As in Europe and all over the world, life for sailors on long voyages has changed in the blink of an eye in the wake of the corona pandemic. In times of sudden border closings and tourist travel bans, there is great uncertainty that there is nowhere to enter and possibly even be expelled. YACHT online has already reported on the situation of some crews.
For all those who are currently in the Caribbean with their ship, the fact that the hurricane season begins there in early summer and the caravan of long-distance sailors usually continues its journey through the Panama Canal into the Pacific is a further complication. Or the crew moves their boat to a place outside the hurricane belt.
Both are currently impossible, the sailors are worried how things will go on.
Not an easy way back
Many now only see a way out in the big blow back to their home country. For German Caribbean sailors this means: a good 4,000 nautical miles back across the North Atlantic, in times when there is great uncertainty as to whether the port of call, for example in the Azores or in Western Europe, will allow sailors in at all. Even if it is only for provisions and fuel bunkers.
Even all those who had not planned a circumnavigation of the world, but simply an upcoming Atlantic crossing to Europe, are faced with these questions. The logistics required for such a trip become an immense challenge; transfer crews, for example, cannot arrive.
An initiative is currently being formed among German Caribbean sailors to share information and contact the authorities. In the network, the sailors exchange information about which ports can still be called and how entry and exit rules and the supply situation are on site.
Crisis management via WhatsApp group
For this purpose the WhatsApp group "Sailing Home German" was founded on March 24th. It already has over 100 members - German blue water sailors who are now voting and sharing information on how to make the big jump back despite the crisis and how official support can be obtained.