There can be no doubt the last 4 months has affected most of the world, it’s a time we will all remember for very personal reasons. I had been drafting an update over the last few weeks but in the end decided to do a shortened version.
After a wonderful new year celebrating with great friends Christoph & Angela from Ithaka we spent a couple of days in Barbuda before returning to Jolly Harbour where Silhouette was due to come out of the water for 3 months then sailing back to the Mediterranean. Shutting down for an extended period was certainly a challenge and hot work too! Plenty of beer breaks required 🙂
Caroline & Charlotte flew back to the UK 2 weeks earlier, when I landed at Gatwick the morning temperature was -1 degrees…. Brrrrrr, haven’t felt the cold for 2 years & I didn’t like it.
So, this is when things started to go wrong. The pandemic looked like it was going global and fast, so it was decided I should get back to Silhouette in case plans changed. I managed to get a flight back with British Airways on an almost empty aircraft, and spent the next 3 days cleaning and antifouling ready to launch Silhouette. The thought process was to get her back in the water so if necessary I could sail to another island to pick up my crew if Antigua closed. We quickly realised this was a big mistake as restrictions everywhere were closing most of the islands and Airlines were shutting down with no idea when flights would resume. Even the boatyard thought I was crazy putting Silhouette back in the water with nowhere to go and an approaching hurricane season, that coupled with not being happy leaving the girls alone in the UK, the new plan was to spend the next 4 days shutting Silhouette down for the rest of the year. This was a mammoth task on my own, but Jeremy kindly helped getting the sails down and bagged up along with moving our dinghy. As the world began closing its borders and curfews brought in, crews around me were talking of how they were going to get their “homes” to safety. Jeremy on Right Turn & James and Bex on Hepzibah were looking to ship their yachts back to the UK, we were trying to organise insurance cover during the hurricane season as ours wasn’t interested. The extremely full flight back to the UK was very sad but the right thing to do in the circumstances. I managed to get on the second from last flight back to the UK and I was furious to hear some passengers complaining to the cabin crew there wasn’t any hot food available. The crew were working without personal protection equipment and at risk to themselves bringing citizens back home. Just what’s wrong with people?
Arriving back at Gatwick just over a week after leaving and the difference was incredible. There was hardly anybody around and the roads back to Dorset were almost empty. Within days the UK went into lockdown as with most of the world which gave us time to think about the bigger picture and what cruising might be like in the next year or two with possible international restrictions in place. The new insurance company who had quoted to insure us during the forthcoming hurricane season couldn’t be reached, presumably due to the lockdown on Antigua which meant there was a chance of no insurance from June in the event of a claim if we couldn’t get in touch with them. Yet again we decided to change plans and got in touch with yacht shippers Peters & May. We have now booked Silhouette on the Ship to bring her back to the UK next month meaning we will be sailing locally for the next year or until whatever the new “normal” is. We have so much money tied up in Silhouette we felt bringing her back to the UK was safest BUT very expensive too 😦
We hope to see Silhouette in about 4 weeks safely back on the water where we will sail her back home to Poole, this will mean our adventure is put on hold for now. It will be strange sailing in the English Channel again….. but it could be so much worse.
Stay safe everyone.