Yachting Art Magazine

No sailing for the Belem in 2020

Due to the health crisis, the Belem Foundation has decided to cancel its 2020 season. The Belem will therefore remain at quay and will return to sea in 2021. The 2020 sailing season offered to the many enthusiasts has been postponed to 2021. The Belem will again be open to visitors to the Mediterranean in October 2020. Christelle de Larauze, general delegate of the association answered three of our questions.

No sailing for the Belem in 2020

Christelle de Larauze, why did you make such a decision?

Christelle de Larauze - The Belem is a civilian training ship whose project is based on "living together", encounters and solidarity on board. We take on board up to 48 sailors at the same time who take part collectively in the manoeuvres. It takes people on board to manoeuvre with a crew: this is contrary to the barrier measures... A study on the conditions for setting up a sanitary protocol has shown that the organisation of stays and the configuration of the Belem, i.e. very close bunks, cramped sanitary facilities, the sharing of a community life over several days, a common dining room organised around a single large central table does not allow for the social distancing measures imposed by the government to be respected. Our board of directors, which is keen to protect people and participate in the fight against the pandemic, had no choice but to decide, with regret, to cancel everything. We are proposing to the sailors of the year to postpone their embarkation in 2021: they will be given priority and will discover the 2021 programme in a preview. Those who cannot board in 2021 will be reimbursed. We couldn't take the risk of contamination of Covid-19 on board the Belem. That would require a quarantine of the sailing ship at sea.

What are the consequences of this cancellation on the Belem Foundation?

Christelle de Larauze - They are important from an economic and social point of view because the Belem Foundation will not generate any turnover in 2020 and few sailors will embark. We live thanks to the sailing, visits and private chartering of the Belem. In this particular context, we benefit from the unfailing support of the Caisses d'Epargne, our historical sponsor. I would like to thank them warmly. Apart from our regular sailors, chief engineers and boatswains who take turns on board, the other crew members will unfortunately not be joining the Belem in 2020. Seasonal workers will be able to board other merchant ships.  

What are your prospects?

Christelle de Larauze - We are going to make a fresh start in 2021. We remain optimistic. We are already thinking about a nice sailing programme for next year. The Belem will be gleaming as she has benefited from unprecedented maintenance in port over the past few weeks. We have also offered our enthusiasts the chance to sail with words by launching a major news competition, chaired by Yann Queffélec. Finally, we are planning to reopen the museum in the autumn in the Mediterranean in the port, which will be home to the three-masted yacht for the winter.  

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