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Marlow 2020 Blue Ocean Doublebraid - LEADERBOARD

The exodus from paradise has begun

by Daria Blackwell / OCC 9 May 20:45 UTC
The exodus from paradise has begun © Ocean Cruising Club

Boats have started leaving the Caribbean over the past couple of weeks, departing in small groups when the weather suits to cross the Atlantic.

Peter Whatley, past OCC Vice Commodore, and ground support for the OCC Atlantic Crossing West to East Facebook Group fleet, waved farewell to three boats that left Falmouth Harbour, Antigua yesterday bound for the Azores. Balou (Malo 42 double-handed), Fathom (Vancouver solo), and Nebula (Moody 33 solo). All friends together. Fair winds! It is so heartening to see the tracks and view the sailors departing, mostly to return home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some crews opt to head north to Bermuda first, others are heading directly to Horta in the Azores. The OCC SSB radio net has been active for several weeks and the tracker is reporting on the status of the entire fleet that signed up to the free service set up by PredictWind. More than 160 boats have announced their intentions to cross the Atlantic back to Europe this season, and 57 have already signed on to the fleet tracker. Each is responsible for their own decisions about when and how to undertake the journey.

The Q flags are already flying in the Azores and shore leave is not permitted for visiting yachtsmen. The Azores are permitting 48-hour stopovers in one of three ports, arrangements are made to take on fuel and water, and Peter Cafe Sport is supplying provisions. The staff of Peter Cafe Sport are to be commended for their support of cruisers through the pandemic.

For more in-depth information, please visit the OCC Atlantic Crossing Facebook Page. For the duration of the pandemic Atlantic crossing season, this page remains open to all sailors planning to cross to Europe regardless of OCC membership.

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