Writing this in mid-January 2021 seems a lifetime away from the same time last year.
Covid is still biting as hard as ever around the world, with hospitals around the globe struggling to keep up with the pressures being exerted upon them. The frontline workers deserve huge praise for their efforts and sacrifice, it really is taking a huge effort to keep hospitals functioning in most countries. This wave of the disease has certainly reaped more havoc than in Spring, where most of us now know someone who has suffered, whereas in spring less of us knew people directly suffering. I have recently lost 3 friends in the space of a week, none previously suffering from any underlying conditions, and all relatively fit guys, under the age of 60. The sooner the vaccine gets rolled out the better. I must say the UK seem to be ahead of the game in this regard.
The beginning of this month saw us stumble over the line with Brexit, and there are already several issues come to the fore. Yesterday a lorry driver entering Holland from the UK was stopped and told to hand over his ham sandwich, as it was now illegal to import any animal produce. The driver at least managed to get his bread back!
More seriously for the yachting industry, there are some potentially very worrying changes to be made due to Brexit. No UK flagged yacht sub 14 metres can any longer be chartered in Spanish waters. No British skippers can be in charge of a Spanish flagged yacht. These are just a couple of examples of potential changes. There are many more , and both the RYA and ANEN are working hard to find resolutions to these issues.
Covid has put paid to several more early Spring boat shows, and is likely to have a longer lasting effect than we probably all thought. Palma Superyacht Show is still going ahead as far as we know, but I guess we need to see much more action on the vaccine front before this can become a reality. I know of local businesses who would normally take space at the show have not put the show in their marketing budgets for 2021. We will , of course keep you up to speed on any news. It would be fantastic news if it were able to go ahead, and provide a real springboard for the season, so fingers crossed!
Simon Relph – Editor