It's time to go! Left behind is Kronstadt, from where the Russian pioneers of the 19th century would set off on long journeys. Ahead is the endless expanse of the oceans, not dividing, but uniting the peoples of the world with their watery vastness. A unique expedition of the Russian Geographical Society on an inflatable trimaran "Following the Russian circumnavigators" set off from Peter’s wharf on July 1.
The vessel named "Russian Ocean Way" is the only one in the world in its class. The crew includes the head of the expedition, the first deputy chairman of the Tomsk Branch of the Russian Geographical Society Evgeny Kovalevsky, and the captain of the trimaran, the champion of Russia and the Siberian Federal District in sailing tourism, member of the Russian Geographical Society Stanislav Berezkin.
The travelers are going to set a sailing distance record on the inflatable sailing trimaran, as well as implement several unique projects. Among them are "Lessons from the Ocean" for students and schoolchildren; scientific research of the planet’s radiation background and the propagation of radio waves over the ocean expanses; "People's Diplomatic Mission" acquainting the residents of other countries with the natural and cultural resources of Russia as well as with the history of the development of the Earth by the Russian sailors. A series of documentaries is planned to be released based on the video recordings made by the crew members.
In two years, the trimaran should cover about 60 thousand km, visit more than 40 different states and territories. During the visits, the crew will hold over 100 meetings with local residents. Approximate route: St. Petersburg – Finland – Poland – Sweden – Denmark – Netherlands – Great Britain – France – Spain – Portugal – Canary Islands – crossing the Atlantic Ocean – South America – Polynesia – Micronesia –Philippines – Indonesia – Indian Ocean – Atlantic Ocean – South Africa – Namibia – Portugal – Great Britain – St. Petersburg.
The project’s website contains an interactive map with the trimaran geolocation and educational games with the Russian school students. On the ground, the work of the expedition will be facilitated by the shore staff under the leadership of the executive director of the Tomsk Branch of the Russian Geographical Society Yulia Kalyuzhnaya.
The project is being implemented with the support of the Russian Geographical Society and the Presidential Grants Fund. It is dedicated to the 250th birthday anniversary of Ivan Kruzenshtern and the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by the Russian sailors.
"On behalf of the President of the Russian Geographical Society, on my own behalf, I want to greet the participants of this unique, grandiose for our time circumnavigation. I wish them fair winds and following seas," said the adviser to the President of the Russian Geographical Society on international activities Sergey Katikov.
The Honorary President of the Russian Geographical Society, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Kotlyakov also wished fair winds to the worthy heirs of the Russian seafarers in a congratulatory telegram.
"I believe that you will carry the Russian flag with dignity! I wish you successful completion of your tasks!" wrote Kotlyakov.
The head of the expedition Yevgeny Kovalevsky, noted that the crew, despite the upcoming difficulties, is ready to achieve their goals.
"The mission is fundamentally important, one of the four tasks. We want to remind the world of the achievements of the Russians discovering the oceans, we want to remind you of those capes and islands that were called by Russian names," Kovalevsky said.
The leader of the expedition considers the educational task to be no less important: to tell about these historical facts to the younger generation of the Russians, as well as to share with them knowledge about the World Ocean. The first "lesson from the ocean" will take place on Geographer’s Day.
The captain of the trimaran Stanislav Berezkin admitted that he had been studying the upcoming route for more than a year. The difficulties of the path caused concern.
“At first it seemed to me very difficult, even impassable. But then I realized that we could do it. And now we are sailing on a unique ship built specially for us by Anatoly Kulik, our friend and designer,” Berezkin said.
The sunny weather in Kronstadt seemed to try to cheer up the travelers and those seeing them off. The farewell was bright and warm.
"It's time to go, old man, it’s time to wake
After all, you yourself, old man, dreamed of hearing
The waves knocking on the parapet at daybreak
The backstay ringing just a little, like the first string," for the road, Kovalevsky and Berezkin sang a romantically touching song by the bard Vladimir Lanzberg.
To the applause and cheers of those present, the brave Russians set out to conquer the vastness of the oceans in order to return to their home harbor in two years. You can follow their circumnavigation on the project’s site.