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One year ago

Since 1994 Bark EUROPA has sailed with an international crew; all part of the worldwide EUROPA family and every member has their own story to tell. A year ago 19 members of the Bark EUROPA family prepared for their 81-day, 10.000 nm, non stop voyage from Ushuaia to Scheveningen. On March 26th 2020 they wrote:“ HOIST THE SAILS!
Extraordinary situations demand extraordinary measures and sacrifices. We are leaving. We are sailing back to the Netherlands. Europa embarks on what will be its most unique journey. From Ushuaia, we will cross the southern ocean, temperatures will rise until we reach the tropics and we will continue north until we reach Europe. Sailing, without motor and without stopovers, because nowadays there is no open port that allows us to enter and refuel. If we achieve a constant speed of 5 knots we calculate that we will arrive in about two and a half months. We have food, we have diesel for the auxiliary generators and the best of the crews. We will succeed.

We realised about the pandemic global situation during our crossing the Drake Passage. The virus was expanding rapidly and the borders were beginning to close but we were in a microcosm oblivious to everything in which the winds, the weather and navigation were our absolute priority. We managed to enter Ushuaia hours before the official closure of ports in all Argentina.

Everything seemed normal: The airport was still working, there were people on the streets and the stores were open. The crew continued with their routine of preparing the ship and the food supplies arrived as usual while we thought about where we could go or what would become of us and Europe. Some crew members would soon disembark and others would replace them.

March 17, everything exploded: Tierra del Fuego was quarantined until March 31 at the moment and we, docked in Ushuaia, found ourselves trapped without even being able to set foot outside the ship.The situation seemed complicated: we have crew members who must return to their homes, others are traveling trying to get here, our families and loved ones are far away, we do not know if the voyage crew has managed to reach their homes ...
And then Europa makes itself heard. This is when it is shown that the Bark Europa is much more than a ship or a trip, it is a community and a family around this tall ship that we do not plan to abandon no matter what happens. The messages were not long in coming: The office is overturned with us, the captains and all the crew that we have ashore elsewhere in the world constantly write to us and we feel them close, the friends of Europa who have travelled with us send us forces from everywhere. THANKS.

We want to tell you that we are well, that we are united and that we are going to move forward. What this ship represents goes far beyond navigation alone. On behalf of the 19 crew and Captain Eric we want to thank you for all your messages and we also want to encourage everyone. We are also with you..

Geschreven door:
Eric Kesteloo | And other crew

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