“Our last stop was Martinique. Actually, everything was already shut down there, but as EU citizens we were allowed to stay there," says Christoph Nelles. But more and more ports were being closed, and the planned entry into Trinidad was constantly being postponed. At some point the US is longer an alternative, due to the hurricane season. “Then we considered that we have such a great boat and that the weather in May/June is also ideal at home. So why not just sail back?” Without further ado, they bunker the boat and cast off the lines. The couple spends 32 days at sea with a fellow skipper. In terms of quarantines, probably the safest place in the world. Even if they get pretty shaken up by storms at times.
“Actually we only wanted to stay in Germany for about six months. But now we’ve changed our plans. The world is upside-down at the moment. Even Trinidad still hasn’t opened again.” But Christoph and Ellen-Maria take it with a sense of humour: “The Baltic Sea is also beautiful. So we’ll sail there for the time being and then see how everything works out in one or two years. We know skippers who choose the other direction come August and want to sail to the Caribbean. But we don't think this is the right time for that.”
Here are some extracts from the sailing around the world blog and the JOYA logbook:
18.386416, -64.718056 18 March 2020 East End On the last day before the borders close, we register in Sopers Hole in the BVI.
18.500773, -64.368553 28 March 2020
We leave the BVI in total lockdown and hope for St Kitts Nevis.
17.292954, -62.727127 31 March 2020
As St. Kitts is also in full lockdown starting today, we are escorted by the coast guard with flashing blue lights back to the open sea.
16.217065, -61.535883 10 April 2020
We reach the capital of Guadeloupe and spend the next week here in lockdown in an industrial bay.
16.516667, -59.33333 – 23 May 2020
The first 150 nautical miles are in our wake. The wind has dropped considerably and is blowing from the SE, direct course is set on the Azores.
22.305, -53.033333 – 27 May 2020
The wind has picked up but is still blowing from the SE. “Days at sea pass so fast” and, in fact, our day now has only about 23 hours and 50 minutes, because every day we cover a good 220 km in a north-easterly direction. Today on our 6th day at sea, we’re one hour ahead of UTC-3 (Greenland or Brazil time). The JOYA plies bravely through the somewhat choppy sea.
44.7397, -39.3967 – 9 June 2020
Since yesterday we’ve been on the Transatlantic Express and at speeds of up to 12 knots we’ve managed about 190 nautical miles in 24 hours. The Gennaker is being stretched to the limit and hopefully it’ll hold out. Today we gained another hour on the clock, so now we’re only 4 hours ahead of Kölle, Du ming Stadt am Ring..., it would be so nice, but we probably won’t make it before the summer solstice.
49.4833, -18.2333 – 16 June 2020
Day 26 at sea and another day without any corona updates. We wonder how the pandemic has developed? Nevertheless, the break from daily checking of the Tagesschau news app has been a relief. And what else might have happened, does “Little” Britain still belong to the EU, is Trump still in office?
51.3833, 2.9667, Belgium – 22 June 2020
The 32nd and last day of our exciting sail across the North Atlantic is coming to an end and in 2 hours we’ll reach Breskens, where a large delegation of our family awaits us. We’re all feeling overjoyed and grateful. Hooray for the JOYA!!!