In this new online series, BOAT talks with crew members quarantined on board as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Here, we chat with deckhand and engineer Dean Cole and captain Ian Hawkins on board the 28.6 metre motor yacht Quasar.
Where is the boat?
Deckhand Dean Cole: Cannes Old Port, France
Are you allowed off the yacht or are you quarantined on board?
We are following the French rules, so we are allowed off for maximum one hour for exercise or to buy necessary groceries.
How has the virus outbreak impacted your life on board?
The major workload had luckily already been done before the COVID situation, so at the moment there is not a huge amount of work other than general maintenance that needs to be done on board. One significant impact for us is that we were in preparation for the upcoming show season and that has completely stopped.
How are you keeping busy?
We are very mindful that the minute this is over, we need to be ready for charters. So we are staying on alert and keeping ourselves mentally and physically in the right condition for that. We are here to do a job, and while we can’t do it now, we need to be maintaining ourselves. We are doing small jobs around the yacht like varnishing and engineering tasks, with more time to spare we’re making sure everything is 110% ready for the season.
How are you keeping fit?
We are enjoying doing sports such as boxing on the boat’s Virtual Reality headsets. We can measure our stats and see improvements! We use the outside areas where we can for workouts too. We are also doing our one hour per day of exercise on land as the French rules permit.
How is morale on board?
We have always been a positive crew, a tight team, and that has really helped in this situation. We have always had good inter-team morale led by our captain Ian, where we all keep each other up. If one of us slumps, the others are always there to lift them straight back up again – it’s how we’ve always worked. We are navigating through this as best we can. The crew and captain have a daily WhatsApp group which we all post on to cheer each other up. We take it in turns to find a happy upbeat song to share with the group each day!
How are you sourcing provisions?
We buy groceries locally at the supermarket in the port once a week.
What measures has the captain or owner introduced on board to minimise the risk of the virus?
Masks and gloves are on board for when needed. We are not seeing anyone else and keeping distance when we go off board to buy food. The captain has seen that the way France is dealing with the situation seems to be working well in general and we are working within that. There are certain protocols to keep in France – for example you need a form with you whenever you are out. The captain is forwarding any new official information we need to know from the authorities, so we are always up to date and compliant.
Any tips for crew in a similar situation?
Captain Ian Hawkins: Do anything you can that will keep you from focusing on the negative news, media and social media. Keep busy and do what you enjoy. Embrace your current situation, instead of fighting it. Take more time and care for tasks that usually you are doing under time pressure. We all crave an instance when we don’t have anything to do and can focus on other things, so while this is a difficult moment, instead of seeing only the negative, try to embrace the time you have now.
Quasar is listed for charter with Fraser.