Cruise

Dutch backpackers plan to sail from Australia to the Netherlands to escape COVID-19

A pair of backpackers stranded in Australia are planning to sail to the Netherlands to escape the coronavirus.

Backpackers Jordy van der Voort (pictured above, left) and compatriot Daniel Wiessing (pictured above, right) have been stranded in Australia since the closure of international borders.

But the pair have hatched up a daring plan to get back home to the Netherlands, where the number of COVID-19 cases is four times higher than Australia.

According to an SBS Dutch report, the pair – who met on a Dutch backpacker Facebook page – are now preparing to make the 13,000 nautical mile journey from Australia back to Amsterdam by boat.

However, the pair have described themselves as inexperienced sailors, which they reportedly acknowledge is “a bit of a problem”.

They plan to do a crash course in sea sailing before making the journey.

It comes after 29-year-old van der Voort’s recent purchase of a 47-foot catamaran called Samara, following the sale of his backpacker truck earlier this month.

He reached out online to Wiessing, who was reportedly sold on the boat as soon as he saw its name.

“I just knew I had to do this,” he told SBS Dutch, explaining that he recently met a Swiss girl named Samara for whom he has “deep feelings”.

Posted by Daniel Wiessing on Monday, 13 April 2020

According to SBS Dutch, the would-be sailors hope to be ready to leave in a month, aiming to sail the Panama Canal route to the Netherlands.

However, if they are not, the only other option would be to wait six months for the opening of the Suez Canal.

Both routes are seasonal, but everything will depend on the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

And then there’s the potential for piracy, with the vessel crossing the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden. The captains, however, are unphased.

“We have nothing of value that can be stolen,” they told SBS Dutch.

According to Wiessing, who searched Facebook to see if there was any interest in sailing back to Amsterdam in a not-yet-purchased “corona-free catamaran”, there has been a huge amount of curiosity in the trip from fellow Dutch backpackers.

Speaking to the outlet, van der Voort said he aims to take four crew members, including himself and Wiessing – even though the vessel reportedly sleeps eight.

The pair also plan to stock up on canned food and rum (beer, the pair say, takes up a lot of room), and will take turns steering Samara.

Additionally, they have eight life vests on board, a fully equipped dinghy, a satellite phone, and possibly more crew members.

They are also equipped with a social media account to keep the world up-to-date with their journey.

Featured image: Jordy van der Voort and Daniel Wiessing (Instagram.com/lostsails)


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