Notice of swirling winds. The nautical world is ready to hoist the mainsail again, but without quite knowing where the breath of deconfinement comes from. As evidenced by the resumption of navigation, announced Thursday, May 7 by the Prime Minister and confirmed in the wake by the maritime prefectures. So much so that since Monday 11 May, in the French ports, many sailors cast off.
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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 boating as well as nautical activities. The Federation of the nautical industry (FIN) suddenly cracked, Tuesday, May 12, with an open letter to Édouard Philippe to mark his incomprehension. “Concretely, if pleasure boating is today authorized by the Maritime Prefectures, access to the boat would be subject to a local authorization from the prefects of the departments, at the justified request of 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 the course of optimism. Ambiguities should be removed with a “Deconfinement plan” developed by the FFV to quickly submit it to government approval.
First beach openings in Finistère and Loire-Atlantique
Access to the sea or the ocean via the beaches is also variable geometry, depending on the agreement of the prefect of each department concerned, who is decided on a case-by-case basis depending on the mayors’ requests. This possibility, long excluded by the government, was won with a hard fight thanks to the mobilization of local officials and the nautical world. ” The whole industry and many elected officials have invested themselves as never before, very quickly after confinement, to plead for a rapid reopening. And this spirit of solidarity, I hope to see it last “, Welcomes Jacques Lajuncomme, president of the surfing league of Nouvelle Aquitaine, very active for weeks, in particular to promote the concept of” dynamic range “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 opinion of the prefects for signing derogatory decrees as of May 11. The quickest to validate requests? The prefects of Finistère and Loire-Atlantique. Beaches in the agglomeration of Brest, La Baule, Pornichet are due to open this Wednesday, May 13. With some variations on the modalities, various time slots, and obviously adequate public information. All over the coast, authorizations will be phased out in the coming days.
An essential breathing for the sports world. “It’s 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 brightens the horizon. It’s up to us to manage it well in terms of security. It is also the opportunity to acquire a new dimension for our clubs: to be a sort 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 the coast, 240 members, French champion in the discipline. “We usually work with leisure or competitor groups which can reach 30 to 40 people, and which we will split to be under the regulatory bar of 10, with respect for safety distances and masks if possible”, details Dominique Biscaras, president and host 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 of which many members are deprived, jogging is not for everyone”.
In the red zone, at the other end of France, we are also preparing for the Blériot-club for sand yachting in Touquet (Pas de Calais). “We have been waiting for the green light for a long time, sighs 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 impatient ”.
At least they see the sky clearing. 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 in no hurry to open its rather small beaches. To the great despair of clubs like the Eau large de Noé on the beach at Pointe Rouge. “I can understand the fear of seeing the beach invaded, but we have sent a sports access protocol that 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 ”.