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Coronavirus and Penguin’s Cruising Programme 2020




You will be very aware of the outbreak of cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK and the UK Government’s response.  The current emphasis is on the ‘Contain’ and ‘Research’ phases, although if the outbreak worsens the focus will move from ‘Contain’ to ‘Delay’ and then to ‘Mitigate’.  In order to help you make any decision on your participation on one of our cruises, I have first outlined our policy and then shown how we intend to keep abreast of the situation and its possible effect on our cruises.

Club Policy

The Club aims to proceed with its 2020 sailing programme and has adopted the following policy while COVID-19 remains a public health hazard:


  • The Club will not offer you advice on withdrawing from a cruise to which you have been enlisted.  Withdrawal remains a personal prerogative
  • The Club will act on an intervention by government (UK, Scottish or local) and on an intervention by the charter company.  If necessary, the Club will cancel a cruise if an intervention makes a cruise impracticable


Withdrawals by some individuals could leave the cruise without viable crews for all yachts in which case the cruise would proceed with fewer yachts, some being cancelled.


There would be the question of recovering fees which have been paid by a member who chooses to withdraw and the fees paid by the Club to a charter company in the event of cancellation.  Here, the Club needs to comply with the terms of the Cruise Application Form, the Rules of the Club and the contract binding the Club and the charter company.  The following contractual conditions pertain:


  • Withdrawal: The refund of a cruise fee paid by a member is subject to the rule on the Cruise Application Form that a refund is “…subject to the committee’s discretion and would normally only be approved if all berths are subsequently filled.”
  • Cancellation: The Club’s contracts with the charter companies hold out the prospect, subject to conditions, of some recovery of the fees paid to them by the Club in the event of a timely cancellation by the Club


What recompense might there be for any losses incurred by members?


  • Members own travel insurance
  • The cruise funds held by the Cruise Organisers, once all liabilities have been me
  • Any fees recovered from a charter company, in the event of cancellation
  • The Club's reserve fund: The Club maintains a reserve sufficient to (inter alia) ' unforeseen liabilities such as the loss of security deposits paid to charter companies or the failure of a charter company.' (Rules of the Club cl.6.1). 
  • The committee's interpretation of cl.6.1 is that it is intended to assure the continuance of the Club after meeting any uninsured losses incurred through its contract with the charter company. Instances of such losses, listed in cl.6.1, are; the loss of security deposits and the failure of a charter company, the second implying the cancellation of a cruise. The COVID-19 outbreak is similarly unforeseen and could also lead to the cancellation of the cruise. It accordingly falls within the ambit of cl.6.1. The committee will accordingly release part of the reserve in acceptance of a liability to pay some recompense to members who have suffered the loss of cruise fee through the cancellation of a cruise. The committee has a rule-based approach to determining the amount of the reserve which may be released for a single event 

    The Club’s Preparations

    Central to our preparations for responding to the potential consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak is the work of the Club’s ‘Risk Assessment, Management and Review Sub-Committee’.  This sub-committee is an important part of the Club’s risk management and has now been additionally tasked with keeping up-to date with developments in the COVID-19 outbreak, evaluating the potential consequences for the cruises and proposing how the issues can best be mitigated. 


    The composition of the sub-committee is:


    John Marriott, Club Commodore

    Simon Hamilton, Club Vice-Commodore

    Marian Keall, Club Secretary

    Ian Rose, Club Treasurer

    Jonty Pearce, Club Medical Adviser

    Charles Howell, Club Insurance Adviser


    At the moment, we can see no reason why the cruises should not go ahead as planned, but the situation could obviously change dramatically.  The current government medical advice is that you should: hand wash, or use had sanitisation more regularly, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and discard it immediately; clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces.  If you become unwell with possible coronavirus, you should self-isolate and use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next.  


    The sub-committee aims to keep abreast of the situation and offer further relevant guidance as things evolve.  However, we hope that the worst-case scenario does not develop and that we have a season of good, enjoyable cruises.


    If you have any queries or concerns, please contact your Cruise Organiser, in the first instance or any member of the sub-committee.



    John Marriott

    Club Commodore


Coronavirus and Penguin 2020 Cruises – Update 1



Events related to coronavirus are moving quickly, but our basic policy for addressing the issues in relation to our 2020 cruise programme remains based on that outlined in the Notice ‘Coronavirus and Penguin’s Cruising Programme 2020’ issued on 11.03.20. The current Notice is aimed at updating you on the latest position regarding the cruises. The Risk Management Sub-Committee have been following the latest developments in the spread of COVID-19 and the evolving Government advice. We have considered the likely impact on each Cruise and have reached the following conclusions:

Easter (11-18 April)

We have paid all the charter fees to Alba Sailing and are beyond the cancellation period. We have discussed our options with Alba and they have offered to delay the booking until later in the year. They have offered us the same boats for the following starting dates for a week’s booking:

  • Sat 29 August

  • Sun 20 September

  • Sat 26 September

  • Any Week in October

    We are currently sounding out the Cruise Applicants regarding a postponement and determining the best dates.

    Anniversary (4-18 July)

    We have paid the deposit on this cruise; the balance being required by 23 May. We will review whether or not to cancel this cruise in May before the deadline and when more is known about the impact of the coronavirus. However, there is a significant risk that the cruise could be cancelled, so we are advising applicants not to book travel and accommodation until the outcome is known. We are not now requiring the final payment of the cruise fees from applicants until 31 May.

    If the cruise is cancelled, we anticipate that there will be places on the postponed Easter Cruise in September. If any Anniversary Cruise applicant wishes to be considered for a place on this cruise, please let me or your Cruise Organiser know.

    Canaries (21-28 Nov)

    Again, we have paid the deposit on the cruise, the balance being required by 24 October. We are hoping that this will go ahead as planned, but we will obviously be keeping close track of the position. At this stage, we advise participants not to book travel and accommodation.

I will issue further updates in due course, but if you have any queries, please contact your Cruise Organiser or me.


John Marriott

Club Commodore



Coronavirus and Penguin’s 2020 Cruises – Update 2



The coronavirus outbreak continues to severely affect our daily lives. For the latest information relating to recreational boating, see the RYA’s ‘Coronavirus - advice and information for recreational boaters’ recreational-boaters.aspx

This second update gives details of the further changes that we are making to the planned 2020 cruises.

Easter Cruise

We have postponed the Easter Cruise until September. It will now take place from Sunday 20th September until Sunday 27th September and will now be known as the ‘September Cruise’. We have booked three boats, but because one of the yachts, Oceanlord, a Westerly 41’, is not available, this has been replaced by Chantilly, a Jeanneau SO 43.

All applicants for the Easter Cruise have been offered places on the new cruise. However, it is likely that not all Easter Cruise applicants will be able to make the new dates and therefore there are likely to be spare berths available for any member of the Club to take- up. If you would like to send me an expression of interest for the Cruise to me, I will ensure that you are kept informed of any development, including when the Application Forms and Cruise Prospectus are available. The continuing uncertainty will be reflected in the application terms, which will include a smaller deposit and the balance not being required until shortly before the Cruise.

I will be taking over from Anne Lewis, who has done a sterling job keeping abreast of rapidly changing situation, as Cruise Organiser for the postponed cruise. However, Anne will still be handling the money and keeping track of the finances, thanks Anne.

Anniversary Cruise (4-18 July)

We are currently in discussion with Alba sailing regarding our options, should it not be possible to go ahead with the Cruise as planned. Alba are currently not operating their boats and have posted an update on the position on their website, see https://www.alba- . At the moment they cannot tell us whether we will be able to rebook for September/October because of the uncertainty with current bookings. We will stay in close contact with them and we will keep you informed of developments. However, in the meantime, please do not book travel or accommodation.


Llangorse Camp (28-31 Aug)

Because of the uncertainty, we have now cancelled the camp. Many thanks go to Jonty for his work in initially arranging this.

Canaries Cruise (21-28 Nov)

The status of this is as in Update 1, that is we hope that it will go ahead as planned. However, because the Cruise Organiser, Donald McLintock, a recently retired GP is being drafted in to help with coronavirus, Ian Rose has kindly offered to step-in as Cruise Organiser. Donald, who is very familiar with sailing in the Western Canaries will continue to be involved in the sailing aspects of the Cruise. Again, we advise against booking travel or accommodation until things become more certain.

Please contact me or your Cruise Organiser if you have any queries.


For those Penguins who are finding being away from the water somewhat frustrating, I may have a partial solution for you. Last week I downloaded the eSail Sailing Simulator (Cost £19.99 see: ). It’s very good and will help you to keep up and hone your skills in readiness for an eventual return to real sailing. I got the same cold sweat attempting to reverse moor into a marina space as I do with the real thing!

Have fun!!


John Marriott


Date: 01.04.20


Coronavirus and Penguin’s 2020 Cruises - Update 3 



The measures imposed by government to control the COVID-19 infection continue to disrupt our day to day activities and impact on the 2020 Cruising Programme. From a Club perspective, we continue to be guided by the policy we issued on 11th March, ‘Coronavirus and Penguin’s Cruising Programme 2020’. 

The UK Government has now issued its COVID-19 Recovery Strategy and the Club’s Risk Management Committee met via a Zoom meeting on Saturday, 16th May to consider the implications of the government’s plan on our cruises and to map out the best way forward for our cruises. 

The heart of the government plan is a three-phase approach, which depends on the infection levels seen in the population: 

  • Phase 1 is to: contain, delay, research and mitigate, which led to the ‘lockdown’ restrictions
  • Phase 2 comprises smarter controls, which are divided into three steps
  • Phase 3 envisages relaxing most of the controls, but this will only be possible if a
    reliable treatment, either a vaccine or an effective drug, has been developed and implemented

The government announced last week the move in England to Phase 2, although the other UK devolved governments continued with the Phase 1 restrictions. The Risk Management Committee considered in detail the timing and restrictions announced by the government and, in what is still a very uncertain environment, agreed appropriate actions for each of the cruises. The outcome of these are summarised in the following sections:


Anniversary Cruise (4-18 July)

This Cruise cannot proceed, because of the ongoing restrictions. In particular, the government does not envisage Step 3 of Phase 2 to be implemented before 4th July. Although they have not finalised the details of the restrictions under Step 3, it is likely to involve some social distancing measures, which would make it impractical to proceed with a penguin cruise, even if Step 3 is implemented.

We have been in touch with Alba Sailing, the charter company for the cruise, and they concur with our assessment. They have offered to postpone the booking until the same time in 2021 and have reserved the same three boats for two week commencing 3rd July. However, they warn that there is likely to be a price increase.

Therefore, under the circumstances, we propose to postpone the Anniversary Cruise until 3rd July 2021. I will be writing to each cruise applicant to detail and explain the position. 


September Cruise (20-27 September) 

This is the postponed Easter Cruise, which has also been arranged through Alba Sailing. 

Alba hope that conditions will have improved by the time of this cruise, so that they will be operational and able to offer the yachts. At the moment they are only considering rescheduling for charters which are due in the next few weeks. Hence, this cruise is still scheduled for the above dates 

Currently there is plenty availability of berths for the cruise. If any member is interested in going on this cruise, please contact me and I will log your interest. The Club will not be requiring any payment for this cruise until we have confirmation that it is going ahead. We intend to give details of a revised cruise prospectus shortly. 


Canaries Cruise (21-28 November) 

There is some optimism that this cruise will go ahead as planned. With a following wind there may even be a vaccine by then. 

However, we have been in touch with the charter company, Canary Sail, to discuss the options should the cruise not be able to proceed. They have informed us that if restrictions by the Spanish or UK governments make it impractical for the charter to take place, then we will be able to reschedule the cruise for either Easter or November 2021. 

Hence, we are currently assuming that this Cruise will go ahead as planned, but we will keep a close eye on the situation. We will review the position in detail in September because we will incur further cancellation fees, if we don’t cancel by the end of September. 

Overall, the Club’s Risk Management Committee will continue to monitor the position and issues further updates as the situation unfolds. 

I hope that you are keeping well and managing to avoid the virus. 

Stay Alert!


John Marriott


Date: 23.05.20


Coronavirus and Penguin’s 2020 Cruises – Update 4


This will be the final update for the 2020 Cruise Programme, as the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions have obliged us to abandon all of the planned cruises for the year.  However, the good news is that our negotiations with the charter companies has enabled us to offer all the applicants either a transfer to the re-scheduled cruises in 2021, or a full refund.

Hopefully, we will be able to get out on te high seas next year, although we are planning all of our cruises for the second half of 2021 in the anticipation that an effective vaccine will have been developed and distributed by then.  Details of the cruises will be issued soon.

The final position on each of the 2020 cruises is summarised below:

Easter/September 2020

The Easter Cruise was postponed until September, but this, in turn had to be abandoned as we could not meet the COVID-19 restrictions.  

All applicants have been offered a full refund of their cruise fee, or a transfer to the Anniversary 2021 Scotland Cruise in July.

Anniversary Cruise 2020

This has been postponed until July 2021 and we have signed new charter agreements on three boats.  There has been a small increase in the charter fee, which will probably translate into a £5 increase in the cruise fee to £490.

Those applicants who are unable to make the re-scheduled cruise have been offered a full refund of their deposit.  The majority of applicants have opted to book onto the re-scheduled cruise.

Canaries Cruise 2020

We have agreed with the charter company, Canary Sail, to postpone this four-boat cruise until November 2021, with no financial penalty.  This has enabled us to offer those unable to transfer onto the postponed cruise a full refund of their deposit.  Again, the majority have opted to transfer to the 2021 cruise.


Hopefully, our plans for 2021 will be less fraught and I look forward to seeing you on the water then. 

In the meantime, stay safe!



John Marriott, Commodore

 Date: 01.10.20