As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) turns normality upside down and lockdown eases, we are aware that this can be unsettling for everyone so we want to let you know what is happening at Challenge Wales HQ.
UPDATE: 15th June 2023: Challenge Wales continues to maintain strict hygiene procedures onboard before each voyage. And anyone with symptoms (prior to a voyage) or testing positive for COVID should not attend a voyage. Our booking terms and conditions advise that anyone who is unable to join a voyage will not get a refund unless we can sell the berth(s). However, we do take individual situations into consideration. It must be stressed that if cancellations take place at short notice or at the end of our sailing season it is unlikely we will be able to fill places and in which case a refund is extremely unlikely.
UPDATE 1st June 2022: Challenge Wales does not require you to undertake a lateral flow test but if you do have one available then you are encouraged to test prior to coming onboard. Should you exhibit symptoms then you should take a test and only come to the boat if it is negative. If you have symptoms OR test positive & don’t have symptoms, Day 1 is the day after you exhibit symptoms or do the test (whichever is earlier). You should isolate for 5 days and take a lateral flow test on Day 5. If it is negative on Day 5 and 6 then you can come to the boat.
Our COVID Guarantee (up until January 2023): We want you to book with total confidence and not worry about your voyage so should we not run a trip or postpone a trip (due to COVID) or you test positive for COVID prior to an activity and you can’t join us, we will offer you an alternative voyage, hold your money for a future trip or provide you with a refund. The choice is yours. If you hold a Challenge Wales Gift Voucher, and COVID stops you redeeming it, then your voucher will be extended (at no additional cost) for an additional 6 months, or longer if there are lockdown restrictions, giving you plenty of options to jump onboard. Should you wish to take advantage of our COVID Guarantee, we will require proof of COVID so please send us a screengrab of your positive test result when it is reported through the NHS App.
UPDATE 14th February 2022: Wales is in Alert Level 0 however, there are still COVID protocols in place onboard both our vessels. All voyage participants and crew will need to provide a negative lateral flow test on the morning of their voyage. These tests are available for free.
UPDATE 30th May 2021: As our voyages resume on limited capacity, we will be requesting all participants and crew to provide a negative lateral flow test on the morning of the voyage. These tests are available free of charge and details. Challenge Wales day voyages will resume on 1st June 2021.
UPDATE 20th April 2021: The Challenge Wales office has reopened and keeping our guests and crew safe is our priority. At all times we will be following Government Guidance.
Our proposed roadmap is subject to change and further clarification:
* 31st March 2021: Organised Outdoor Activities for Children (Under 18’s) can restart. This will include our shore-side Sea and Tell programme with social distancing and masks and restrictions in place. We will be starting with groups who are in a bubble before opening this up to non-bubbled groups.
*18th April 2021: Staff/Volunteer training to recommence with limited numbers and government guidance and RYA Cymru guidance being followed
*Mid May/Beg June 2021: Adult day voyages can restart with limited numbers. Youth day voyages can restart with limited numbers.
*21st June 2021: Residential activities will restart for young people. This may include limited numbers or being in a bubble with COVID testing prior to a voyage commencing. Adult and Youth day voyages can start with increased numbers.
Challenge Wales has always operated a high level of hand hygiene on its vessels and deep cleaning during and between voyages. This will continue with additional hand sanitising prior to boarding the vessels, more hand cleaning opportunities and additional cleaning of high touch areas on the boats. Masks/face covering must be worn below deck.
UPDATE 26th March 2021: The safety of everyone who sails with us has been of paramount importance and we continue to stress that Challenge Wales and the outdoor residential sector has a huge part to play in the recovery from the Covid pandemic.
In light of announcements from Welsh Government (and UK Government which can differ), it now seems there is a form of roadmap to get us back on the water.
UPDATE 4th January 2021: The Challenge Wales office has now partly reopened. There will be no sailing activities while there is a national lockdown in place and we continue to follow government guidance. Strict protocols are in place for managing maintenance activities onboard during the winter months.
UPDATE 23rd June 2020: Challenge Wales has now made the decision to postpone voyages up until mid August 2020 and will continue to review the situation. Over the next couple of weeks we will be in touch with all those that this now effects. We continue to monitor the situation as restrictions in Wales and the UK begin to ease in July.
UPDATE 4th May 2020: Challenge Wales has made the decision to postpone voyages up until 30th June 2020 and will continue to review the situation on an ongoing basis. We aim to be in touch with everyone regarding future voyages, two months prior to the voyage taking place to update on the changing situation.
UPDATE 24th March 2020: Following on from the previous announcement and yesterday’s Government announcement regarding limiting gatherings and staying at home, Challenge Wales has made the decision to postpone voyages up until 31st May 2020. We will be in touch with everyone affected by this over the next 24 hours and will continue to review the situation on an ongoing basis.
UPDATE 18th March 2020: Following the change in the UK Government’s advice regarding non-essential social contact (social distancing) and unnecessary travel, the Trustees of Challenge Wales have taken the difficult, but necessary, decision to suspend our sail training operations, effective immediately until 18 April 2020 and review the situation on a fortnightly basis there on, with the aim of rescheduling these trips to a later date. We will be monitoring very closely Government advice and Public Health Wales advice on a daily basis and over the coming days continue to make decisions regarding our sail training programme for April, May and June.
As you can imagine this is unprecedented times for the world and us as a small charity.
We want to reassure you that our priority is always the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved with the charity; our voyage crew (guests), volunteers, staff and their families.
If you are booked on a voyage during this period (Up until 18th April 2020), you will be contacted by the office this week if you haven’t already been. We would ask that you please don’t contact us regarding future voyages until Friday 27th March 2020 to enable us to speak to all voyage crew and volunteers who are currently affected by this. Moving forwards, we will be in touch regarding later voyages when decisions are made and when the time arises.
Challenge Wales is extremely proud of the reputation we have developed and our relationships we have with volunteers, stakeholders, clients, funders and supporters who have helped us get to where we are today. We are now working in a fast-moving environment that is out of our control but decisions made will be made in the best interests of our stakeholders and we will keep everyone updated as things change. It will no doubt be a rocky road ahead for many organisations (large and small), individuals and families and we will be extremely grateful to those who are able to offer support to us. If you think there is something you can do for us at this time then please get in touch.
Please continue to monitor the News Page on our website and our social media channels (@ChallengeWales) for updates.
More information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the symptoms can be found here on the NHS 111 Online website.
We look forward to getting back to normality, whenever that will be, and continue to change lives in a positive way.
The Challenge Wales Trustees