COVID-19 Cruising Community Updates

20 March 2020

Over recent weeks, the global spread of COVID-19 has impacted the cruising plans of many and the rapidly evolving situation leading to regular changes to long-held intentions. As sailors, we should never be afraid to change route and improvise. At sea you always have to adapt to the weather and wind direction and if your planned route does not work with the weather forecast, simply change it.

World Cruising Club’s cruiser information website Noonsite.com is collating reports from cruisers and authorities to help inform as much as possible of the changes affecting sailors. See Noonsite’s COVID-19 guidance document to understand which countries have implemented changes to their normal clearance protocols to help with your route planning and decisions for the coming cruising season. Contributions and experiences from wherever you may be sailing in the world are also welcomed, so we can share the information with others – email noonsite@noonsite.com with your reports.

Many of our past ARC sailors are now faced with difficult decisions as the Caribbean season draws to an end, perhaps unable to personally fly to your boat or to sail onwards to Europe or the USA as planned. Further, there are restrictions currently imposed on travel to the Caribbean and the closure of ports in the Azores (if you were planning the trip independently, please do refer to the Noonsite link above for advice). Alternatives will likely be the option of remaining in the Caribbean and sourcing the appropriate insurance, or shipping your yacht with an agent. Read on for further details.

Anyone contemplating sailing an international passage should self-isolate for 14 days prior to departure, to ensure that none of the crew develop symptoms once at sea, as it is likely that countries in the region will refuse access to anyone with the virus, making medical care difficult to obtain.

Caribbean Lay-up Options
For those needing to keep boats in the Caribbean, noonsite.com lists boatyards and marinas throughout the islands. Popular locations in Grenada and Trinidad fill-up fast so we urge prompt action on this. Other locations to consider include Colombia (Santa Marta), the “ABC” Islands or Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao; and on the Caribbean side of Panama. Visit the noonsite.com for specific locations and contacts

Yacht Insurance in the Caribbean
Even before the coronavirus crisis the yacht insurance market, in the Caribbean especially, has been complicated with the domicile of the boat owner, boat flag, and value all dictating which companies are able to provide cover.

Consumer protection rights are higher with insurance companies regulated in the UK/Europe and USA than local brokers, although there has been less availability for Summer Cover (Hurricane Season) with these companies. Several companies are now not providing cover for named storm damage, which places many owners in an uncomfortable situation so contact several companies and ask this question specifically. Most policies offering named-storm cover have a large excess and also strict requirements for how and where the boat should be laid-up. The insurers tend not to give cover to boats that are afloat, rather than ashore. We would encourage all boat owners to speak in detail with their insurers about the boatyard planned for lay-up to ensure the best procedures are being followed.

Contacts for Caribbean Brokers:
Sterling Insurance Brokers (St. Lucia) Ltd. - Saint Lucia
Warren Montgomery (Managing Director)
Tel: +1 758 452-5558
Email: waren.m@sibcl.com

Massy United Insurance Ltd. - Saint Lucia
(agents for Massey Marine, Barbados)
Jennifer Felix
Tel: +1 758 456-6568 or +1 758 456-6560
Email: jennifer.felix@jebergasse.com

Caribbean Insurers Limited - British Virgin Islands
(agents for Guardian General Insurance)
The Mirage Building, PO Box 129, Road Town, Tortola, BVI
Tel: + 1 284 494 2728

Guardian General Insurance Limited - Trinidad and Tobago
Newtown Centre, 30-34 Maraval Road, Newtown, 190133, Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: +1 868 877 6944

Caribbean Insurers Marine Limited British Virgin Islands
(agents for Massey Marine, Barbados)
Tel: +1 284 494 8239
Email: ciml@caribbins.com

Shipping Options

As of the 18 March, global shipping and logistics company Peters & May are continuing with their shipping schedules as much as possible. Although it is proving more challenging, they are able to offer a full schedule from the Caribbean back to Europe as long as they do full due diligence prior to each port call.C

ontact ukmarinesales@petersandmay.com or visit www.petersandmay.com for more information.

Sevenstar Yacht Transport are also continuing with operations and eager to assist yacht owners with whatever support they can. The current schedule is available here, and the advice is for those looking to load in the Caribbean is to make their way to St. Thomas where Sevenstar’s Load Managers are in situ to handle the transport on the owner’s behalf, enabling you to repatriate as soon as possible. For more information contact Sevenstar’s Transatlantic Sales Representative Wiebke Bokelmann-Ratha w.bokelmann@sevenstar.nl and see www.sevenstar-yacht-transport.com

Update 14 April - Noonsite.com has consolidated recently released shipping schedules: Click here for the details