Covid-19, Storm Filomena and cancelled flights for the Viking Explorers 2021 to Grenada
The 4th edition of the Viking Explorers started from the Canary Islands to Grenada on the 9th of January, with a delay of 3 days as captains and the organization decided to delay the departure due to the storm Filomena, as named by the Spanish Media.
An unusual storm approaching the Canary Islands from the West, causing floods, heavy winds, and high seas on the Islands.
After weeks of preparations several crews also had many problems as to arrive at the islands as restrictions in Europe increased due to the Pandemic and therefore cancelled flights affected crews arriving at their boats.
PCR tests were performed, and tracking systems were installed to comply with the protocols of the arrival port of call.
Since the 13th of December, participants enjoyed safety seminars, provisioning and first aid seminars, and the new and well accepted seminar “Tricks and Tips for the Caribbean”. They have visited the old town and enjoyed their stay in Gran Canaria.
Finally, 7 boats and crews from Sweden, Norway, Australia, Spain, New Zealand, England, Italy, Canada, Bermuda, and Argentina left Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on the 9th of January on their way across the Atlantic towards the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada, the spice island of the Caribbean, as it is known.
With still some gusty winds of up to 25 knts and 3 - 4 m waves the fleet departed the Island of Gran Canaria downwind as weather started to settle down and crews expect a nice standard trade wind sailing towards the Caribbean.
The smallest boat being a Hinckley Pilot 35 and the biggest a Lagoon 52 and crews with ages from 4 to 65 and 2 dogs all enjoyed the camaraderie within the fleet, and as every year a nice family was created, and new friendships were established with like-minded people. Indeed, the main purpose of the Viking Explorers Rally.
The fleet departed on its way to Grenada on a journey of about 2800 miles. Some boats have decided to stop in Mindelo, others have taken the direct route.
The Grenada Tourism Authority, Port Louis Grenada and Westerhall Rum, the official arrival hosts will ensure to welcome these sailors after their great achievement of having crossed the Atlantic.
The concept of Viking Explorers seems to be liked by real cruisers wanting to cross the social way, in a smaller group, as we say, “The Viking Explorers Family” and the organizers are looking already into the 5th edition with already 9 confirmed entries and many on the preliminary list.
The start is from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on the 6th of January.
This year participants have the choice of two routes, the direct route to Port Louis Marina in Grenada, 2800 miles, or with an alternative stop in Mindelo, 850 miles and then 2200miles.
The Viking Explorers is a small, reduced fleet with a maximum of 25 boats. The ethos is not the biggest possible group, but the friendliest one and there is no compulsory equipment. The Viking Explorers tries not to be so commercial as other events and focuses much more on an easy-going familiar atmosphere.
Viking Explorers is not a race and the organization encourages the fleet to help each other.
The first Viking Explorers left Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 2018 to Barbados being a completely free event with no sponsors.
Since 2018, the Viking Explorers do charge a low fee and have been supported by Tourism Authorities, companies, cruising associations and passionate sailors.
The Viking Explorers 2021 is sponsored by the Grenada Tourism Authority, Camper & Nicholson Port Louis Marina and Westerhall Rum. It has also the support from minor sponsors called “Friends of Viking Explorers”, like Imray, Hydrovane, Predictwind, Marina of Tazacorte and Island Dreams Grenada.
The Seven Seas Cruising Association, the Ocean Cruising Club, Trans-Ocean and Anavre have also supported the event since the start in 2018.
The Viking Explorers does a great effort in helping the environment. It collaborates with the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the Program Sail and Whale. Participants are encouraged to forward data with the sighting of cetaceans.
Also, many Eco-friendly companies are supporting the event by offering free products to participants.
The Viking Explorers tries to reduce their negative impact towards the environment, reduces drastically plastic used at their events, and creates awareness within the sailing community for a better and cleaner planet.
The organization has been in constant contact with the authorities and have introduced all health protocols within their rally. PCR test have been organized with the collaboration of the Hospital Pepetuo Socorro, as boats will only be able to leave with a negative result obtained a few hours before departure. The crews are advised to take extra cautions and to follow at all times the changing protocols.
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