25 juni 2013

Sailing Russian style

Sailing Russian style
If you travel through Russia, you need friends. Friends who help you through the city of St. Petersburg, friends that organize a festival on a little island, friends that help you open a bridge which hasn't been opened for a year and friends that give you a place to stay on the ship dock of the village Vosnesenye
And in the end you thank them with a toast...obviously with vodka.
In this case all the friends come through Daniil, the organizer of the Adventure Race 80 and captain of Piotr I, Peter the First, the leading ship in this regatta.
But this till is Russia, and even if he arranges everything beforehand, it doesn’t mean everything goes as planned.
The first part went quite all right. We sailed through the city and all bridges were open and stayed open till we were all through. Even the little festival at the lighthouse in Osinovets was ok even though the hundreds of people that were supposed to give the 'festival' festival feeling weren't there. But maybe my interpretation of a festival isn't quite the same as a Russian. But then again, many friends were involved and we were even allowed to climb the very old lighthouse of 74m high!
I think the friends further east on the river Svir didn't get their bottle of vodka on time. According to what we heard by the time we arrived at the bridge, which would open around 11 am, the bridge couldn't open because of the heat. For 12 hours we anchored while many cargo ships, named Volganeft 3012 and Volganeft 3013 and so on, happily sailed by being just high enough to go under the bridge.
Around 11pm we saw many guys appearing at the bridge and finally after 45 minutes they got the bridge to open. A little squeaky and slow, but it opened!
While being watched by people from the village the parade of yachts continued upstream. We are quite a show for the people alongside the river; sailing boats are not a common thing going up the river.
Since all ships have to go through two huge locks (an ascend of 15m!) it was quite easy to go through them. The next challenge was again another bridge. We were told, 9am it opens. So after 3 hours of anchoring and trying to get some sleep, we all hurried towards the bridge. And what did we do? Waiting. Not because it was too warm, not because we weren't on time, just because they decided that our reservation should be cancelled.
This time we only had to wait for 6 hours and eventually it wasn't so bad after all, I mean, what's six hours on a trip of 3 weeks?
At the end of the river Svir our leader of the troop, Daniil, met some guys who work for the administration of the river and the whole region around it. They were going around in a small boat along the river and were curious about all the sailing vessels that came by on their river. They found the leading ship and talked with Daniil. Through them our biggest friend was found. They arranged a special place for the 12 ships on the floating dock in the town of Vosnesenye so this time we didn't have to throw the anchor out.
We were told there was going to be a crew party so Uta (the other mate of the Anne Margaretha) and me went to our friend Daniil on the ship Piotr I. There we witnessed a small get together with Daniil toasting with his new made friends of the river. The crew party never took place, the organizers were too busy toasting on their new made friends, and we just sat silently with them (since we don't understand or speak any Russian).

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