After the long-haul scene in the Caribbean had to worry about the whereabouts of their ships in view of the approaching hurricane season in early summer, the blue water crews in the Pacific are now affected. Many are currently planning to sail on to New Zealand from the South Pacific Islands. But the New Zealand authorities refuse entry to foreign crews.
The problem is the same as it was months ago in the Caribbean: Countries in hurricane-safe areas have recently sometimes closed borders for sailors due to the corona pandemic.
Yacht crews are only allowed to enter in exceptional cases, such as distress at sea, or for humanitarian reasons. The British Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) then tried to intervene and contacted the New Zealand authorities to find solutions to the concerns of hundreds of yacht crews who were hoping to ease the strict New Zealand position. But the intervention of the OCC was unsuccessful.
German crew arrested
As the newspaper "New Zealand Herald" reports, a German crew recently failed to adhere to the regulations and entered the port of Opudennoch with the 16-meter yacht "Anita". The crew would have applied for an exemption, but did not wait for the approval. According to the report, all three crew members tested negative for Covid 19 and were arrested.
Looking for new goals
Looking for alternatives, many long-haul crews plan to avoid areas in the South Pacific that are also not in the path of the cyclones. These include the Marquesas, the Austral Islands or the Gambier Islands.
The infrastructure for yachts is certainly much worse there than in New Zealand, which will call into question the refit plans often planned for the stay there and also the further travel plans of numerous crews.
The resentment among sailors in the South Pacific is great. Especially since the America’s Cup is to take place in Auckland in December and there are also exceptions that were granted for larger yachts, among other things. Because if there are extensive repair orders with shipyards, entry can be approved.