Notice of swirling winds. The world of boating is ready to hoist the mainsail again, but without fully knowing where the breath of deconfinement comes from. Evidence of this is the resumption of navigation, announced Thursday May 7 by the Prime Minister and confirmed in stride by the maritime prefectures. So that since Monday, May 11, in the French ports, many sailors are dropping the moorings.
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Except that during the course of the day, the decree detailing the measures taken within the framework of the state of health emergency prohibits yachting like nautical activities. The Federation of the Nautical Industry (FIN) splits the blow, Tuesday, May 12, of an open letter to Édouard Philippe to mark his misunderstanding. “Concretely, if pleasure boating is now authorized by the Maritime Prefectures, access to the boat would be conditional on local authorization from the prefects of departments, on reasoned request from the Mayor, which allows access to the marina for example. Why such complexity? “
On the side of the French Sailing Federation (FFV), which supports the FIN, we recognize that “The fog has fallen”. But we want to stay on course with optimism. Ambiguities should be removed by a “Deconfinement plan” that the FFV is developing to quickly submit it for government approval.
First beach openings in Finistère and Loire-Atlantique
Access to the sea or the ocean via the beaches is also variable, depending on the agreement of the prefect of each department concerned, who decides on a case-by-case basis according to the requests of the mayors. This possibility, long excluded by the government, was acquired with great struggle thanks to the mobilization of local councilors and the nautical world. ” The entire industry and many elected officials got involved like never before, very quickly after confinement, to plead for a rapid reopening. And this spirit of solidarity, I hope to see it endure “, Welcomes Jacques Lajuncomme, president of the surfing league of New Aquitaine, very active for weeks, in particular to promote the concept of” dynamic beach “imported from Australia, which prohibits any static practice of the beach as well as gatherings.
In this context, many elected officials have refined their plans, before submitting them to the prefects for signature of the derogatory orders as of May 11. The quickest to validate requests? The prefects of Finistère and Loire-Atlantique. Beaches in the metropolitan area of Brest, La Baule and Pornichet are due to open on Wednesday 13 May. With a few variations on the modalities, various time slots, and obviously adequate public information. All over the coast, the authorizations will be spread out in the coming days.
Breathing essential for the sports world. “This is a really vital issue for our clubs, underlines Jacques Lajuncomme. Without activity, no licenses. In my club, barely thirty out of 120 have been renewed. The recovery is brightening the horizon. It is up to us to manage it well in terms of security. This is also an opportunity to acquire a new dimension for our clubs: to be a kind of lookout for our beaches, and to participate in an eco-responsible return to the ocean “.
For clubs, the challenge of recovery
Successful resumption of contact is also the major concern in the Mediterranean of the Hyères club along coast, 240 members, French champion of the discipline. “We usually work with leisure or competing groups which can reach 30 to 40 people, and which we will split to be below the regulatory bar of 10, with respect for safety distances and masks if possible”, details Dominique Biscaras, president and animator of the club. This 72 year old retired physiotherapist certainly regrets the conviviality thus temporarily lost, but the main thing is also to find “This healthy sport which many members are deprived of, jogging is not for everyone”.
In the red zone, at the other end of France, we are also preparing for the Blériot sand yachting club in Le Touquet (Pas de Calais). “We have been waiting for the green light for a long timesighs Christophe Lenglart, the president of the structure of 180 members. Our activity is individual, we have a beach of 15 km by 1 km at low tide, far from being saturated even in summer, so the barrier gestures are easy to apply. Our plan is ready for the sand yachting school, whose employees are obviously getting impatient “.
At least they see the sky clear. Which is not the case everywhere. Some mayors are worried about a resumption of the epidemic which would jeopardize the summer season and prefer to postpone their authorizations. In Marseille, the municipality is therefore in no hurry to open its rather small beaches. Much to the despair of clubs like Noah’s Wide Water on the Pointe Rouge beach. “I can understand the fear of seeing the beach invaded, but we have transmitted a sports access protocol which would at least allow the clubs to revive, explains Benjamin Enderle, the founder of the club. Alas, it remains unanswered. Me, I risk to fold shop. I’m not even sure I can last another month ”.