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Old 04-07-2014, 23:08   #16
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Re: Sailing to Russia

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Wonderful. Would it have been as easy if you only spoke English? I guess the question is did all the officials speak English?
Keep dreaming It's same with every country having great history or believing so, national pride etc. Even few words of their language and and you are their best friend
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:30   #17
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Re: Sailing to Russia

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Keep dreaming It's same with every country having great history or believing so, national pride etc. Even few words of their language and and you are their best friend
I don't know about "best friend", but of course, you are way ahead if you show respect for another culture by at least learning some basic phrases. Even if it is only to politely ask "Do you speak English by chance?" in their language.

I think my own experience would have been much the same if I had no language. The yacht club director speaks a little English, and he was there to mediate with customs and immigration if necessary. The customs guy seemed to be pretty sharp and I bet he has some English, too.

In any case, the main thing is not to be intimidated by the process -- it's not bad.
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:47   #18
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Re: Sailing to Russia

Here's the hard data for anyone thinking about doing this yourself:

Vyborg is 63 miles from Kotka using the inside picking-your-way-through the rocks passage from Kotka to Santio Island, where you check out of Finland. From Santio, strictly follow the Fairway #4 route until this joins the shipping lane not far from Vysotsk. Don't stop in Vysotsk; go straight to the customs pier in the center of Vyborg just under the castle; on your starboard side as you come into the harbor.

Call at least 24 hours ahead to Igor Kiselev at the Vyborg Sea Yacht Club "Favorit". The telephone is +7 813 782 4536. He will reserve you a berth and inform the Russian Coast Guard (required at least 24 hours in advance) and organize customs clearance.

Bring with you several copies of your crew list, and have them stamped by Finnish customs as you leave. You also need two copies of your boat's certificate of registry.

It is also useful to print out the customs declaration form and fill it in before coming -- it will save a lot of time. You need two originals of this.

Obviously you will need a Russian visa.

The port itself is pretty third-world, but it's superbly located for seeing Vyborg (one of the most interesting places I've seen in the Baltic). There is electrical power and water. You berth bow-to or stern-to the quay. Ask for a berth on the side of the yacht club building -- not under the bridge. The quay under the bridge has a 24-hour security guard, but it's somewhat noisy from car traffic, and hordes of tourists coming to and from the (gorgeous 13th century) castle will be gawking at your boat all day and night, and looking down into your hatches at you.

The electrical power connections have some weird four-conductor round connector I've never seen before, similar in size to the standard blue European 16 amp connectors but not compatible. I was able to plug into a standard European outlet using an adapter I fortunately had around, but it would be better to plug into the real marine outlets, if someone understands what kind of plug that is. There is apparently no chandlery in Vyborg, so no place I can figure out to buy such a thing.

Now about fuel. Many people will be coming here for the fuel, which today costs 33 rubles per liter, or less than a dollar. That makes it less than half the price in Finland, and it is pure dino juice, with no biocrap in it.

Unfortunately, there is no place to buy it in Vyborg proper, except at a petrol station and carried in canisters. You have to sail 5 miles towards the Saimaa Canal and buy it at the Lavola Yacht Club. Or proceed through the Brusnichnoe Lock and buy it there. The second variant is far away (10 miles in the wrong direction), and the first variant unfortunately not available this weekend to me as the pumps were hit by lightning yesterday and knocked out of commission. So with the kind help of Igor and his car, I am going to be loading 600 liters of diesel by canisters from a petrol station
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:44   #19
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Re: Sailing to Russia

All kudos to Dockhead, what an excellent adventure. Following every word of it.
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Old 05-07-2014, 15:34   #20
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Re: Sailing to Russia

I think your incident with the tanker in the fairway is worthy of a report to
https://www.chirp.co.uk/reporting-Mform.asp

They may contact the owners/operators of the tanker, and hopefully get a response from the ships crew.
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Old 06-07-2014, 07:48   #21
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Re: Sailing to Russia

Thx Dockhead, forwarded it to german forums Yacht and TO / trans-ocean
...simply great..
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:05   #22
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Re: Sailing to Russia

Sounds Great. Thank for Sharing.
I'd like to do the Baltic next summer and now may even add Russia to the itinerary.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:21   #23
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Re: Sailing to Russia

OK, so we're back safe and sound in Finland after our Russia adventure.

It was altogether an EXCELLENT adventure, and I recommend all Baltic sailors to sail to Russia at least once in their lives. Vyborg was possibly the most interesting place I've been in the Baltic, and worth spending a week (or a month) exploring. The "Favorit" yacht club is a third-world s**t-hole, looking at it from the point of view of its physical assets, but Igor, the director, is an absolutely lovely guy whom we regretted saying good-bye to. And the location is perfect right under the ramparts of the very ancient castle.

I had dreaded the bureaucracy getting into and out of Russia, but in fact there was really nothing at all bad about it. All the various petty bureaucrats were scrupulously correct and unfailingly friendly and there was really no problem at all.

Because the fuel dock at Lavola was out of commission due to lightning strike, I ended up ordering a load of fuel to be brought up from St. Petersburg by truck. This was quite an experience -- a bit like buying a load of fine wine. In order to get within reach of the fuel truck, I had to berth against the pre-WWII ruins of a quay on the SW side of the harbor, with harsh concrete walls about 20 cm from the water level -- a recipe for scratched topsides. But it was ok in the event. Igor showed up with a boathook to help hold us off the wall. The driver arrived with a full set of official stamped documents testifying to all of the qualities of the fuel -- Cetane rating, what elements are present, flash point, percentage wax, percentage ash, milligrams of water per ton, etc., etc., etc. Before we started fueling, he ceremoniously opened the tank on his truck, and dipped out a one-liter sample. This sample he sealed in a special stamped envelope. This is the Russian way of guaranteeing quality -- in case of any dispute, you've got a sample of what you were sold, and you can send it off for analysis. Cool. They look at hydrocarbons like the French look at wine.

We pumped in the fuel, while I listened to the driver's philosophy of life, his disagreement with the Russian government's actions in Ukraine, his views on friendship of nations, etc., etc., etc. I filled an extra 30 liter canister (a gift from Igor) for good measure. And that was it.

The fuel is beautiful; the higher Cetane number (52) means it explodes less violently when injected, and the engine sounds definitely sweeter and smoother. I am used to the red diesel sold in the UK which is more like heating oil -- Cetane of about 40 and quite a bit of ash in it. So now I understand the ship captain I know who sails the Baltic on a break-bulk ship, and eagerly looks forward to bunkering in Russia. I have almost 700 liters of it , 2/3 of a ton, I hope enough to get me back to Blighty in August.

In case anyone is interested, I can post the contacts of the company in St. Petersburg who sent the fuel. For someone buying a large quantity, it actually makes sense compared to buying it at a fuel dock, since the price is only 29 rubles per liter, compared to 35 or even 37 on fuel docks.
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Old 08-07-2014, 14:04   #24
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Re: Sailing to Russia

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only 29 rubles per liter,
62 euros cents a litre , F-me

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Old 08-07-2014, 14:44   #25
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Re: Sailing to Russia

Wow, Dockhead,

That sounds like super fuel. Well done, sir!

And what a good chap that Igor is. Good on him!

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Old 08-07-2014, 15:46   #26
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Re: Sailing to Russia

но конечно. Вход легче, чем уход, да?

But not in your case. Spent a bit of time in Ukraine and on the Black Sea. My wife is from Dnepropetrovsk. I had hoped to cruise the Black sea and visit the Crimea but I'll wait till it is back in Ukrainian hands.

The Baltic ports sound good. Russia is on my list.
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Old 09-07-2014, 05:18   #27
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Re: Sailing to Russia

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I have almost 700 liters of it , 2/3 of a ton, I hope enough to get me back to Blighty in August.
Otherwise do a stopover in Helgoland, not only for refueling..
Tanken
Taxfree shopping and bunkering
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