The circumnavigation of the world on the yacht "Elizaveta" has ended in Krasnoyarsk. The journey on a 17-meter motor-powered sailing vessel under the Russian flag, which began on July 9, 2017, took more than six years. The project, which was called "Retracing the Routes of Great Expeditions", was implemented with the support of the interregional public organization "Association of Polar Explorers" and the Krasnoyarsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society.
The results of the circumnavigation were summed up at a briefing at the Krasnoyarsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society. The head of the expedition, Alexey Loginov, told reporters that during the voyage the yacht had passed more than 35,000 nautical miles along the most difficult route. The journey was divided into five stages: European – Transatlantic – American – Antarctic – Pacific – Eastern-Arctic. The ship's crew changed regularly, two people were present for the entire journey – Alexey Loginov and his senior assistant Pavel Pavlov.
At the first stage, the “Elizaveta” passed the Yenisei, the Kara Sea, the Barents Sea, the White Sea, the lake and the river Vyg, the White Sea-Baltic Canal, Lake Onega, the Svir River, Lake Ladoga, and then, along the Neva, arrived in St. Petersburg in August 2017.
In August 2019, the yacht left St. Petersburg to go through the next stage. It bypassed Europe, made the transatlantic crossing, passed along the coast of Latin America, and, in February 2020, reached Antarctica.
The way to the home shores from the southernmost continent of the planet ran through the Pacific Ocean. The television company RT made a documentary called "Pandemic Odyssey" about this journey in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After returning to Russia, the “Elizaveta” stopped for the winter in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. From there, through the Arctic Ocean, the yacht returned to Dudinka and reached Krasnoyarsk along the Yenisei. Now the ship has been sent for repair to a local shipyard.
“I’ve done two circumnavigations before, but short ones. One on an ice floe around the North Pole, on the drifting Komsomol-youth station ‘North Pole – 28’. We went around the pole in a year; I wintered there for a whole year. I was very young, still an employee at the Arctic and Antarctic Institute. Almost 40 years ago. The second circumnavigation was also short. That one was around the South Pole – during the Soviet Antarctic Expedition on the icebreaker ‘Akademik Fedorov’, it was in 1989. But even then there were plans to go on a classic round-the-world expedition – under sails, like in the good old days, like our great ancestors.
When the opportunity arose, we came up with a plan with friends and organized it. That is why it is called "Retracing the Routes of Great Expeditions", repeating, at different stages, those same sea routes of our great ancestors.
What was the hardest part? The difficult thing is always human relationships. These are crews, new people all the time, people don’t always get along with each other. And there is a difficult situation around, the ocean, sometimes ice, sometimes the tropics, and, of course, it is not easy for people to work together in a confined space and the powerful elements surrounding us. But the most impressive thing is also people. How they change. I see that they come being one way and leave transformed. And their life will never be the same again, because no one will take away from them the extraordinary things they have done.
There are many beautiful places on the planet: fantastically beautiful Antarctica, inhumanly impressive Patagonia, where everything seems to be in the first days of creation – rocks, fjords, glaciers, and waterfalls. Amazing beauty of Russia: Kamchatka and Chukotka are stunning. There, not only the nature is wonderful, but also the animal world is incredibly rich – I have never seen so many whales, walruses, seals at the same time in my life. And of course, our native Yenisei is beautiful and powerful. We saw a huge aurora over the Yenisei when we were returning home. It will be impossible to forget all this," Alexey Loginov, the head of the expedition, shared his impressions of the circumnavigation.
Igor Spiridenko, Chairman of the Krasnoyarsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society, stressed at a briefing that the "Retracing the Routes of Great Expeditions" circumnavigation of the world has also become a serious project of comprehensive research within the framework of the priority state program for the development of the Arctic zone of Russia.
“It is difficult to overestimate the courage of the expedition participants. As in the days of great expeditions, the seas and oceans remain a huge risk to humans. And it is very important that we have preserved that great spirit. Scientific research based on the results of this long voyage is still ahead, but already now we can say that we have gained a wealth of experience for Russia and Russian science, as well as for reaching the new heights in the development of the Arctic," Igor Spiridenko noted.