programmes and organisations to expand our reach and promote the sport. Gender and geographical diversity are ever-present and powerful in sport and, as professionals, we must recognise and value cultural diversity.

My fellow panellists were Miguel Crespo Celda,  Jennifer Cooper, Irina Gladkikh, Lindani Mchunu, Rob Holden and Dawn Riley, with Shirley Robertson acting as moderator.

Catch it here if you missed it

In between all these debates, I am delighted to say that I have also been out on the water. Now that the clocks have changed and the weather has turned to being cold, wet and windy – layers have been added and shoes swapped for boots. I did have some training, coaching and racing lined up for the month ahead but depending on the detail of the lockdown rules, this may not be possible.

I will finish on a lighter note by sharing an image of the spooky goings on in my kitchen. Ghostly ghoulish meringues and pumpkin faced ginger nut cookies. Happy Halloween all!

Dee Caffari

British yachtswoman Dee Caffari is the first woman to have sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions and the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world three times. In 2006 Dee became the first woman to sail solo, non-stop, around the world against the prevailing winds and currents and was awarded an MBE in recognition of her achievement.

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