Dear Call of the Sea Supporters and Volunteers,
As we enter the fifth week of personal distancing, there are a few encouraging signs that the strong measures ordered by our local public health officials are slowing the spread of the Covid 19 virus. We hope that you are healthy, and remain so.
Earlier this week, we were also encouraged by the safe return of Schooner Seaward and its remarkable crew. Check out Friday’s electronic edition of Latitude 38 and its colorful article about Seaward’s return voyage from Mexico.
Here is another item that you may find interesting: The photo and caption that appears at the top of this message is copied from the “Message to Teachers” sent yesterday by Sylvia Stompe. That message contains several links to activities and information of an educational nature which can be found here.
So how well is Call of the Sea weathering the pandemic storm? We feel that we have just survived the first line of squalls, with more unpredictable weather to come. To our knowledge, not one of our sailors, volunteers or supporters has taken ill from the virus. Thanks to the support of several volunteers, a stable living situation has been arranged for one of their colleagues who was homeless. Our vessels are safely tied to the Bay Model/Army Corps dock.
Our lender, Marin Community Foundation, has granted 6 month’s forbearance on loan payments. We have completely vacated our former business office at Schoonmaker Marina, thereby reducing our monthly rental payments by two-thirds. We have negotiated a temporary reduction in the cost to insure Seaward and Matthew Turner Overall, we have reduced our cost by 75%, with only fixed costs for rent and insurance and some materials and services bills outstanding. We have applied for CARES Act relief. Our payroll is reduced to zero, with only volunteers attending to the business of Call of the Sea for at least the next few months. All crew and paid staff have been furloughed, and have been given some assistance to obtain financial relief under the CARES Act and related programs.
By taking austerity measures, we are battened down as tightly as possible, and preserving our very limited resources to be able to come out of the storm able to sail and perform our mission. This requires very careful contingency planning. What if we are able to sail in July, but only carry a small number of passengers? Will there be a demand for overnight voyages; and, if so, when? What are the tasks required to prepare our vessels and crews to resume sailing? How much lead time will be required, and at what cost? Will we have the financial wherewithal to make it all happen?
Our board members and volunteer staff are committed to the success of Call of the Sea, and we are engaged in developing plans to assure our future success. We invite your ideas. We have been through rough seas before and made it through.
To paraphrase a passage from an unlikely source, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: “We’re not afraid of storms, for we’re learning how to sail our ship.”
All the best to you,