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Yacht Racing Association Issues New Guidelines for 2021

One of the big challenges for race committees and racers in 2020 was understanding the ever-changing, county-by-county guidelines regarding what’s deemed safe and what is allowed in the Bay Area. Benicia Yacht Club in Solano County, Berkeley YC in Alameda County and Sequoia YC in San Mateo County each had to interpret their local guidelines and then develop Sailing Instructions to comply. Thanks to Laura Muñoz and the Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay, that’s now become somewhat easier.

CYC Conditions are variable and shifty
Racers will have to be prepared for shifty and variable conditions in 2021, but guidelines have improved.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

The new system allows organizers to look at their county’s COVID tier and follow the guidelines developed for that color. (Almost all of the state is currently in the Purple Tier.) The YRA finalized the guidelines and distributed them to race coordinators earlier this week. These are the guidelines the YRA will be following this year, and they are encouraging all the clubs to follow them as well. The YRA’s office is located in Solano County; therefore, they will use Solano County’s tier for their own regattas.

Statewide Stay-at-Home Order in Place

Racing is not recommended. If an event is held, it should be singlehanded only, or crews from the same household only.

Purple ‘Widespread’ Tier

Single or doublehanded racing is OK.
Doublehanded crews do not need to be from the same household.
Masks must be worn.
No in-person pre- or post-race activities.

Red ‘Substantial’ Tier

Crewed racing is OK provided the crew is from the same social bubble.
Masks must be worn.
No in-person pre- or post-race activities.

Orange ‘Moderate’ Tier

Crewed racing OK provided crew is from the same social bubble.
Masks must be worn.
Outdoor bar service or takeout is OK post-race, provided the county orders allow such service.

Yellow ‘Minimal’ Tier

Crewed racing is OK.
Masks are recommended.
Indoor and outdoor bar service is OK, at a reduced capacity, provided the county orders allow service.

The YRA has posted these guidelines on the YRA website on a new COVID-19 page so that racers will know what to expect this year. The YRA plans to hold the full season of racing. The events will just be modified to meet the above guidelines. Races in the Purple Tier won’t count for a series, except for the YRA’s new doublehanded series, which will be doublehanded-only regardless of which tier we’re in. (We’ll have more on that series and a preview of February’s races in next week’s ‘Lectronic Latitude.)

The only thing we see missing is the Green Tier, which would allow us all to party like it’s 2019! Patience is still required.

The bottom line remains the same. Nobody wants the pandemic to get worse, or their crew, competitors or fellow club members to get sick. County guidelines are guidelines and not guarantees. Everyone will have to use their best judgment to make sure that we all stay healthy and racing can continue.


  1. Chris Maher 3 years ago

    It seems that sailboat racing is considered a outdoor activity by the state of California and should be looked at more like skiing, golfing and even outdoor dining. Only allowing single and double handed racing does not seem to make any sense.

  2. Memo Gidley 3 years ago

    Thank you YRA!

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