Plain Sailing

Coronavirus Update

We’re monitoring news of the Coronavirus across Europe very closely and will keep our customers updated as the situation progresses.

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Last updated: Tuesday 7th April 2020

The sailing season would traditionally be kicking off this month, but travel restrictions are in place across Europe and the world due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which means that the start of the season proper has been postponed. This is how we understand the current situation and its likely impact on the sailing season ahead:

Current travel restrictions

Strict travel restrictions are in place both internally and internationally. The vast majority of countries in Europe are living under some kind of ‘lockdown’ conditions which restricts travel and freedom of their citizens, and limits which shops are allowed to be open, and when. Bars, restaurants, non-essential shops and even churches are now closed, and gatherings of more than two people are either frowned upon or formally prohibited – with police fining or even arresting people who flout the rules.

Whilst a small number of international flights are still taking place, many commercial airlines have grounded part or all of their planes for the whole of April (and Jet2 until mid-June), which makes travel impossible and/or expensive.

This covers all of our key charter areas of Croatia, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Malta, Montenegro, and Scotland.

What will happen next?

There are reasons to be positive - after a few weeks of ‘lockdown’ procedures in Europe, the tide is turning against the virus in Italy, France, Germany and Spain (amongst others), and there is a light at the end of the tunnel as the contagion and mortality rate in each of these countries begins to fall. Once the number of people infected with the virus is low enough, it is anticipated that the danger posed by the virus can be controlled (and hospitals will be able to cope with any people with severe symptoms).

It is encouraging that plans are now being made for 'post-lockdown' – Austria has announced plans for small shops to reopen on 13th April (and big shops on 1st May), Denmark has announced schools and nurseries will reopen on the 14th April, and it is widely anticipated that Germany will not extend their ‘lockdown’ when it expires on 19th April. Everyone else is surely only a matter of weeks behind.

The next big question is how quickly international travel can recommence, and what sort of checks will be required at the border to ensure that the virus does not re-enter the country, or, if it does, that people who have possibly been infected can be identified, tracked and isolated.

We anticipate that, with a following wind, sailing may be able to resume in some form in mid-May, and that people with holidays from mid-June should be able to board their boats - but there are likely a couple of twists in this tale yet.

What shall I do if I have a charter booked? What is the cancellation policy?

We’ve already contacted you if you have a booking with us in April or May, to discuss re-arranging your holiday to later in the season or to 2021. We recommend people with charters booked in June continue to wait and see what happens for another couple of weeks, when we will hopefully know more about what 'post-lockdown' looks like, and how feasible it will be for people to get to their boats, and whether shops, restaurants and bars will be open when you get there. The sunshine is certainly already on its way.

In general, our operators are being flexible and have amended their cancellation terms to allow you to postpone your sailing holiday to later in 2020, or to 2021, but contact your Personal Sailing Expert if you have any queries, or to discuss your booking.

In the meantime, stay home, and stay safe!