Escaped from the Storm: the RGS Circumnavigation Completed the Last Brazilian Stage of the Voyage

На фоне бразильского солнца. Фото участников экспедиции

Early in the morning of May 11, the trimaran Russian Ocean Way entered the Port of Rio Grande – the last Brazilian harbor on the route of the round-the-world expedition of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society. Brave Russians Evgeny Kovalevsky, Stanislav Berezkin and their colleague from Brazil Sergio Zotov managed to evade a strong storm, promptly eliminating the consequences of a steering failure in the open sea.

 "On May 10, at 02:10 a.m., basically at night, there was a loud crack. Something burst noisily. I had just relinquished the watch to Sergio. Stas and I jumped up and rushed to take a look. Sergio reported that the steering box was broken. He understood that right away, because  the vessel's rudder broke sideways and we lost the ability to control the trimaran," the head of the expedition "Following the paths of Russian explorers" Evgeny Kovalevsky shares his impressions with the readers of the RGS website.

Fortunately, back in Cape Verde, the crew had prepared a spare steering box for crossing the Atlantic. They had to remove the remnants of the old device and install a new one. The situation was complicated by the fact that in a day the trimaran was going to encounter a storm.

 "We lowered the sails. The three of us managed to remove the old steering box while being rocked by the waves and put in a new one. I jumped overboard and held the rudder. Water got into the wetsuit. Stas, half-naked under water, was putting bolts in the holes and tightening the nuts. Sergio was handing over the tools, pulling the ropes and filming. With God's help, a sledgehammer and strong language, we managed to do everything in 3.5 hours," Kovalevsky said.


Евгений Ковалевский, Станислав Берёзкин после ремонта рулевого управления. Фото участников экспедиции

Since the fastening was temporary, the trimaran team decided to use the motor moving forward. This allowed to reduce the load on the steering wheel. Started at 5:40 a.m. There were still 50 miles to go before entering the Rio Grande lagoon, and we needed to cover them before the storm began. Otherwise, we would have had to drift or anchor and somehow survive in stormy conditions for a couple of days.

"On May 11, almost at 6:00 am, we docked at the port. We docked on the territory of the Rio Grande Yacht Club. Waiting for the dawn. Escaped the storm. Just as we had moored (made fast the vessel by attaching it with rope to a heavy object at the bottom), the motor cut off and we haven't been able to start it yet​​​", Kovalevsky added.


Только что брошен якорь в Риу-Гранди. Фото: Евгений Ковалевский

Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin plan to spend several days in Rio Grande. First of all, they need to wait out the storm. In addition, since the expedition is leaving Brazil, it is necessary to arrange departure from the country. Uruguay is ahead.

The last Brazilian round-the-world stage started on May 7 at the yacht club of Florianopolis, State of Santa Catarina. During the previous week, the crew's priority task was to record historical sites — at the beginning of the 19th century, three Russian round-the-world expeditions visited Santa Catarina: Vasily Golovnin’s, Otto Kotzebue’s and Thaddeus Bellingshausen’s.

“Our task was to find the points of entry and mooring of Russian ships, fortresses, churches and other places visited by our predecessors. We managed to find and film the fortress of Fortaleza Santana, a public hospital, a public market, the customs. We visited two old districts – Santo Antonio de Lisboa in the north and Ribeirao in the south – where ancient churches of the 17th century, the first houses in Brazil, streets and pavements have been preserved," Kovalevsky said.

The participants of the expedition managed to collect a rich harvest of vivid photographs and videos. The best of them will later be included in the report on the circumnavigation.

“The local yacht club loved us. Every evening, while we were working at the computers, captains gathered around us and asked us about life. We talked, sang songs, took pictures. The captains were interested in our experience," admitted Evgeny Kovalevsky.


Флорианополис. Фото: Станислав Берёзкин

On May 6, the head of the round-the-world expedition "Following the paths of Russian explorers" celebrated his anniversary. Evgeny Kovalevsky turned 65 years old.

On July 1, 2021, Siberian travelers Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin set off along the route of the first Russian round-the-world expeditions of the 19th century: Ivan Kruzenshtern’s (1803-1806), Yuri Lisyansky’s (1803-1806), Otto Kotzebue’s (1815-1818, 1823-1826), Vasily Golovnin’s (1817-1819), Fedor Litke’s (1826-1829), Faddey Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev’s (1819-1921). The international project of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society "Following the paths of Russian explorers" is dedicated to the 250th birthday anniversary of Krusenstern and the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by Russian sailors. These events for a long time determined Russia's leadership in the development of the oceans and the discovery of new lands. You can learn more about the project and provide all possible assistance in its implementation on the website of the expedition.