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Crew Life on Board Superyacht Northern Sun During Coronavirus Lockdown

1 April 2020 • Written by Miranda Blazeby

In this new online series, BOAT talks with crew members quarantined on board as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Here, we chat with John Maas, the captain of Northern Sun.

Where is the boat?

We are currently alongside at Phuket yacht haven Marina in Phuket, Thailand. There are quite a few other yachts here with us and very little boat movement around us.

Image courtesy of Ocean Independence

Are you allowed off the yacht or are you quarantined on board?

We have elected to quarantine ourselves on board as a crew member on another yacht in the marina tested positive after he flew back here from the UK. One of our crew had a beer with the roommate of the infected crew member last Saturday night, so upon hearing the test result we immediately took all precautions, isolating our crew member and quarantining everyone on board.

It has been seven days and yesterday all crew on the other yacht tested negative, and we are without symptoms, so we are breathing a bit easier.

How has the virus outbreak impacted your life on board?

For us it’s slowed life down a lot, the busyness of the boat has calmed down, it’s like a sea voyage where you all settle into offshore routines, resting a lot, eating at certain times and spending a lot of time on your own. I suppose the shock of the whole outbreak impacted us all more than anything.

Image courtesy of Northern Sun crew

How are you keeping busy?

There are always projects on board and of course there is the constant regular maintenance that keeps us more than busy. We have the shipboard routine to adhere to.

How are you keeping fit?

Walking around decks and up and down stairways helps, with weights and stretch cords providing a passable routine.

Image courtesy of Ocean Independence

How is morale on board?

Great, we are all staying positive and have a few laughs now and again.

Has the virus outbreak disrupted the yacht’s schedule?

Yes, the owner had to postpone a trip we were all looking forward to and plans for the Olympics have been put on hold.

Image courtesy of Northern Sun crew

How are you sourcing provisions?

We stocked up quite a bit before the outbreak, then topped up to allow a month of isolation for 10 people. So far we’re okay for everything. Later we’ll be able to order in fresh greens and fruits from the nearby supermarket.

What measures have been introduced on board to minimise the risk of the virus?

Immediate isolation when hearing of potential risk to our crew, keeping contractors off the boat and buttoning up as soon as we could. Daily temperature checks, twice daily disinfection of surfaces, hand sanitising and washing hands properly, face masks when anyone from outside stands on the dock and talks to us.

Image courtesy of Ocean Independence

Any tips for crew in a similar situation?

Treat this as an offshore voyage, mentally prepare for the long haul and find stuff to do that you have always wanted to do but never had the time for.

Delivered in 1976, the 50.8 metre superyacht Northern Sun is offered for charter through Ocean Independence.