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Long journey home: The stranded sailboats in a race to beat the hurricanes

by The Guardian 14 May 2020 07:29 UTC
Outside the iconic Peter Cafe Sport © World Cruising Club

With a 3,600-mile non-stop solo sail across the Atlantic ahead of him, Garry Crothers is a little anxious. But he has to get moving before the hurricane season. "I'm in a bad place here, I don't have any choice," he says.

Like many living aboard their sailing boats, he has been stranded at sea by Covid-19. The 64-year-old Irishman has been on Kind of Blue, his 43ft aluminium boat, for two months, hardly touching land. He's anchored off Sint Maarten, in the Caribbean - a less pleasing prospect than it sounds. Hurricane season officially starts on 1 June and the island, as Crothers is acutely aware, is "bang in the middle of the hurricane belt" - hit hard by Dorian last year, and Irma in 2017. Neighbouring countries and islands that might afford protection are shut. Crothers' only safe option is a solo sail home to Ireland.

In one sense he's not alone. An estimated 500 boats are crossing the Atlantic to Europe in the coming weeks. From the South Pacific to the Indian Ocean, thousands of people are trying to sail home or find shelter.

To read more please go to the original article.

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