Sergey Shcherbakov: «The biggest deficit is time.»
Yachting in Russia

Sergey Shcherbakov: «The biggest deficit is time.»

Captain «of Siberia» on preparations for the expedition «Siberia - Antarctica - Siberia»
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In January next year the world will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by an expedition of Russian travelers FF Bellingshausen and M. P. Lazarev. One way to celebrate this will be the round-the-world voyage of the Bermuda Kech «Siberia», whose route towards the white continent will coincide with the route of two centuries ago.

- I would like to start in chronological order - from last October. Then the «Force of Siberia», on which it was planned to go on this expedition, ran aground in Mallorca. What happened to it then?

- I was there for about a week while the rescue operation was underway. They took it off the rocks, sealed the holes (well, they put a «band-aid» on it), brought inflatable floating pontoons and towed it to the marina. Then, in principle, it was not even repaired (only the restoration of the hull, according to experts, will require more than a million euros). The owner sold it to Turkey to the same shipyard where it was manufactured. The Turks are going to restore it. That was the end of it.

And we ... We had two yachts to participate: we were going to start in Siberia«,»leave Omsk, go to Salekhard, and there to cross the Power «of Siberia and »go to the Arctic and Antarctic round the world. But since one yacht is out of order, we will continue the whole expedition on the same «Siberia».

But she won't be able to go all the way that she was supposed to. The Siberian «Power has» 108 tons of displacement, and «Siberia» has only 8 tons.

- Skolupochka - in comparison with the «Power of Siberia».

- Yes. That's why we cancelled the route around «Antarctica». But we plan to visit «Bellingshausen» station. It is planned to arrive there by the 200th anniversary of the opening of Antarctica, that is, by January 28 of next year. We will cross the Drake Strait twice: from South America to «Bellingshausen station» and back. And then we will return home along the Pacific Ocean along the coast of two Americas, through the Bering Strait, the Northern Sea Route to the Gulf of Ob and Omsk.

On July 7 this year we will start from Omsk, somewhere in late August we should be in St. Petersburg. We would like to do it earlier, but it doesn't work before, because the Ob Bay will be closed, the ice will leave in July and only at the end of the month we can leave. And that's where the Kara Sea is also closed by ice. And we have to cross the Kara Sea and go either through the Kara Gate or through the Strait of Ugorsk Balloon.

And the Barents Sea is free. The Gulf Stream operates there and there is no ice at this time. That is, in early August we must overcome the western part of the Kara Sea, the Barents Sea and the White Sea, the White Sea-Baltic Canal to save time and not to go around Scandinavia. Somewhere in late August we should be in St. Petersburg, and already from there we will go on the route of Bellingshausen and Lazarev.

But they started on a new style somewhere on July 16, that is, on July 4, the old style. July 16 in St. Petersburg will be a gala start to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of Antarctica. Several yachts will start (earlier «RIA Novosti» reported that itBoat is planning to sail to Antarctica «from Kronstadt»in the second half of the year).

We are going from St. Petersburg to the Baltic, then to the North Sea, the English Channel, and from there we will go to the Atlantic Ocean.

There's another yacht waiting for us in Brest, France. From there, the two of us will go to Canary, where Bellingshausen was staying, in Rio de Janeiro. Together we'll cross the Drake Strait - to Bellingshausen station «-» and back. But then they stay in South America, and we have to go home and finish the world.

- Did you have to change the training plan after «Siberia» was left alone?

- Totally, of course. «The power of Siberia» was almost ready. At least to a lot: solar panels had to be added, and let's say all the generators, desalters, all the equipment... It's an ocean yacht. It's got it all there. It was, or rather. And this is where all this stuff has to be completed.

What's the most valuable thing we have? We've won a presidential grant. But we applied for the «Force of Siberia», because we planned to go there, and all the events have now been transferred to «Siberia».

The Foundation for Presidential Grants has agreed on these changes, because in fact there are no changes in the program to be implemented: the same public meetings, visits to ports, though on a new schedule. We have a grant direction - «public diplomacy and support for compatriots abroad». The Foreign Ministry is involved. Our partner helps organize meetings abroad at ports of call. The program does not change here. But the preparation of the ship, yes.

We planned to prepare the «Force of Siberia» in Peter. So, we had to send a crew, we had to place it there and work there. Since we are now preparing everything in Omsk, we are saving on travel expenses. We will use the savings to purchase equipment, we have already agreed on this.

- Does the Presidential Grants Fund fully cover the expenses? Or did you have to look for some other sources?

- No, no, of course not. It doesn't cover all the expenses. Probably about half the money. There are 10 million rubles allocated, and it is calculated from November 1, 2018 to November 30, 2019. 13 months. And we will have to finish somewhere on October 15 of the next year, 2020.

I will apply for a new grant. If we win... Ideally, January 28, 2020 is the 200th anniversary date. There are reasons, we just need to be well prepared. I hope we do the right thing. We have to do the whole program now, then there will be grounds to apply for the next grant.

We have co-financing (and a lot of co-financing) from the Sport Support Fund «Siberian Sailing Expeditions». This is the parent organization, a special account has been opened here, where the Presidential Grants Fund has transferred funds to us for the first stage. Then, when we report, it will be transferred to the second, third stage. Very big reporting, every penny in the account.

- And how's the renovation going now? What's left to do?

- A lot, a lot. The yacht is now in disassembled condition.

- Can you make it?

- We have to make it. They work on it all the time. And on holidays and weekends. The crew is working, the volunteers are working. A yacht is one thing. Plus, it's a public program that we run under the terms of the grant. We have already held events in Omsk, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. Now we are going to Novosibirsk, then to Krasnoyarsk. There are many events before and after the start of «Siberia».

- What is the most difficult thing for you in preparation?

- Well, how shall I put it... It's a job to be done. What's the hardest part? It's complicated...

Time, time! The thing is, it's not the first time I've prepared such an expedition, so I know a lot of people already. I do not know when it was harder - then or now? Of course it's now! As hard as it was then, but we did it, we won, but it's all in the past. And now it is still to be done, and every day (every moment) means a lot.

The biggest deficit is time, because it has to be organized. 98%, maybe even more, goes to training. And then only participation in the expedition itself.

A lot of bureaucratic obstacles: agreements, expectations. We're the ones in a hurry. And the officials aren't rushing anywhere. This is what takes a lot of time, nerves and energy.

- Recently you said you were ready to take on board the sailors. Have you received many applications already?

- Well, yes. It's about 60. We're grateful, of course, to the people: they want to come unselfishly, to start working on a yacht. Well, that's great. But, of course, we can't all be satisfied.

- And what's your«contest about?

- People are claiming a certain stage. Let's say someone wants to take the Northern Sea Route from Providence to Salekhard. I think they'll have a little competition. But most people want to go to Antarctica, of course. But it's already impossible, because that's where we need 6-8 people, the boat won't lift any more.

Four people - a permanent crew, which I do not plan to replace by anyone - those who know the boat completely, from and to the last screw. These are professionals, without whom one cannot do without on board. So we can add 2-4 people to a certain stage - that's all. That's what we'll add to the stages. But if there are 10 people in one stage...

- And how will you choose? Is there any secret to success?

- In terms of usefulness. Here, in principle, the main criterion for «who works - he goes». A person needs to be cleaned up. Not to powder salt, but to be together for a little while, to understand who it is. It's not a big deal. Perhaps, this is one of the main criteria - how a person will behave in a team in a confined space. Because of incompatibility, a lot of teams were falling apart. And to understand how he will behave - you need to rub against each other.

That's why I say: Do you «want to get in the crew? Come to Omsk, work with us side by side for a week or two. Let's look at each other. Maybe you'll say no yourself». Or maybe a man can solve some other questions for the expedition. In other words, it is the lapping and utility for the crew, for the expedition, for the project - the main thing.

And if I just «want»... Of course «I» do, it's the main motive. I understand people. I want to do it myself. But if you want to, then do something.

- Which stage do you expect the most?

- Well, you know, if there isn't just one little piece, we won't have the whole world.

- You've been around the world before, isn't there some place you want to go back to?

- Well, yeah. Some of us will go where we've been before. Well, that's very interesting. Let's say we've walked the west coast of North America. It's very interesting to see how people live there, what's there. Maybe we'll meet some people we know. There's a lot of people left, by the way.

Of course, the Drake Strait is the most... complicated place, and very responsible. It will definitely need to be prepared very seriously. But any other stage is just as important.

According to Sergei, Captain Nicholas Litau, with whom the Omsk team keeps in touch, over the past summer (for the southern hemisphere) season he has safely crossed the Drake Strait eight times. «The reconnaissance», let it be carried out on a bigger «Siberian»boat, was a success. It remains to wish that luck accompanied the participants of the round-the-world expedition next year.

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