Sailing to and from France/UK with the Royal Escape Race is no longer quite as simple as it used to be, but the desire to make things work as smoothly as possible is bearing fruit and as long as participants follow these guidelines all should be well.
Having said that, this guidance is from the race organisers so is guidance rather than gospel. If your own reserach or experience shows something different then please let us know so we can amend these words - we are all learning and working with changing regulations on both shores.
These notes were last updated 10 April 2022.
SAILING FROM UK TO FRANCE
COVID - LEAVING THE UK
Currently there are no restrictions or requirements relating to Covid when departing the UK.
You need to download and complete the form e-C1331;
This is an Excel form to be completed and emailed to BorderForce/HMRC. There is a button for South East Region on the form which automates the email submission.
The form is not particularly user friendly so don't rush it and take note that there are multiple tabs/sheets (C1331/Additional Information/Declaration & Submission/Guidance & ISO Codes) in the file which are reached at the bottom of the Excel window. If you are not familiar with Excel, then find somebody who is able to help you complete it.
COVID - ENTERING FRANCE
In France must be able to show proof of your vaccination status and this will be asked for everywhere you go such as bars and restaurants; the NHS App with QR codes is acceptable so make sure everybody downloads it. You can also save the QR codes to Apple Wallet for instance which may prove easier to use. I have travelled to France twice in recent months and my advice is that if you aren’t vaccinated then you will be excluded from all the social events and I would not bother. Although Facemasks are no longer obligatory in Restaurants/Bars make sure you carry them just in case.
Before the race all those sailing to France must inform the French Authorities of their arrival.
This form is to be completed by each person rather than each boat. Download the form found here.
I would not attempt to do this using a mobile phone, rather use desktop or laptop.
Make sure the mobile numbers given will be with you during the event and that nyou fully complete the form including entry or exit dates.
You must also print the completed form out and carry a copy with you on the race (just in case there are any future issues over immigration status such as length of stay in France, as your passports will not be stamped, individuals should also retain a copy of the form after the event).
It is also recommended that you carry the original bill of sale of the vessel. Although it has never been asked for before during this event, we understand that failure to produce it on demand by an official can result in significant fines.
ENTERING THE UK
Entering the UK from France; There are currently no Covid restrictions.
HM Revenue & Customs
Sailing from France to the UK you must fly the yellow ‘Q’ flag so that it can easily be seen as soon as you enter UK waters (the 12 mile limit).
Do not take down the flag until you have finished reporting to the customs authorities. If you do not comply you will be liable to a penalty.
You must report your arrival by calling the National Yachtline from France or on arrival. 0300 123 2012
If you are a French boat entering the UK in order to race back to France, then you will need to complete the form e-C1331 mentioned above before setting sail for the UK.
If there areany questions relating to HM Revenue & Customs then they have two advice line numbers; 03000 516 864 or 03000 590 930.