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SVG International Airport Opening Soon!

Been waiting patiently to fly directly into St Vincent for your bareboat charter? The time for your fast travel to the islands may be arriving sooner than you think with the new airport.

St Vincent officials have publicly announced an opening date for the new Argyle International Airport.

According to Prime Minister, Ralph Gonzalves, on February 14, 2017 Argyle’s international airport will be ‘open for business’.

In planning and development since Aug 2008, St Vincent’s Argyle airport is intended to offer a nonstop service from North America, Central and South America and Europe to St. Vincent.

The Argyle passenger terminal will be comprised of three floors covering 129,870 square feet in total. The building will have a departure lounge, a rooftop restaurant, full flight facilities, a rooftop garden, a parking area and a large runway designed to accommodate large commercial aircraft.

The airport will also have a terminal building designed to specifically accommodate domestic flights in and out of St Vincent.

The Argyle airport is said to accommodate around 800 passengers at a time and up to 1.5 million passengers per year which will make it possible for many of us to travel less and spend more time doing all the things we love to do on vacation!

Photo by Mark Pratley, Barefoot Yacht Charters

A beautiful 32 islands and cays to discover. From the largest St. Vincent to the tiniest of all, Mopion. This tropical paradise will now be more accessible to those wanting to travel and explore all the beauty of the islands.

It may be time to sail more and fly less.

In planning your next sailing adventure or vacation, be sure to check in with the staff at Barefoot Yacht Charters to learn more about which airlines will be flying directly into St Vincent.

You never know. You may just be able to give yourself an extra day in paradise!

The Barefoot Family 

See some local news on Argyle International Airport here 

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Barefoot’s Safer Sunscreen Checklist

It is now possible to choose our level of sun protection and ingredients in the sunscreen we use when we are sailing thanks to the Barefoot Yacht Charters Safer Sunscreen Checklist!

We all need some sunlight because it gives us 80% of the Vitamin D that we need, the trick is not to burn.

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Photo – Mark Pratley, Barefoot Yacht Charters

If you are sailing in The Grenadines, then you are going to be spending a lot of time in the cockpit.  Even if you have your bimini up, you are still going to be exposed from the reflection from the water.  Protecting the skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is important for both preventing skin cancer and reducing the rate of skin aging.

Depending on your skin tone, between 10-20 minutes a day of sunlight is good for you. Beyond that we need to think about protecting our skin from the harmful UV rays.

You can reduce exposure by following some simple principles:

  • Avoid going out in the sun.
  • Wear long sleeves and a hat
  • Sit in the shade

Doesn’t sound like a fun holiday right?

So now we need to consider sunscreens.  The most widely available sunscreens are chemical based and work mainly by absorbing UV light. Most penetrate the skin to some degree, can enter the bloodstream and cause serious health conditions.

As a follower of the Barefoot Lifestyle I try to avoid synthetic chemicals as much as I can and this applies to sunscreens.

My reasons why? Because some of the ingredients can release free radicals in sunlight, act like oestrogen and therefore disrupt hormones, cause allergic reactions and skin irritations.

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Photo – Mark Pratley, Barefoot Yacht Charters

In addition, when we jump into the sea we are releasing these chemicals and there is some evidence that it is causing coral bleaching by promoting viral infections.

Recent studies on sunscreen also suggest that the

“titanium dioxide in sunscreens is largely responsible for dramatic spikes in hydrogen peroxide levels in coastal waters with potentially dangerous consequences for aquatic life”.

Tony Gibbons Beach, Bequia

Tony Gibbons Beach, Bequia

At present sunscreens have no rigorous safety standards.

Until recently, anyone who didn’t want to use these toxic chemicals had to make their own sunscreens using natural ingredients with a natural SPF such as non-Nano zinc oxide, Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, and Shea Butter.

This is a great, fun thing to do, but when it comes to packing for your holidays it is more convenient to be able to buy something off the shell…one less thing to worry about! The good news is that the market place has embraced natural sunscreens and there are a few to choose from such as Erbaviva Sunscreen or Purple Prairie SunStuff. Barefoot Yacht Charters also carry a local Caribbean brand of natural sunscreen at the Barefoot Yacht Charters Boutique. Ask our lovely front desk ladies for more information!

To help you, Barefoot Yacht Charters have created a Safer Sunscreen Checklist to help you choose which sunscreen product to buy.  Get your copy here!

 

 

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St Vincent and the Grenadines – Zika Virus FREE

The rapid spread of Zika virus through the Americas, together with the association of infection with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, have propelled this previously ignored virus into the limelight. 

Says Professor Esper Kallas of University of San Paolo, Brazil.

What is Zika?

Zika fever is transmitted among humans by mosquito bites. It is a member of the flavivirus family, which includes the dengue virus.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outline that “most individuals (75%) infected with Zika virus experience mild or no symptoms”. About 25% of infected people develop symptoms 2-10 days after infection in four people may develop mild flu symptoms and a light rash that can last between two and seven days.

The World Health Organisation says people affected should drink plenty of fluids, ensure they rest regularly and treat pain and fever with common medicines.

Which countries are affected?

The World Health Organization has placed travel notices for those countries experiencing the transmission of the ZIKA virus.

This list of countries currently includes the US Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S territory, Saint Martin, Barbados, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti and Jamaica. A map on the Pan American Health Organisation website is updated weekly.

Should we be concerned about Zika in St Vincent and the Grenadines?

There have been no reports of the Zika virus in the islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, and no travel notices are issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

If you are traveling to and from St Vincent and the Grenadines, do keep in mind that travelers who visit a country where Zika is found could still become infected if bitten by a mosquito in those areas (download our checklist to help avoid this HERE). Imported cases may result in local spread of the virus.

Prevention for Travelers

When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses are spread by mosquitoes, it is important to take precaution:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

We have created a special Mosquito Prevention Travel Checklist for you to download below to help you reduce your risk of mosquito bites wherever you go!

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created a checklist for travellers which you can download directly from our checklist. We are dedicated to keeping you healthy and happy!

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We want you to experience the very best of the Grenadines with nothing to worry about except which island to which you would like to set sail 🙂

 

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It’s the Season to be Sailing!

It’s the season to be sailing!

How about a tropical sailing Christmas? ? Have you ever wanted to just sail away from it all? Anchor off an uninhabited island, swim, snorkel, relax and watch the sunset in pure Island Life.

Clear water, soft sand, perfect breeze and good vibes

This is the perfect description of this time of year in St Vincent and the Grenadines, 32 islands that can easily become yours!

With no customs to concern you, no shopping queues or to-do lists. Just a sailing holiday getaway in paradise.

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A Tropical Sailing Christmas in Tobago Cays

This year, Christmas falls on a full moon, which means one of our favourite islands, Union Island will be hosting the best Full Moon Party of 2015 on Clifton beach at sunset. From Happy Island to Clifton beach, you can bar hop and experience the best this island has to offer by sea. Clear water, warm breeze, soft sand and a rum punch in hand!

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Union Island Full Moon Party!

We love to treat our guests like family and one of the best ways we do this is by inviting them to join our Barefoot Family! Life at Barefoot Yachts is relaxed, friendly and laid back. Just as Caribbean life should be! We take care of everything for you so you can arrive, unwind and enjoy every minute of your well deserved vacation! It’s a Breeze!

No matter where you are this Christmas, we wish you the most wonderful holiday season. From our family to yours!!

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Wishing the most wonderful Holiday Season and all the very best that 2016 has to offer! May all your dreams come true. May you always find your true north and forever have wind in your sails.

“To reach a port we must set sail –
Sail, not tie at anchor
Sail, not drift.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

See you Next Year!

Barefoot Yachts – 3 Generations of Selfless Sailors

Barefoot Yacht Charters has a love of Sailing…and Animals

Barefoot Yacht Charters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines sails smoothly in the capable hands of founder/owner Mary Barnard. It’s therefore no surprise that the same drive and dedication she puts into Barefoot Yacht Charters extends to her volunteer work as president of the non-profit Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Mary Barnard

Mary Barnard

Mary is not alone in her love for animals. Her daughter Leslie Barnard and partner Winston Ferguson, owners of the Driftwood Restaurant and Lounge at Barefoot Yacht Charters, are both on the VSPCA’s board of directors. Three happy canines – Lily, Lulu and Peipo – are part of the menagerie residing at the homes of Barefoot operations manager Philip Barnard and director of the Barefoot Offshore Sailing School, James Ward (Mary’s son and grandson). The dogs (two are rescues) usually spend their days lounging around one office or the other as their owners work to ensure fabulous yachting vacations for their guests.

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Three generations of sailing lovers…and animal lovers.

To find out about the history, activities and achievements of the VSPCA from its incorporation in October 2011 to present, go to their website, www.vincentianspca.org or Facebook. What isn’t chronicled is that of the first president, Kiersten Anderson, was the hull of the VSPCA’s massive undertaking in its early months, then Mary Barnard is the superstructure itself.

President for two years, Mary oversees the dedicated service of less than a dozen active volunteers – all with jobs, businesses, families and pets of their own to tend to, and without a central location to work from. But that doesn’t stop them from organizing fundraisers; managing the accounts; writing grant proposals; ordering pharmaceuticals; handling advertising; creating brochures and flyers; answering questions via phone and email; maintaining a website; picking up and storing donated food, medicines, collars, auction items, etc.; dealing with legal issues; educating the public… Plus the actual hands-on work of rescuing animals in crisis and finding them foster and adoptive homes, and organizing/working at the VSPCA’s community spaying and neutering clinics for the pets of low-income families throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Owner donations average about 10 percent of the VSPCA’s clinic costs, but the journey continues towards a zero-population growth of SVG’s dogs and cats. Preventing this cruelty – that of allowing thousands of our companion animals to be born into a lifetime of hunger, disease and pain – is one of the VSPCA’s top priorities.

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In addition to ensuring a steady course towards its goals, Mary also plunges into her role as ambassador, mediator and head schmoozer, as she coaxes her way through countless obstacles of apathy and even distain, and the proverbial red tape seen in governments, private organizations and individuals. But with a captain’s determination to weather adverse conditions she convinces others that the work and the recipients of the VSPCA are worthy to receive assistance in any form: financial, in duty-free concessions, visiting-vet work permits, donations of goods and services, and on and on.

Clearly, with Mary Barnard at the helm of Barefoot Yacht Charters and the VSPCA, and with family and crew aiming towards ideal destinations, both visitors and animals will continue to receive the consideration, care and commitment they deserve.

 

5 Caribbean Events Not To Miss!

 

When you sail the blue-green waters of the southern Caribbean with Barefoot Yacht Charters, you might want a break from the pleasures of diving, snorkeling and sunbathing to visit one of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ spectacular land sites.

If you’re in the mood to party Vincy style, get a better sense of Vincentians and their culture, ‘events’ are the way to go. Whatever your idea of a ‘must-see’ event, big or small, there are plenty to choose from in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Since not all 2016 dates are available as of this writing, let Barefoot Yacht Charters help with your itinerary as your vacation time approaches.

Music starts SVG’s year of activities with the Mustique Blues Festival. Premiere performances from local, regional and international artistes run from 20 January to 3 February. And the Bequia Music Festival enlivens that island from 21- 24 January. Blues, country, steel pan, calypso, jam sessions on the beach, with plenty barbeque, dancing, jump ups and fun

Theatre, gospel and dance Performing Arts festivals happen in February, April, September and November. So very Vincy are these shows, usually locally written and choreographed.

March brings a religious and fun side to many Easter celebrations, one of the most popular being Easterval on Union Island, starting the 19th. Then island hop to the Bequia Easter Regatta with its boat races, sports, games, music and street jumps from the 24th – 28th.

But, if your vacation dates don’t coincide with this one, catch the Mayreau and Canouan Regattas in May. Also in May, the Maroon Festival on Union Island explodes with flavourful foods, dancing, folksongs and drum-throbbing excitement – all to persuade the gods to bring rain to their desert island. While on Union, don’t miss their Full Moon Party!

If steel pan, soca, calypso, beauty pageants, colourful costumes, painted bodies, pounding beats and dancing feet are your thing, Vincy Mas (Carnival) is a definite must-see. Carnival officially starts 24 June and ends 5 July, but if you can’t participate in this celebration on the mainland, Bequia and Union Island Carnivals come alive a week or two earlier, while the islanders jump up at the Canouan Carnival towards the end of July.

It’s not surprising that there’s a whole Fisherman’s Month in April, and on Bequia a special Fisherman’s Day Competition in July. Lots of action, parties and delicious eating! Then in August, SVG showcases its historically famous, bountiful and versatile tree during the Breadfruit Festival. Also in August, Emancipation Month, with events to commemorate the end of slavery. Leap forward to Independence Day, 27 October, a celebration with parades, beauty pageants, sport competitions (cycling very popular), and activities of all sorts. Even British naval vessels join in the fun.

The unique Nine Mornings before Christmas festival takes place in communities throughout the islands. The party begins in capital Kingstown around 3.00 a.m. with a lighted flambeau street parade, traditional Vincy music, carols and games, and refreshments such as sorrel drinks and ducana (a sweet cassava delicacy wrapped in banana leaves and boiled). Nothing like this nine-day party anywhere.

Whatever must-see events in St Vincent and the Grenadines excite you, sail to them with Barefoot Yacht Charters. Vincy pleasures from the sea, the land and its people await you.

Bequia Sailing Regatta

Bequia Sailing Regatta

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Support the children and win a sailing holiday with Barefoot Yacht Charters

Wouldn’t you love to know you are supporting the children of St Vincent and the Grenadines with Barefoot Yacht Charters, while sailing one of the most beautiful destinations in the world? Of course you would!

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That’s why folks are jumping into the American Sailing Association/Hands Across Sea Caribbean Getaway Sweepstakes. It’s easy!

Follow this sweepstakes entry link to make a donation to support literacy for Caribbean children, and you’ll be entered to win a one-week bareboat sailboat charter for four people in the spectacular St. Vincent and the Grenadines island archipelago, courtesy of Barefoot Yacht Charters.

Second prize is also spectacular: seven nights at beautiful Palm Island Resort & Spa, a luxury private island retreat in the Grenadines, courtesy of Elite Island Resorts.

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Best of all, if you’re sailing with Barefoot Yachts or staying at the beautiful Palm Island Resort, you’ll be helping Hands Across the Sea put great new books into the hands of Caribbean kids, from pre-school to high school age.

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You’ll find contest details and more at the ASA/Hands Caribbean Getaway Sweepstakes page. Entries close at 12:01 AM on October 1, 2014.

Good luck . . . and we’ll see you down here!

Hands Across the Sea and Barefoot Yacht Charters

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NEW Boats! SAME Paradise.

The launch of the new Barefoot Lifestyle brings new boats along with new exciting sailing opportunities. 3 new Catamarans have arrived in the Barefoot Yacht Charters fleet.

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These boats are spacious, affordable, easy to handle, comfortable and efficient for families or groups of up to 8 guests. Click the images to see more details on each new boat in the fleet.

ISAPHIL (the Mermaid) 2014 Lagoon 38

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Isaphil (the Mermaid) is fast, easy to handle and safe, the Lagoon 38 is the most popular boat  for circumnavigations and one of the most successful production charter yachts in the world.

She is extremely well-equipped with a full suite of electronics, and her fastidious owners have also added several touches not usually found on charter yachts of this type – both hot and cold water at the deck shower; additional fresh water capacity; solar panels; and high quality upholstery.

She has a simple but efficient deck lay-out, 360 degree vision in the rounded saloon and extremely well insulated engine compartments located a good way from the living quarters. This yacht can easily be handled by just two people, but is comfortable for up to 6.

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AMARYLLIS Belize 43

Amaryllis is an extremely efficient sailing catamaran and one of the fastest in her class, easily handled by a smaller crew but with many of the amenities one might expect to find on a much larger yacht.

This Belize 43 extremely well-equipped (including air conditioning), and every navigational aspect on this yacht has been optimised – the helm station protected by a fixed plexiglass screen, access to the gangways, under-deck stowage of halyards, direct anchorage and more. Meticulous attention has been paid to each detail for greater sailing ease.

Architect Olivier Flahault has succeeded in maximising space and storage capacity making it comfortable and eminently practical for long-term cruising. The saloon has a strikingly spacious feel, and an ingenious innovation enables the seating to adapt to either a circle or square arrangement.

TIR NA NOG Lagoon 38

Tir Na Nog is a 4-cabin / 2-head catamaran providing sufficient space for up to eight guests.

The aft cabins are slightly larger than the forward ones. Two heads with showers are centrally located in each pontoon. The panoramic salon and galley connect directly with the cockpit to offer fantastic indoor-outdoor air flow.

It has a huge interior volume for a 38-footer. Add to this, a large and comfortable cockpit for lounging and dining al fresco, as well as easy transom access to the water or your dinghy, and you have the ideal yacht for larger groups or families.

Choose one of our new, premium or value line boats and come experience the best of The Barefoot Lifestyle and the turquoise waters of the Southern Caribbean on an epic sailing adventure sure to last a lifetime.

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The Barefoot Family 

 

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Your Barefoot Guide to Swimming with the Turtles

On your Barefoot Yacht Charter, discover the Tobago Cays, where you will find the only natural turtle sanctuary in the Grenadines. Grab your mask and snorkel and dive into the tropical, turquoise waters. 

“Sea turtles are one of the Earth’s most ancient creatures. The seven species that can be found today have been around for 110 million years, since the time of the dinosaurs. The sea turtle’s shell, or “carapace” is streamlined for swimming through the water. Unlike other turtles, sea turtles cannot retract their legs and head into their shells. Their color varies between yellow, greenish and black depending on the species” – Ocean Defenders

THE GUIDE TO THE ENDANGERED-2

 Turtle Facts:

  • Sea Turtles feed mainly on jellyfish, seaweed, crabs, shrimp, sponges, snails, algae and mollusks.
  • Much like salmon, Sea Turtles will return to the same nesting grounds at which they were born.
  • When females nest, they come to the shore and dig out a nest in the ground with their back flippers. They will bury their eggs and then return to the ocean.
  • A female may lay between 70-190 eggs in her nest depending on the species. When the young hatch out of their eggs, they make their way to the ocean.
  • Green sea turtles can stay under water for as long as five hours even though the length of a feeding dive is usually five minutes or less. Their heart rate slows to conserve oxygen: nine minutes may elapse between heartbeats.

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The Tobago Cays snorkel area is easy to navigate. Dotted along the inside of horseshoe reef you will find red or white moorings that you can use to secure your dinghy for your aquatic adventure. In your preparation, allow for current and always take a buddy with you . The best time for spotting turtles is either in the morning or late afternoon.

While on your bareboat adventure, look out for sea turtles all around. Especially on the eastern side of Baradal Island where an exclusion zone has been created. Snorkelers can share this space with the turtles.

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Be cautious when approaching a resting turtle and as you enter their space. Snorkelers should not grab turtles in any way as they could drown if they are moved in the wrong direction.

Respect the turtles and their habitat and they will give you a beautiful memory to last a lifetime!

If you see a turtle yawn or open their mouth wide, it could be a trigger that they are uncomfortable with the close encounter. If they are afraid or disturbed, they may swim deep or quickly move away from you. Allow them to do so. In extreme distress, they may swipe their flippers over their forehead which is turtle talk for “flip off!”.

Turtles can swim in amazingly fast bursts.

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Sadly, these beautiful reptiles are now globally threatened with extinction and you can help to protect them and enjoy their beauty all at the same time.

It is important to know that the most common and largest threats to sea turtles are human related. While chemical spills and coastal development pose a large problem for marine life, entanglement in man-made garbage and ingestion of plastic bags (mistakenly thought to be jellyfish) are serious threats that affect the turtle population on a daily basis. A large proportion of this is sadly coming from recreational activities.

What we can do to help..

 Ocean Defender gives some helpful tips on how we can all help to reduce damage to Turtles and their habitats 

  • Reduce the Amount of Garbage You Produce, and take an extra beach bag to Clean Up Trash You See On the Beach. Sea turtles often become tangled in plastic and trash both on the shore and in the water. Discarded items such as fishing lines, balloons and plastic bags may also be confused for food and eaten by sea turtles, often resulting in injury or death.
  • Be Aware of Sea Turtle Nesting Areas and Avoid Nesting and Hatching Turtles. Sea turtles are cute, and therefore tempting to touch and observe – but flashlights and people disturb turtles when they are nesting, or trying to nest, on the beach. Make sure to give nesting areas plenty of space, and do not disturb females as they emerge from the ocean looking for a place to nest. Also be conscious of where nesting areas are so that you can avoid trampling the hatchlings as they head to the water.
  • Reduce the Amount of Chemicals You Use. The chemicals you use in and around your boat may be discharged into the sea – killing plants and animals. It is very important to properly dispose of toxic chemicals and, even better, reduce the number of chemicals you use or find alternative products such as biodegradable solutions will help to save the turtles!
  • There are countless ways in which you can make a positive difference in the lives of sea turtles. Organize a clean-up day with your friends and clear the beach of litter, give a presentation to your neighborhood or local school on things they can do to save sea turtles, and most importantly, talk to others about what they can do to make sure they are not putting these important creatures in danger.

If you see something floating in the water, jump into your dinghy and pick it up. You will most likely be saving a turtle’s life. Enjoy your turtle time in the Tobago Cays and creating magical moments with these beautiful, treasured reptiles.

“There are sea turtles everywhere, foraging right below our feet, peaceful but fearless. Nothing about them appears passive, so thick skinned and strong. I want to be like that, wise, peaceful and perfectly equipped to deal with anything. ” Michael J. Fox

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Barefoot’s Yacht “Malisi” Assists In Search For Missing Yacht

Barefoot Yacht Charters’ yacht Malisi, taking part in the ARC Europe race, joins the search for missing yacht Cheeki Rafiki and her crew.

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Cheeki Rafiki, a sailing yacht from Southampton, was returning home to the UK, following the Antigua Race Week when the crew of 4 encountered difficulties. During a primary search for the yacht, an upturned vessel was located however the 4 crew members are still missing.

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The Barefoot yacht Malisi (Outremer 64) will shortly arrive in the area of predicted drift of Cheeki Rafiki and begin a search pattern.

Malisi is managed by our company – Barefoot Yacht Charters of St Vincent and the Grenadines. She has a highly experienced crew and is a very fast yacht capable of speeds of up to 20 knots.

Having sailed south of the rhumb line route from Bermuda to the Azores, to avoid the cut-off gale, Malisi altered course during the night, after conditions moderated, and made for the drift area.

Information on the location of PLB transmissions, possible hull sighting, and the predicted drift area was provided via Stormforce Coaching from US Coastguard (USCG) in Boston during last night (19/20 May).

This information has also been passed to the other yachts taking part in ARC Europe and currently on passage from Bermuda to Horta, Azores.

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Malisi skipper, Patrick Michel, reported at 0835UTC today to be sailing “8kts towards the upturned yacht”

Malisi skipper, Patrick Michel, reported at 0835UTC today “The sun has risen and we are now in position 038-07N, 048-34.9W, doing 8kts towards the upturned yacht. 8.1nm to go, ETA 1000UT”. Once in the area Patrick Michel will start a search pattern based on analysis of the wind speeds, and swell direction on the last reported positions of PLBs and the upturned hull.

The ARC Europe boats were sailing much further south than Cheeki Rafiki , however, as the weather has now moderated, it may be easier for them to make a more northerly course. As the reported upturned hull is floating low in the water, it is a potential hazard to other vessels, and all yachts have been advised to maintain a good lookout whilst in the predicted drift area. Information on the location and communications equipment of the ARC Europe boats has been passed to USCG Boston.

“All of us here at Barefoot are very proud of the decision, made by the crew of Malisi, to suspend racing and go to the aid of our missing colleagues. Their decision is a selfless one and we have no doubt they will do everything in their power to bring the boys home”, said Philip Barnard.