Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category

Russian Meeting No 1

Friday, November 1st, 2013
Charlotte Sykpes Vladimir

Charlotte Sykpes Vladimir

Then have a lovely meal

Then have a lovely meal

While we all watch on

While we all watch on

30th October 2013

Charlotte had organised everything! The team met up at the Pineapple Pub in Kentish town. I didn’t make it to the pub having had to bail out of the overcrowded tube and run half way across London. I joined the meeting at Ashcombe Street where Charlotte was staying whilst in London. I burst in to find everyone totally engrossed in a long Skype session with Vladimir from St Petersburg. Vladimir has enabled many yachts to pass smoothly through the often complex Russian bureaucracy and is generally regarded as a top dog hero to every yacht person who ventures into Russia. It was very kind of Vladimir to take part in this Skype session as it was about midnight in St Peterburg.

Present at the meeting was:
Graham from the Baltic Section of the CA
Tim hoping to skipper Thembi
John and Selma hoping to take Brimble with their family
Norman and Christine probably not joining in their yacht but certainly in spirit.
Coll Hutchieson who is hoping to sail anti-clockwise in 2014
Alasdair (me!) and Grit intending to take Sumara on the grand trip
and of course Charlotte who will be taking Svarte and the Good Ship Pouncer.

Business was conducted over a massive Bolognese with beer and wine.

Our big question was “Clockwise or anti clockwise?”. The original plan had certainly been to go anti-clockwise. In fact Selma and John managed to winter their yacht on the South East coast of Norway in anticipation. However we have now decided to go clockwise! Charlotte will transport Pouncer overland from North Sweden to Tromso in the spring of 2015. In the summer of 2014 Thembi will sail towards Tromso from Scotland, Brimble will about turn and sail up the west coast of Norway and Sumara will head out of London.

The hope is to rendezvous for some climbing in Lofoten on 19th July 2014 (Hey might as well give it a date!) before mouching on up to Tromso where the yacht will spend the winter.

In the spring of 2015 there will be hectic fitting out combined with skiing in preparation for the long trip around the North Cape towards Archangel to clear Russian Customs before heading to the canal entrance. Vladimir had suggested Archangel was easier to clear customs than Murmansk which was mainly a military port.

We have been warned that there is a 3,000 euro charge to pass through the canal and we are going to make enquiries as to whether there were any further charges to be expected.

Tonight Grit and I are meeting Maxine and Dirk. Maxine, a fluent Russian speaker, sailed through the canal this year on Tanui joined by Dirk for some sections. We are looking forward to hearing their tales.


Russia and all that

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

27th July 2013

I had been worried that I had missed my chance to join Charlotte’s adventure through the canal from St Petersburg to the White Sea. John had already set off for Norway and arranged winter berthing. My only chance of joining the trip would be if the whole thing was delayed by a year. I gingerly suggested this to Charlotte having already run the concept past John and Tim. John was pretty easy with the idea and a delay made it more possible for Tim to join with Thembi. Charlotte had wanted to do it next year as it fitted neatly with her plans in Sweden but she also really wanted a little convoy and agreed to let the date slip one year so the canal part of the voyage will now take place in 2015.

It will give me a chance to sort out Sumara in London as she has been wintering in Scotland for two years and tasks are building up. I will then hopefully join the Risor Wooden Boat Festival next year and winter in Norway. It would be good to arrange a big meet up when Charlotte is back in the UK so we can fix up the details.

Bye-bye Chichester Hello Brighton

Monday, June 3rd, 2013
Sumara moored in Brighton

Sumara moored in Brighton

1st June 2013
We had our first sail of the year and it was quite wonderful. A northerly wind of F3-4 gave us a reasonably flat sea and the neep tide let us slip out at a respectable 0600 GMT and get over the bar and through the Looe Channel on fair streams. The sun even came out. We arrived relaxed at Brighton mid-Saturday afternoon with plenty of the weekend left to finish off all those after launch tasks that never happened in Chichester.
Chichester Marina is set in quiet countryside and there are pleasant walks, or runs, through woods or along lanes to Dell Quay or Itchenor. Both villages have excellent pubs with good food. There is also a restaurant in the marina but somehow the food doesn’t quite hit the spot. It’s not bad but not as good as the local pubs. (The Pizza Pasta Pub on the road to the marina is brilliant too).
The marina staff in Chichester are first class with a very “can do” attitude. The showers are amazing with piped Classic FM and lounge areas with magazines to read. Everything is spotless. They were a bit embarrassingly smart. Whilst I was wearing my boiler suit working on my boat I felt I ought to smarten myself up before using them. I noticed a couple of planks were a little bit rotten on my pontoon and the following week with no prompting they had been replaced with new ones. My over winter charges were reasonable enough for such well-maintained facilities but of course once I was back in the water the visitor charges were a bit eye watering (although, to be fair, they all are on the South Coast).
My only gripe was with the on-site riggers who do most of the mast stepping and slipping. The person from the company that I was dealing with was so negative about absolutely everything that I eventually put my foot down and simply refused to use them. This caused a bit of a stir as the marina obviously prefers you to use the on-site riggers. However the crane is owned by the marina and they suggested another rigger who came down the following week and popped the stick in the hole in a cheery manner. It wasted a week but I hate working with negative people.
My broken arm has its ups and downs but it was good to me this weekend. I have been upping the physiotherapy and pushing my exercises to the limit which seem to help. I can winch OK and grab the handrails. I can haul an anchor but haven’t attempted rowing yet. I wouldn’t be able to climb the mast. I went for a quick dip in the sea at Brighton only to discover I can’t swim yet! I am going the BMF running club again but sticking with the blue bib for another month or so. I doubt I will be capable of full military fitness until August. I have pretty much decided against sailing to Norway this year. This may mean I miss an opportunity to sail through the canal from St Petersburg to the White Sea the following year. There is a slight chance things may get delayed allowing me to catch up. My new friend Maxine is currently sailing the route from the North to the South. They have a blog which I am looking forward to following.