Seventeen of the World ARC yachts are now in Papeete, all being ones that completed the passage from Galapagos to Tahiti without a stop. Three of those that stopped in Hiva Oa and Nuka Hiva are now on passage to Papeete, with others expected to follow from Nuka Hiva at the end of this week. As with many countries around the world, French Polynesia is in strict lock down, with a curfew from 2000 to 0500 each night, and stringent confinement measures in force all the time. This makes life difficult for all the crews living on their yachts, although our local agent is managing to provide some limited support services. Today special permission has been granted for yachts to leave their berths to refuel at Taina Marina, something they have not been allowed to do until now. World Cruising Club is immensely grateful for the continued support received from our agent and local maritime services operating to assist the World ARC fleet under the current difficult circumstances.
With French Polynesia in isolation the airport was closed to passengers after the last flight that departed last Saturday. Whilst World Cruising Club continues to liaise with numerous governing bodies and authorities it is extremely unlikely that any repatriation will be possible for the crews wishing to fly home until the airport re-opens and scheduled services start again, which is unlikely to be before 2 May 2020.
World ARC 2020/21 is suspended in Tahiti, with many of the yachts deciding to defer carrying on until this time next year, whilst some are hopeful that the Pacific will open up sooner so they can continue westwards towards Australia, and in some cases New Zealand. World Cruising Club continues to monitor the situation with COVID-19 and will make a further announcement about the Rally no later than 31 May 2020.