Good Morning from NZ everyone,
I am now finishing quarantine and about to head home before heading back to the Caribbean
I thought it might be useful to do a blog on vaccinations and sailing in 2021.
2021 will be a unique opportunity.
2020 has not been an easy year to sail but has in many ways been an exceptional one. Exceptional for good and not so good reasons. Many destinations have seen the lowest number of yachts in anchorages ever. Those that would be full of charter catamarans have seen a return of wildlife that has been absent for over a decade. Countries have struggled as we all have to deal with the moving target that is Covid 19's threat matrix.
As vaccinations roll out now across the globe 2021 should be an easier year to sail, but I suspect this will not be until late 2021 as risk management will dictate a cautious approach until populations are largely vaccinated and the transmission risk is lowered. The Anti-Vax community will impact this although I suspect that this will largely dissipate as not being vaccinated will almost certainly limit lifestyle for many.
As always Vaccination is a choice, but for ocean-going sailors and travelers, it has always been in many cases a requirement to protect those countries where we make Landfall.
Covid is no different, it is simply the plague of this generation. My hope is it is the last we see for many years as lessons are learned.
So as cruising yachtsman crossing oceans and crew joining me aboard Azura what may we expect?
Likely this year Azura will sail from the BVI or USVI to NW Spain via the Azores in June.
That's 3 countries.
Plus a risk from anyone flying in from a 4th.
Each country will have its own regulations as will airlines.
Some general thoughts;
Every crew member joining will almost certainly need still a covid test before flying. Being Vaccinated and having a certificate may impact this but it is likely that you are still going to be quarantined either aboard or on land on arrival.
Each country will have different protocols so we will need to follow them and ensure as always we respect the local authorities and people and leave a clean wake
Fewer yachts will be sailing so that makes this next year a unique opportunity to enjoy sailing like it was over 40 years ago
The situation will be changing weekly... at the start of the year but will improve.
So what does this mean?
Should you sail in 2021 and what should you do to make it less painful
If you can get vaccinated, the science is well informed and no vaccine has ever been so invested in or more widely prescribed
If you can afford the time, 2021 will be a unique opportunity.
A tight schedule will be impossible to follow, embrace change, embrace the challenge
Stay fit and healthy as always
Make sure your insurance covers a covid 19 incident or you have funds to do so
Recognize that all skippers will need to consider crew safety and may in addition to country requirements want you to quarantine or be vaccinated for a period and take a test if you're not vaccinated.
Your health is critical to you and also the yacht's crew that you sail on. It is important that you are fit for the passages you undertake and that's not a product of age. It is a responsibility to yourself and others.
The ocean is a truly awe-inspiring and amazing place and one where we can all escape the world of covid 19 once aboard and underway. I for one think it's worth doing whatever it takes to make sure we keep each other safe and well to enjoy that experience.
One of the very few benefits of covid 19 is that it has given us an opportunity to wind back the clocks and sail in a way I have not done since the early 1980s. yes, there are some challenges but if you embrace them and strive to get through the challenge to the joy of the freedom wind and waves you will be rewarded manyfold.
So should you sail in 2021? Yes absolutely if you can.
Azura will transatlantic in the first week of June when usually the winter gales are over and the hurricanes are still a future prospect. This makes for arrival into Horta on or around the third to fourth week of June. She will spend some time in the Azores and then move on to the stunning beauty of NW Spain truly one of the most amazing cruising grounds on the planet. This will make the 12th time I have made this passage to Horta and each is different.
This passage will be an opportunity for those who wish to learn both astronavigation and weather routing on an Ocean passage. It will also fulfill the requirement for the RYA ocean Yachtmaster practical element and of course the OCC's full membership.
I enjoy teaching and do this as a way of saying thank you to all who have taught me over many years.
A transatlantic should not be your first offshore t passage. Sailing an ocean is something you undertake after some experience of cruising coasts and coastal waters. You need to know yourself at sea before you introduce yourself to others!
So in summary yes it will be challenging, but there is light at the end of this tunnel and a safe landfall from a difficult year on the horizon. Let us sail together as a community of shipmates to that one.
Personally I a more worried about the impact of Brexit on my European adventures than covid.
At least the Vaccine has been well planned and see significant investment!......
Safe sailing all and a very, very merry Xmas here's to a wonderful new year for all.
Yours aye with Kind regards