Wilmington, DE, August 27 – How do you plan for an ocean voyage on the Tall Ship of Delaware during a pandemic? This week Kalmar Nyckel is voyaging from Wilmington, Delaware for the first ocean voyage of 2020, with a small but mighty crew of 16 officers and volunteers who just completed a two-week quarantine to safely voyage to Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut. The ship is going to “dry dock” which means it will be hauled out of the water for routine hull maintenance and required U.S. Coast Guard inspections, which must be completed by the end of September. No time to waste!
The ship is scheduled to arrive at the Mystic Seaport Museum shipyard on the high tide at 5:40pm Friday, August 28 with haulout on Monday, August 31. Based on their work schedule, the ship will depart for Wilmington on or about Monday, September 21.
Months in the planning, the Captains and Mates have worked with maritime medical experts and their crew on every detail of how to sail, eat, sleep, work, and live safely in close quarters. A total of 28 sailors signed up with overlapping shifts to not only voyage to and from Connecticut, but also to provide manual labor in the shipyard, scraping, caulking, and painting the ship’s hull.
Beyond the four professional officers and a chef, the crew are all volunteers, joining the ship from eight states and even Sweden. To qualify, each crew member agreed to a strict quarantine that began on August 9, with regular health checks and minimal human contact. They committed to these steps because of their loyalty to the Kalmar Nyckel’s mission and to each other. Many of the crew are retirees with an elevated risk for COVID-19, and they are not taking this challenge lightly.
This will be an unusual adventure in the “pandemic era” – with many high and low points – separated from friends and family, with long workdays, following rigid hygiene protocols, and keeping an eye on the tropical storm season. Stay tuned to follow this adventure of a lifetime!
Background: Kalmar Nyckel is a full-scale replica of the Swedish merchant ship that established the colony of New Sweden in 1638, the first permanent European settlement in the Delaware valley. Launched in 1997, today’sKalmar Nyckel serves an ambassador for the State and offers people of all ages a variety of sea- and land-based recreational and educational experiences.
The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer-based educational organization, that built, owns, and operates Kalmar Nyckel. The ship has a crew of 200 trained volunteers who help maintain, sail, and teach its programs. No experience is required, and volunteers bring a wide range of skills and experiences on board. Kalmar Nyckel serves as a catalyst for social and economic development and outreach and, in a typical season, the ship sails more than 2,400 nautical miles from Norfolk, Virginia to Provincetown, Massachusetts.
For more information on Kalmar Nyckel sails, tours, charters, educational programs, volunteer opportunities and its home berth at the Tatiana and Gerret Copeland Maritime Center visit www.kalmarnyckel.org, call (302) 429-7447 and follow us on Facebook. Due to COVID-19, visitors cannot tour or sail on the ship this summer. Watch for Kalmar Nyckel sails in the fall in Wilmington, DE. Online tickets for sails can be purchased at www.kalmarnyckel.org/BookASail.asp.