After the best part of 6 weeks of discussions, procrastinations, deliberations, some sleepless nights and lots and lots of phone calls, we have reached a decision. We finally are settled on our next steps and today I have a feeling of relief and lightness and exhaustion. Stress is not a good thing! To explain: long story short, in the light of the coronavirus we had 3 clear options:

1 – Ship the boat home and fly back at the end of May. This felt like a lousey and totally anti-climactic way to end our adventure but despite the exorbitant cost and the depressing reality, this was a front runner.

2 – Sail home. This would mean leaving the Caribbean within the week, after 7 days self isolation to ensure we didn’t have “the bug” we would sail the 15+ days to the Azores. Because of the virus we would not be able to go ashore in the Azores, so would refuel then stay on anchor for no longer than 2 nights. We would then have a further 8+ day sail directly back to Chichester harbour where we would live on the boat in lockdown. Doing this double handed with the kids without a break was very far from ideal and not the ending we had planned.

3 – Sail to the mainland US. An 8 day sail. Then depending on the situation there, we may be able to slowly make our way north out of the hurricane belt, but then what to do with the boat? We would have missed our weather window to sail home.

Apologies to all our friends and family who have heard this all before and have been helping us work through the scenarios. Times like these make your close relationships so important, we were drawn in many directions by many opinions, but our scales were truly turned by two. Thank you, David, for drumming some good sense into us, and Billy, for giving us options we couldn’t have made this decision without.

To have friends in the sailing industry working all over the world has been a total godsend on our trip even before the calamity of the coronavirus, but now it is invaluable. With the help of friends we have made the call to sail west to the states. We’ll leave with a flotilla called salty dawg (very apt) on the 10th of May. It will take 8 or so days to sail the 900 mile passage to Miami, where our friends have a marina they will welcome us into. From Miami we will slowly sail up the east coast until we are out of the hurricane belt. We have an option now of leaving Dalliance in Virginia, so we will secure her there and fly home from Virginia at the end of July, just 2 weeks premature of the date we were hoping to finish our adventure.

The boat will be in safe hands and we will worry about how to get her home later, we have some time to work that out. The younger girls’ biggest consideration in all this is how they are going to fit all their teddies in a suitcase, Isla is opting for the no clothes route…. that could be interesting!

There is a part of all of us, especially grown-up tenacious Sophie, that is disappointed about not finishing the trip under sail, Disappointed to not bring Dalliance home. I get that. It is disappointing. We planned for a long time to do this trip and worked hard to make it unforgettable… but you can’t argue with a pandemic and under the circumstances we are making the best of a bad situation. We are still trying to travel, explore and grow. We have promised the girls that someday we will do the crossing back home under better skies and finish the trip in a fitting way. This is by far a first world problem and we feel privileged to have got this far through our amazing experience.

So for now, we are playing again. Life has taken on a lighter feel, the kids have been back in their sailing dinghy and we have managed to hook up (from a distance) with some new/old friends from back in Lanzarote who are sailing the same route as us, and an old/old friend we used to work with here in St Thomas. We are sad we cannot have family visit and we’re adjusting into our new normal, as we all are, but we are looking forward to a good offshore passage. Just going somewhere again will be exciting. To have a solid plan feels liberating. We are hopeful and thankful.

Thinking of everyone in lockdown less able to move than us, we hope that you will all get a bit more freedom too, just as soon as it’s safe! X


5 responses so far.

  1. Grandma Peaches says:

    I am glad you have made a decision! Know you are welcome in Colorado! Xxx

  2. Sue Bullen says:

    So good to hear from you…..we were wondering! Good luck on your final leg…see you when you are back. Philip & Sue x

  3. Lynne says:

    Sounds like a good choice & the adventure continues! Take care.
    Love from Lynne, Michael & Oscar x

  4. Carol Brookes says:

    Bon voyage to you all as you set off today – we’ll be looking froward to hearing from you when you arrive in Miami!
    Lots of love, Mum/Nanny B & David xx

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