March 30, 2012-Drinking with Russians
Russian Sailors can sing too
Twenty three years ago, in July 1989, a group of six Russian sailors, who said they were the first sailors permitted to go cruising from Soviet Russia, and one translator, arrived in Seattle aboard a boat owned by their shipping company employer in Vladivostok. We found them circling outside Shilshole Marina on our return from Barkley Sound that late July afternoon. They had spent over 40 days crossing the North Pacific and they had just arrived in the USA and didn’t know where to go. We led them to the transient dock.
We were the first Americans they met and they became friends of ours.
We took them sailing on Wings a few nights later along with about seven other sailors from the Sloop. Lots of vodka was consumed on a tour around Winslow Harbor and the spinnaker reach back was a bit wild, the Russians sailing the boat and the rest of us riding. It turned out they knew how to sail and it was a memorable and fortunately uneventful trip, considering the chances we took with a few marks and navigation aids, all passed a bit close and one on the wrong side much to the consternation of Judy, who got quite frantic when they insisted on taking the inshore side of one of the green bouys in Eagle Harbor. “No Problem, No Problem” they said, ignoring her wild gestures to go on the other side of it, but we made it and with the pole on the headstay we reached hard into Shilshore Bay and stormed inside the breakwater with the kite still up, all hands to the takedown. Again, luckily, no incidents. Same for the “wodka “ drenched meal for 17 in Wing’s cabin afterwards, a record number of guests never since matched. My hang-over was also unmatched.
Those Russians were good sailors, good singers, good eaters and great drinkers.
Last night in Fortaleza we had a party with another bunch of Russian sailors. They had arrived in Fortaleza on a big inflatable multihull, bound for a round the world record for inflatable boats. There were also seven of them, (six official adventurers and one guest added here in Fortaleza) mostly scientists from Siberia, but the Captain, Anatoly, is a boat builder, navigator and the creative genius behind the trip. Given where they have been (they started in Thailand and expect to end up there as well) and their wild and exciting rounding of the Cape of Good Hope in 50kts of wind (they showed us video footage of it) and where they are headed, (Across the Pacific and back to the far east), we can presume that they must also be good sailors. Although we did not get a chance to go sailing with them we can say from our experience last night that that they are good drinkers, eaters, musicians, and singers. Judy and I joined six other cruisers and the Russians on the afterdeck of their vessel for a long night of “wodka”, sweet wine, warm beer and a lot of music. The Russians had a guitar and it seems like all of them could put it to good use. They serenaded us with Russian songs for hours. When they sang the Beatles’ “Let It Be” we all joined in and one cruiser, Robert, from the Dutch yacht, Mary Elisa, had brought his trumpet and also joined in.
I enjoyed the music and food but stuck to “wodka” for my drink. Remembering my previous experience with Russians and “wodka”, or maybe just being older and wiser, I paced myself and had no hang over today.
This morning the Russians headed out going north up the coast with a planned stop in Sao Luis, Brazil (where we plan to stop as well) for provisions and their next major destination is the east coast of Mexico. After that, the Pacific, Easter Island, and then on to finish where they started at Phuket, Thailand.
We wished them well.
Click here to see more photos from our party with the Russians.
Click here to read the log book page from our trip with the Russians in 1989
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Fortaleza, Brazil
Energy Diet HD, Departed March 30 from Fortaleza for Sao Luis, then Mexico, (port undecided)
Anatoly Kulik (Tola),
Evgenii Kovalevsky (Jack),
Yurii Masloboyev, (Gold Tooth)
Evgenii Tashkin (Video)
Oleg Blinov (Big)
Alexander Gainer (Professor)
Click here to go to thier web site