I think I made this pretty clear in the last email, but just as a followup and to make things official, we have postponed our entire sailing calendar, for both boats, by a full year. A few of you had asked questions specific to this – for example, one trans-Atlantic crewmember on ISBJORN found that he’s able to move his flights and hotels in the Azores to 2021 quite easily – so we thought we’d address it specifically to everyone.
WHAT THIS MEANS
If you’re booked on a passage with us in either 2020 or 2021, it will now happen one year later than planned. The dates will be identical, just one year later. This will allow any fallout from COVID-19 to either be cleared up (with a vaccine we hope), or things in the world will be so vastly different that nobody knows what will happen.
The only passage this might affect is the Annapolis-Bermuda Race in June, which only happens every second year (though I’m working with EYC who hosts it to do something about that…). If you’re booked on this race, we’ll be in touch separately.
ALTERNATE PASSAGES // CARIBBEAN FALL-WINTER
We’re holding out hope that things clear up sooner than later with COVID-19, but with weather patterns and such, we’ve now missed the opportunity to safely cross the Atlantic this year, hence the 1-year delay. BUT, there exists a good chance we’ll be able to add some Caribbean sailing this coming fall/winter. The earliest that could start would be November 2020 given hurricane season.
Any trips we add to the calendar would be open to you guys first, the folks who have already paid deposits to us, and you’d simply be able to transfer over to a different passage. We won’t post anything until we have clarity on COVID-19, and you guys will be the first to know.
SOME GOOD NEWS
The silver lining, however small, is that ICEBEAR will now get her refit in Grenada rather than over the winter in Sweden. So that will at least keep us productive during the downtime. Sean Westoby, ICEBEAR’s current skipper, has been living aboard on anchor since the start of this mess, and once business ashore opens up a little bit, he’ll be tackling the refit projects with local help. If I get the chance to go down there to help him later this summer/fall, I’ll be there.
Likewise, both boats would potentially be available for private charters starting next fall. Even if we add passages, we’d still have plenty of open space in the calendar to add a week or two of family & friends sailing if anyone wanted something a little more laid back than our usual offshore trips. Both boats were supposed to be laid up in Europe for the winter, so now that they’ll be in commission, we have more sailing options.
Now we wait and see…in the coming months we’re going to be doing more planning for the Ocean Globe Race, which is still set to start in 2023, and opening up signups for that. We’ve already had a handful of crew register for that, but we’ll start taking deposits to hold people’s spots, and have more details on how the race prep will look for that season.
As usual, email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. This is a bummer of a day for us right now at 59 North, but the only safe way forward. We appreciate all of your awesome support, and REALLY look forward to getting back out on the high seas with you.