In this new online series, BOAT talks with crew members quarantined on board as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Here, we chat with Richard Reville, the captain and manager of 43.4 metre Ice Lady.
Where is the boat?
We are currently berthed alongside Stabia Superyacht Marina Resort in Italy.
Are you allowed off the boat or are you quarantined on board?
Since Italy was placed in full lockdown, we escalated our onboard protocols and moved to complete isolation. Police regularly pass the Yacht asking after our wellbeing but also reinforcing the message that we are quarantined and not permitted ashore.
How has the virus outbreak impacted your life on board?
The virus has had a significant impact on life on board, particularly being berthed in the worst affected country. Managing the impact must be carefully considered in order to ensure some normality of life goes on. The focus is on ensuring a collective total isolation of crew from risk of infection external to the yacht. Unfortunately, this has a further adverse effect on crew scheduling and leave, and in particular new crew joining with the self-isolation periods and travel restrictions in force.
How are you keeping busy?
Although project work has slowed due to extended lead times for spares and parts, the crew continue to keep themselves occupied by using the time to detail the yacht to the highest standards and take this opportunity to update all administrative work and manuals. In the evenings, the crew are socialising as a group and building strong bonds. They are keeping entertained by watching movies, playing board games and quizzes and keeping in regular contact with families. Although they miss the opportunity to go ashore, they understand the reasons and the fact that nothing is open in any case at this stage of the pandemic. They are positive and upbeat and maintain their sense of humour, which is a credible trait amongst yacht crews.
How are you keeping fit?
Being physically separated from the general public and, with only one other yacht on the berth, we can do physical exercise on the boardwalk and also sprinting and jogging. Some of the crew are learning yoga and others are doing cardio exercises. As a captive audience, we are always challenging each other, and it is fun as well as developing teamwork.
How is morale on board?
All the crew remain positive during these difficult times and it is a credit to their professionalism and their resilience to defeat this virus that prevails. Without doubt there are concerns for the health and safety of friends, families and loved ones many miles from us all.
How has the virus outbreak disrupted the yacht’s schedule?
There is a noticeable delay in achieving everyday tasks such as replies to requests for quotations, delivery of stores, spares and provisions and contractor assistance. This is fully understandable given the world-wide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ice Lady is nearing the end of winter maintenance and will be ready to commence the season on time.
How are you sourcing provisions?
Initially provisions were sourced from supermarkets, butchers, and fruit and vegetable suppliers. Once the virus became a pandemic, and following the Italian government guidelines, all crew were placed in full lockdown. Since then all provisions have been ordered from chandlers.
What measures have been introduced on board to minimise the risk of the virus?
When lockdown was introduced, any crew going ashore to provision would remove external clothing for laundering or tumble drying to ensure any virus on the fabric was killed. All provisioning crew were required to wear surgical masks and gloves and all provisions were disinfected before being loaded on board. We are currently in the process of disinfecting all areas and for the season we will be asking guests to complete a specific health questionnaire prior to boarding and on turnaround the yacht will be fully disinfected to protect guests and crew.
Any tips for crew in a similar situation?
Mitigate the risk by introducing proactive, pre-emptive and positive controls, protocols and procedures. Hold regular meetings with crew to update them on the situation where you are located, any changes to onboard protocols and procedures and invite questions.