So for new arrivals here at Allegrini.co.uk, I thought rather than them wading back through all the posts, I’d do a summary of our last 4 years afloat, I can then link it to the About Us page so its easier to see who we are and what we do.
So assuming you’ve read the initial “About Us” page and the “One Year” link, you should find us in Fort Lauderdale after traveling across an Ocean through the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and finally ending up on the bottom of the east coast of the USA.
So it’s now March 2020 in Fort Lauderdale, we returned here from another great time in the Bahamas in the November of 2019, the previous Autumn spent in Georgia, a rather eventful Hurricane season (our insurance insisted we were out of the Hurricane Zone, which meant that Brunswick Georgia was the first port out of the zone) However “Hurricane Dorian” had different ideas and we only survived by a cat’s whisker.
The first signs of Covid 19 started to appear around the world, Helen had brought something back from her visit to Philadelphia at Merck, where some of the team had just come back from Wuhan! it was probably the worst sore throat and fever I have had since I was a kid. Helen went down with something just as sinister, it seriously put us on our backs for at least a fortnight, but we just assumed it was a bad dose of flu, looking back maybe we got it then, who knows.
After we made our recovery we thought now might be the right time to visit home before we set off to continue our odyssey to Cuba and the northern Gulf of Mexico, we, like everyone else at the time, didn’t really pay too much attention to this Covid 19 stuff and as did the rest of the world thought it would all be over in a matter of weeks!
Well, how wrong we were, we went home and ended up staying for months, things escalated very quickly and before we knew it Trump had shut US borders, which meant we couldn’t get back to the boat if we wanted to! We were at a loss as to what to do, fortunately, we still had the flat in London, and unfortunately, but also fortunately for us our Long term tenant had lost his job because of covid and returned back up north.
We had decided that we couldn’t continue our adventure just yet, Covid had become rampant worldwide and countries were shutting their borders everywhere, the world had literally closed! Cruising had just come to a standstill, We decide that things were going to take ages to return to the way they were, we needed to get our boat home!
As we couldn’t get back to our boat and sail her back, we decided that this was our only option was to ship her back, we managed to secure the last place on the last sailing of a “Peters & May” Yacht Transport ship, that was going from Fort Lauderdale via Antigua to Southampton, but we needed someone in Florida to prepare her for the journey and take her to the transport ship in the Fort Lauderdale docks.
In steps Captain Alessandro la Rosa, a first-generation Italian American based in Florida, who we met on our first trip up the Bahamas in Turks and Caicos, He runs a Boat charter/Sales/Delivery Company in Florida, and we had kept in touch with him and his lovely family ever since, It turned out Alessandro was to be our knight in shining armour. He completely prepped the boat, making sure everything was wrapped or stowed away and piloting Allegrini to meet the ship in the Port and then staying with the boat until she was lifted and fixed to the deck! What an absolute star!
Once the boat had arrived back in Southampton, we thought we’d sail to Plymouth to stay near some friends as by this time London Cases of Covid were going through the roof and the southwest had it a lot less, we got a dispensation from the Coastguard to travel and were met by customs in Mayflower marina. We only stayed there a short while, before we realised that “this was not what we had signed up for” it was obvious to us that we needed to be somewhere warm, we had got used to a tropical climate and had no intention of going back to a moderate one.
So, “let’s go to the med” was an obvious solution, it’s what we had originally planned to do before several friends of ours convinced us to “go across the pond first” the problem was it was now August 2020 and the UK was Brexiting, the deadline was December 31st, 2020, this meant that as UK citizens we would only be allowed to stay in a Schengen zone for a maximum of 90 days (three months) before having to return or go to a non-Schengen country for at least 90 days before returning. As a cruiser this spelled disaster, as on a nice steady jaunt, taking in the sights, etc, it could take you at least a month or more, having to turn around and belt back or go to Morroco, Tunisia `Croatia, or Turkey to do what has now become known as the Schengen Shuffle.
This did not appeal to us at all! Cheers Boris! So not to be outdone we made tentative enquires about Residencia in Spain, not owning property or needing to work there, normally made this arduous, however, due to a “Transition Agreement” Spain made it possible to gain residence by just staying in the country for 6 months or longer, we booked a flight out the next week and rented a villa in Calpe we applied for our residencia straight away and obtained it in late 2020. I bought Allegrini over to Bilbao in September 2020 with Steve a good mate of ours, and she stayed there until all the lockdowns had finished in July of 2021, we then traveled to the UK via Bilbao a few times and eventually set sail in August 2021 and spending the rest of the summer sailing down to Cartagena, where we stayed right through the winter until leaving on the 1st May 2022 when we sailed up to Altea, which is where we are now.