15/01/2021
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Dear Islanders

Firstly, I would like to wish everyone a far better 2021 than we have experienced in 2020. Who could have predicted what we have all endured during the past 12 months. It has been a very trying and worrying time for many, and we have all been affected to some extent either in our personal lives or in business. Fingers crossed that the vaccines coming on stream are a large part of the answer.

Locally , the Covid situation has forced us to expect a very different way of celebrating Christmas and New Year , with the numbers still on the rise. It’s not an ideal situation, and I really feel for the owners of restaurants and bars who are having to operate under incredibly difficult rules and regulations during these times. We all need to respect these rules if we are to have any chance of the island recovering in time for any sort of 2021 tourist season.

As I write this today on December 12th, another potential huge milestone in our lives looms large, for tomorrow is the end of the Brexit negotiations, or so they say!! I’m sure I speak for many when I say I’ll be glad to see then end of the past four and a half years posturing, where we don’t seem to be any nearer now than we were then to any sort of agreement !

Out on the high seas, the Vendee Globe Race is reaching the intense period of the Southern Ocean, with the top three boats within 30  miles of each other, which is quite incredible after 5 weeks of racing. Sadly Alex Thompson , the original race favourite in Hugo Boss has been forced to retire due to a broken rudder after hitting discarded fishing gear, and ever increasing issue in our Oceans. This after spending 4 days and nights repairing his boat when the bow sections began to crack. Very sad indeed for him and his team. More drama was to follow, when Kevin Escoffier, 40, the French sailor who was lying in third place, was forced to take to his liferaft  when 840 miles south west of Cape Town, in strong winds and heavy seas, his 60ft carbon fibre boat PRB slammed into a wave at 27 knots and broke in half. He had literally 4 or 5 seconds to deploy the raft. Fortunately, Jean Le Cam, the evergreen ocean racer, himself being rescued in the last edition of the race , managed to locate him and effect his rescue in dreadful conditions in the middle of the night. An amazing piece of seamanship.

We wish safe passage for the many boats heading across the pond for the Caribbean season at this time.

Fair Winds…

Simon Relph – Editor