Call of the Sea weekly update during Covid 19 Pandemic

Call of the Sea weekly update during Covid 19 Pandemic2020-04-06T20:45:15+00:00

Dear Call of the Sea Supporters and Volunteers,

We hope that you are well, and that you took the opportunity to read Alan’s positive message recalling the launch of Matthew Turner on April 1, 2017. One long time supporter commented that “Alan’s dream was contagious in the best sense.”  We agree.

For some, knowing that April 1 of this year was to be Matthew Turner’s first overnight voyage with students, the message was bittersweet.  All school programs have been canceled for April and May. One teacher responded to the cancellation,  “I”m sorry this has happened….It’s the highlight of our year!”  A few schools have understandably requested refunds, but more have decided to reschedule in the Fall..

Despite the continuing disappointment about missing the Spring sailing season, we have received some good news this week:

The Coast Guard told us that they will issue a Certificate of inspection (COI) for Matthew Turner, conditioned on passing on-the-water tests!  This means that the vessel meets all safety standards, and is licensed to take passengers on the water once we demonstrate that our crew can safely operate it. We will schedule a formal ceremony to celebrate this milestone when we are able to gather as a group. 

Schooner Seaward and crew entered US waters, tired but healthy, as you can see from the photo taken yesterday morning of Captain Jay and trainee Natalie as they approached Catalina Island. Track Seaward’s voyage back to Sausalito here.

We received unsolicited, and much appreciated, contributions from three key supporters  These funds will enable us to keep Matthew Turner and Seaward insured and safely docked for a few more weeks–and prepared to sail when we can take groups on board.

Thanks to all of you for your continuing interest in how Call of the Sea is faring during the pandemic, and for sharing our dream for healthful sailing on the Bay and coastal waters.  All the best to you and your loved ones., Steven Woodside, Executive Director

March 27, 2020

As the insidious Coronavirus moves through the Bay Area, we have battened down our hatches. Matthew Turner is at the dock with only furloughed crew living on board. Seaward has left Baja and is sailing home as the wind allows–possibly along the historic Clipper route. Follow Seaward’s progress. All are healthy and safe. We hope you are as well. You can read up on their winter voyage here.
Will the Coronavirus wave continue to be steep and ferocious or, like the tides, become gradual and less destructive? Either way, we are cutting our monthly costs by 75% so that our ships and crew will be available to sail when group activities are allowed.
This week we received good news that the Marin Community Foundation agreed to our request for a six month hiatus in making payments on the refinancing loan they recently provided to us.
We are carefully studying the Stimulus Package to see if grant funds will be available to pay our crew.
Daily, we are seeing acts of kindness to help those who need it most: For example, several of our supporters have taken up a collection to help one of our volunteers who is homeless. Others have purchased restaurant gift cards to be used by furloughed crew.
If you are able, please support our local restaurants and businesses who have been so supportive of Call of the Sea over the years. A good listing of Sausalito businesses, their current hours and services can be found at the Chamber of Commerce website
Hang in there. The waves and storms will pass. According to an ancient proverb, “You may complain that rain has stained your plans but you cannot restrain the rain; rain is water and water is life. None appreciates rainbow and sunshine better than he on whose parade it has rained.”
Yours in good health,
Steven Woodside
Executive Director
Call of the Sea

March 20, 2020 

Since our last message, the “sea state” has changed dramatically.  Like most of you, we have been sheltering in place, with our small staff, crew and Board communicating remotely. So far, everyone on our team remains healthy; and we hope that is true for you and your loved ones. 

School closures and lock downs have wiped out our Spring season. We have reached out to teachers to reschedule the educational sails that were booked; and we are preparing for closure of schools through the end of the school year. This is a double blow to students who are already missing class and will probably not be able to go on the water with us for a long time. It is also a blow to our finances, jeopardizing our ability to provide quality experiential education on our remarkable vessels.

Call of the Sea is working hard  to weather this crisis, as a ship’s captain and crew prepare for a storm at sea: First, by reducing sail.  We are dramatically reducing costs, vacating office space, restructuring debt, cutting staff and,very sadly, furloughing crew. Even though we are “cutting to the keel”, we remain very concerned about our ability to protect our ships at the dock and assure our organization’s viability.  

Seaward is at the end of her season in Mexico, after great sailing with many passengers reporting having the time of their lives!  We made the hard decision to cancel passengers for the final leg, for the safety of all. Seaward will soon sail home with only crew. You can track the ship’s progress on several vessel tracking apps by searching for “Schooner Seaward.”

We had planned to send out a Save the Date postcard for what could have been a fabulous family friendly celebration at the Bay Model on June 13. With the uncertainty we all face, however, let’s just hold that date on our calendars in the hope we can safely gather together as a large group in June. We might then be able to truly celebrate that we can fulfill our mission to provide inspiring on-the-water experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Almost 100 years ago, young poet Langston Hughes wrote: “Hold fast to dreams. For if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”. Let’s hold fast to our dreams–and see our sails fly!

Yours in good health,

Steven Woodside

Executive Director

Call of the Sea

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