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Old 05-03-2014, 20:06   #1
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USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

For many years I've thought it an extreme delight to see the Bolshoi perform in St Petersburg. Lately I've been thinking how wonderful it would be to sail there. So help me plan the route. This trip would not be for several years if at all. The goal is the Bolshoi, to sail into St. Petersburg would be icing on the cake (no pun intended).

(I do understand the Bolshoi performances and best time to cross the N. Atlantic do not coincide. So, for the intervening months I take in the sights of the several countries in that region. This would require wintering the boat in that area.)

To begin, let's say we jump off from North Carolina. Which would make better sense; to head for Ireland then coastal northward...or to make the long hop direct Scandinavia with possible stop in Iceland? That's question No. 1.

2nd, how much time you suppose to sail well into the Baltic Sea from, say Ireland? Is this trip even possible in one season? Assume the boat is a production catamaran of 50' in Bristol fashion.

Question No. 3, customs, visas, fuel, chandleries, etc. Hire a local skipper or use a land based agent...or go it alone? Obviously I have not been in the far northern reaches by boat so do not have an inkling of what to expect.
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Old 05-03-2014, 20:35   #2
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

Have you checked Noonsite?

Russia — Noonsite

Saint-Petersburg Central (River) Yacht Club — Noonsite
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:42   #3
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

It took us 22 days to get from CT to Ireland in a crewed Ohlson 38, flying the spinnaker when we could. You'll probably be quicker in a bigger catamaran, but might still be happy to land in Ireland to resupply after a week or two at sea. You should be able to get well into the Baltic in the same season. A problem I hear about in Europe is the different valves needed to refill propane tanks. (We had an alcohol stove, which presented other problems... we ended up eating in local restaurants a lot.)
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Old 07-03-2014, 18:32   #4
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

When we came St Petersburg, Russia to St Petersburg, Florida, we came via the Kiel Canal to save miles, going from the Baltic to the Ocean. But we were on a tanker.

But you might check out that route, depending on your sailing style and epending on conditions, it might be appealing when you get there.
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Old 07-03-2014, 18:37   #5
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

I suggest up near the front of a 747 is the best way to get to see the Bolshoi. Summer from Ireland onwards north east, can be a wet cold and fairly miserable experience.

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Old 07-03-2014, 18:38   #6
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

Oops! Correction. I was on a break bulk freighter.

The German pilot and helmsman were the most polite and professional seamen I ever encountered. The land sides of the canal are like something out of a story book, all neat and trimmed.
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Old 15-01-2016, 20:36   #7
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

We are looking to sail from Lake Erie to Saint Petersburg in 2019. Buying the boat now. The owner wants to follow the route of John Adams as he sailed to be the ambassador to Russia. I think it took 40 days from Boston.
His Route
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...o.kSH6srq7Thzs
His Diary
John Quincy Adams diary 23, 1 January 1795 - 12 May 1801, 5 August 1809 - 30 April 1836, page 218
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Old 15-01-2016, 20:39   #8
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

Taken from John Quincy Adams Diary:

Aug
5 Saturday. Diary. Vol: 3. begins: Sailed in Ship Horace, Benjamin Beckford. from Charlestown to St. Petersburg
Other entries for this date:

Sept
15 Land. at 4. A.M. Rona-Island, Scotland. Lat: 58-25. Long: 6-15. Orkney's- Heavy gale of wind. Up all Night. Aratus-

20 Went to Christiansand Norway- dined at Mr Isaachson's. many Captains and Supercargoes of captured American Vessels.

28 Elseneur. [Elsinore.] Fair day, after a furious Night- Went on Shore. to Cronburg Castle. Returned to the Ship at Night.

30 Copenhagen. with W. S. Smith. Travelled with a Danish Student.- English Hotel. Saw Mr. Adgate.

Oct
1 Sunday- Americans and Saabye. At Bernstorf's seat. Not at home. Many Soldiers. We returned to Elseneur- [Elsinore.]

5 Sailed from Elseneur- [Elsinore.] Passed by Hveen Island and Copenhagen, over the Grounds. Saw Falsterbo Light-

6 Moen Island astern. Wind not fair. Saw Rügen Island at Noon, and Bornholm at Night. Confined with bruised leg-

7 Wind A-head- Beating between Bornholm and Christiansoe. Fair Morn. Squally Eve. Read Voltaire's Peter-

20 Fair wind and foul weather. Spoke a Lugger. Saw and passed Odersholm, Ragerwick and Revel Lights-

21 Passed the Revelstein, and Kokskar Light- Hogland Island: Somerö Light; and made that of S˙skar-

23 St. Petersburg. came in a Government Boat. Visit to Mr. Harris our Consul- Lodge at the Hotel de Londres-
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Old 19-01-2016, 16:54   #9
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

I used to teach at the University of Latvia, in Riga, and I speak Russian fluently, though not like a native speaker. I've been to Russia many times. I would not sail into Russian territorial waters, especially if it were my own boat. Too much risk and hassle, unless one has diplomatic immunity as Adams did. I suggest you consider sailing to Tallinn (Helsinki would be a more expensive alternative) and then going by train or bus or car to Peter.
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Old 19-01-2016, 19:24   #10
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

The owner is a Russian History professor and travels to Saint Petersburgh frequently. I am sure this will come up as we get closer to leaving. Thank you for the excellent advice. I will pass it one and post what he says. He after putting the boat up in a yard for the winter, he wants to sail the lakes.
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Old 19-01-2016, 20:06   #11
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

not to be too pedantic, but Bolshoi performs about as frequently in St Petersburg as it does in NYC (Mariinsky is from "Piter"; and Bolshoi, from Moscow).

in any case, i will echo the earlier suggestions that visiting Russia should probably be separate from sailing. the clearing and the customs and the amount of certifications and local paperwork you'd have to do would (probably) shatter your romantic view of the place - which would be a shame.

i'd also argue that wherever you go, it's better to be doing things that the locals do in those places (when in Rome, you know). recreational sailing in St Pete is rare, and cruising (in the sense "i own my boat and go wherever i like") is practically nonexistent. finding facilities and what not would be too much trouble to make it worth it. (and your nearest Westmarine may well be in Norway or Sweden, since you asked about chandleries). also, Neva is a river (with heavy traffic), so making way under sail may not be possible (i don't remember seeing sailboats there). the Gulf of Finland is a different story, but you want the ballet, right?

of course, seeing the city from the water (canals, Fontanka, Neva, etc) is great, but first you need permissions/certifications to operate your vessel; and second - sometimes you have to sit down on one of those little tour boats when passing under bridges, they are so low - and canals are narrow; and it's so so so busy. very little water out there is suitable for a sailboat (even if you were to take the mast down). take a tour, it's worth it - but not your own boat.

there might be local chartering in Russia and i would look into that first; if it turns out sounding too complicated - that's the answer to your question.

i'd say - you should still see it, but not by (sailing your own) boat.
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Old 19-01-2016, 21:22   #12
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

I agree with everything Anton wrote just above.
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Old 19-01-2016, 23:44   #13
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

I think Dockhead has been to St P with his boat? It will probably be a hassle and requires pre-planning and pre-arrival arrangements, but should not be that difficult.

If you plan to stop in Finland on the way (and you should IMO), then in addition to Helsinki I would suggest going through the archipelago of Turku. There's endless anchoring opportunities and a lot of small village marinas.

Oh, and the weather: generally from July onward its pretty warm and sunny here. In June you have more risk of rain, fog and cold. Then again, it just may be gorgeous . The long days (effectively 24h around midsummer) are a big plus.
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Old 20-01-2016, 12:43   #14
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

The professor is being funded by the Russian government to write about Russia. I wonder how this will play into the permissions. If there is any doubt we certainly will not enter Russian waters. Thank you for an excellent group.
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Old 20-01-2016, 13:36   #15
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Re: USA to Saint Petersburg, Russia

Govmint or no govmint - where is the professor going to dock on the Neva river?

Sailing in Russia, sadly, is still perceived as unattainable luxury, and by coming in by your own boat you're basically broadcasting an f.u message. Is that really the intention?


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