I woke up thinking that I was going to leave Barcelona this weekend and make my way South to warmer temperatures and southern Spain.
There I would await Deb’s return and greet our friend Emmanuel Renoir prior to heading farther south to the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands were to be our departure point for the Caribbean on November 19th.
By the time I went to bed, all of that had changed!
I heard from Deb that she was not going to be able to return any time soon (real life issues at home), and listened to reports of Hurricane Maria taking out a few more of our potential Caribbean destinations.
Deb was delayed, the Caribbean was a disaster area, and Morpheus was currently docked at our favorite boatyard.
All of this combined to turn my plans upside down, and I was leaning pretty hard towards delaying our Atlantic Crossing by another year, spending a couple of weeks here in Barcelona putting Morpheus to bed, and then heading home until next May.
Please note that we had already delayed our crossing by a year. Morpheus was initially scheduled (ha! love that word!!) to cross to the Caribbean last Winter. If she had, would she have perished in one of the two recent hurricanes?? I’m thinking yes.
I woke up and started getting the paperwork together to get Morpheus hauled out of the water and “put into bond” by the local EU Customs agents. Visiting boats are granted an 18 month timeframe to visit the EU. We are currently working on month number 13 for Morpheus.
If your boat stays in the EU longer than 18 months, the authorities have the right to charge you an “import tax” of 20% of the boats value. Putting your idle boat “into bond” stops that 18 month clock from running.
I took my paperwork up to the yard manager expecting no issues since we had done this once before. He broke the news to me that the “bond process” had been discontinued by the EU a few months ago.
Damn! Our 18 months end aprox. March 1, 2018.
So here’s where things get ridiculous. If you take your boat out of the EU for even one day and then return to the EU your boat gets an additional 18 months!!
Now as I get ready to end my day, my plans have once again changed dramatically from this morning. Now, it looks like I need to take Morpheus 550nm south to Gibraltar for the day, before turning around and returning to EMV Marine for the winter. With no available crew I’ll be traveling by day only and that journey will probably take me a week (assuming no issue with weather which looks good right now.)
How will this affect our Atlantic Crossing decision? I’ll be right where I’d planned to be when we were definitely crossing this November. Will I really think that its a better idea to turn around and sail the boat all the way back to Barcelona?
I’m really not sure. Stand by for additional updates…