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Old 19-07-2020, 00:59   #1
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From Hel to Klaipėda through Russia?

Cheers,

Anyone sailed from Poland to Lithuania through "Russian waters"? Our recently bought chart says it's allowed as long as you stay out of the territorial sea (12 nm from the shore), BUT

- Another sailor we met on the dock said it best to stay out of Russian waters altogether (I assume the whole Russian EEZ) and "not risk it"
- On the way here we heard the Russian border control very actively contacting all vessels heading their way but we couldn't pick up any conversations. Supposedly, they ask everyone to inform them of their intentions.
- One source said to stay at least 20nm away from the shore (Russian continuous zone should stretch out to 24nm but don't see that on the charts.)

So, anyone done this recently? Looking at the rulebooks, it should be a really straightforward passage.
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Old 21-07-2020, 09:16   #2
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Re: From Hel to Klaipėda through Russia?

It went fine

We stayed at least 20 nm off the Russian shore. No VHF calls, no nothing.

Once in Klaipeda (the whole night was quite eventful with short 2m waves, phew) we were summoned to check in with the Lithuanian border control, though. Might be corona related.
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Old 21-07-2020, 09:26   #3
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Re: From Hel to Klaipėda through Russia?

If you get to Riga, let us know.


I have not transitted the Russian waters off Kaliningrad myself, but I have heard a number of bad stories and no good ones. The area has very high military significance, I think the entire area is a military exercise zone, and there are many stories of yachts being chased out of those waters, rights of innocent passage be damned. Same thing with the Russian islands off the Finnish coast. I think the theory is that the high military significance means innocent passage is not possible. I would steer a wide berth myself. From Germany I think I would go to Gotland, and then hop across from there.



It is otherwise if you are following the normal marked channels to St. Petersburg or to Vyborg, with appropriate Russian visas. Russian CG very friendly, as are the customs and passport control people. Vyborg highly recommended; one of the most interesting places we visited in the Baltic.



I think if you were actually sailing to Kaliningrad and possession of Russian visas, that would probably also be fine. Following the recommended route strictly! It's transitting through their military exercise zones which, apparently, makes them crazy.
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Old 21-07-2020, 09:32   #4
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Re: From Hel to Klaipėda through Russia?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
If you get to Riga, let us know.
Will do! We'll probably head straight to Estonia, but thanks!

Quote:
I have not transitted the Russian waters off Kaliningrad myself, but I have heard a number of bad stories and no good ones.
One (1) now!

Quote:
The area has very high military significance, I think the entire area is a military exercise zone, and there are many stories of yachts being chased out of those waters, rights of innocent passage be damned.
Yes. A Polish border guard came to our boat in Hel to see whether we needed to be quarantined, so I asked him about this as well. It gave some confidence that he said it shouldn't be any problem going through it if we just stay well offshore and outside the territorial sea.
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Old 21-07-2020, 09:42   #5
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Re: From Hel to Klaipėda through Russia?

OK, if you need any tips on Estonian islands or harbours, let me know. I've cruised those waters for many years.


A little out of your way if you are entering the Gulf of Riga to head in between the Western Islands, but the island of Ruhnu is especially interesting and worth the detour. One tip.


Riga is also very interesting, extremely interesting, but it adds about 120 miles to a trip through the Western Isles.
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Old 21-07-2020, 10:34   #6
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Re: From Hel to Klaipėda through Russia?

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OK, if you need any tips on Estonian islands or harbours, let me know. I've cruised those waters for many years.


A little out of your way if you are entering the Gulf of Riga to head in between the Western Islands, but the island of Ruhnu is especially interesting and worth the detour. One tip.


Riga is also very interesting, extremely interesting, but it adds about 120 miles to a trip through the Western Isles.
Thank you! We will certainly "google" these.

Hoping for well behaving winds
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Old 21-07-2020, 11:18   #7
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Re: From Hel to Klaipėda through Russia?

Polish yachts sailing along this coast stay 12+ miles off unless they are going to any port therein.


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