From Kharkov to the Mediterranean Sea: an interview with the captain of the sailboat Valery Ovsyannikov
Probably the only case when a sailing sailboat from Kharkov was taken by land to Kherson and then from there they reached the Mediterranean, in addition, this is the only Kharkov sailboat that sails to the sea (correct if I'm wrong).
Text taken from https://mykharkov.info/ Interviewed by Tatyana Leonova
In 2013, the sailboat "Neptune" went around the Crimea. In 2015, the sailboat reached the coast of Turkey and further through the Bosphorus to the Sea of Marmara. And in 2018, a large-scale trip is planned: the Black Sea, the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles, the Mediterranean Sea, Gibraltar and, finally, the ocean.
As the captain of the sailboat "Neptune" and our main character Valery Ovsyannikov explained, when you sail, you depend on the favor of nature. It is not known whether you can arrive at the end point in a certain time. Therefore, the Mediterranean Sea for a 7-meter baby is a kind of record.
Valery Ovsyannikov, captain of the sailboat "Neptune". Photo by Stanislav Stelmachenko
Valery Ovsyannikov bought a sailboat at the age of 50. On a month and a half journey to the shores of Turkey, he took the 75-year-old captain Christopher. It's so inspiring! After such examples, it’s a shame to even think that you missed time for something.
- "Neptune" - was the name of the sailboat originally or did you call it that?
“That's her birth name, which she got at the shipyard. I did not rack my brains and come up with something new.
- Did you break a bottle of champagne on the side when you lowered it into the water here?
- They didn’t break it, but poured champagne on it.
- So all these traditions are observed?
- Certainly. And even if we sometimes drink something alcoholic on board, we will definitely pour a couple of drops overboard to the god of the seas.
Is the god of the seas Neptune?
- When does the season on Stary Saltov end here?
- Officially begins on May 1 and ends, in my opinion, on October 31. But usually we raise the boats at the end of September, beginning of October, depending on the weather.
Cruiser sailboats on the left, Optimist children's sailboats on the right. Photo by Stanislav Stelmachenko
How did you get into sailing in the first place?
- By and large, this is not sailing, it's more like a passion for sailing. I did not go on sports sailboats. Went only on cruising sailboats. As he came, he walked for a long time. I got it in 1975. Well, then it was quite a long road.
- And then instead of a car you bought a sailboat.
- Not. Not certainly in that way. I built it first. My first sailboat was homemade, only 3 meters long, such a small soap box. Which went under sails, and went on a motor, and was rowing, and I caught fish from it. And then there was already a little more - Polish cormoran. He was a good feeder, he walked well. I don't know where it's gone now, it's with the new owner. Didn't see him again. It was a good boat. Well, and then he became the owner of Neptune.
- How much do you have?
- 8 years.
- And before that she lived in Kharkov?
- Not. Before that, she was in Germany.
- That is, in their homeland, it was also released in Germany.
- She's German. I went to the Baltic, went to the North Sea, to Norway. A boat with history, which will have its 50th anniversary in a year.
- What is its length?
- 7.25 meters.
- You said that you went to sea on it.
- In 2013, they went on it around the Crimea along the Black Sea. In 2015 we went to Turkey, the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus passed.
- That is, on such a small sailboat you could spend several days at sea?
- In total, we lived on a sailboat for 1.5 months together with a partner named Christopher.
— Aah! On the way here, to Stary Saltov, I read on the website of the Sailing Federation an essay about a trip across the Atlantic by Kharkiv sailboatsmen. One of them was named Christopher. It got me completely excited! And I immediately received accusations of naivety. Because it does not happen that the captain with the real name Christopher. More precisely, it was so, but in the 15th century and in another country.
Is Christopher a nickname?
- No, it's a name. His middle name is Isakovich, but nonetheless. Moreover, this is one of our oldest sailboat captains. When we went to Turkey with him in 2015, we had interesting age figures of 57 and 75. At the same time, Christopher is a very mobile person who should be paid tribute to. An interesting personality of Kharkov sailboating.
During the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Kharkov regatta. On board the boat "It's not evening yet" including Christopher Pruger. Photo by Eleonora Breslavets
- Isn't it extreme, on such a small sailboat to go far and for a long time from the coast?
- For the sake of this, the text was written!
- In principle, everything is for this, this time. And secondly, the logic here is very simple. Many say: "Well, not enough, we should have more." And I say that if you wait until there is more, life will not be enough. You have to go with what you have. The boat is quite seaworthy.
– I would also like to talk a little about this trip that you and Christopher made to the shores of Turkey and the Sea of Marmara. It lasted a month and a half, and it was a real adventure!
To some extent, this is an adventure. I can say for sure that no one has taken a sailboat out of Kharkov over the past 5 years. And hardly anyone went on his Kharkov sailboat somewhere in the sea. It's almost 100% I'm sure. So, of course, our guys go a lot, and they go to the ocean.
- On sailboats rented locally?
- Yes, they just charter a boat and go on it. It's just a very big difference in money: take it on a charter or on your own boat. Trouble, of course, more with his own.
- And here is its advantage, a small 7-meter boat. It can be transported.
- Yes, this is a great advantage that you can carry it behind your car, without relative problems. Not quickly, of course. The road takes almost a day to Kherson.
"Neptune" during a trip to the Turkish shores
— Do you need any additional documents to prepare the trip? A sea passport or something like that?
“At least no one asked us to. And I can say in fairness that both times, for both campaigns, both in Kherson and in Ochakovo, no one put a spoke in the wheels. Everything was done loyally, really, there were no problems.
— And how is it arranged? Do I need to report somewhere that you will go along such and such a route?
- We have special services, ports of departure, so-called. The withdrawal is processed by Kherson, Ochakov, Nikolaev and Odessa. But the most loyal, objective approach is in Ochakovo, since it is the smallest. You come to the customs berth, moor closely, the border service comes, the customs service arrives. Everything is as it should be, a border guard with a dog, sniffing and inspecting in full. And then they do the paperwork. In principle, nothing so terrible. Need, of course, some kind of paperwork. The same sailboat seal is on board, it is up towife to be. Because stamps need to be put in documents. Everything is solvable. In general, exactly the same as for large ships.
— What about the complicated process of designing a sailboat? You bought it and brought it from Germany.
- Today it is very difficult, expensive and long. This is done through Kyiv within three months and is quite expensive. Moreover, ship documents have an expiration date. They must be renewed every 5 years.
- And also through Kyiv?
- Only through Kyiv. Many, including me, have run out of ship tickets. It needs to be restarted. We are all waiting, maybe they will adopt loyal laws on this matter.
— And why such a period was made short for ship documents?
- It's so convenient to collect money every 5 years. The average cost per sailboat is 5000-6000 UAH. Not so little.
Yachts in Stary Saltov. Photo by Stanislav Stelmachenko
Is your own sailboat an expensive hobby or is it still a business, an opportunity to earn money?
It's most likely a hobby. And again, well, how expensive, it's all relative.
Here are sailboats worth $100,000. But on such sailboats, walking along a reservoir with depths of 3.5 meters and 30 km in length also seems ridiculous. They will never go to the sea, no one will take them, that's 100%. For example, I do not quite understand this. But people can afford such a prestigious ship. It’s just not quite sailboating, it’s completely different.
The rest go with what they have. There is a man who walks on a small self-construction site from May to October to Khotomli and back. He goes every year with his wife. They like it.
So about whether this pleasure is expensive - not so expensive.
- But pleasure!
“But pleasure. And there are people who are really into this. It is really a good rest, interesting rest, useful.
The sailboat "Kozak Sirko" was made in Stary Saltov on the basis of an old boat. Photo by Stanislav Stelmachenko
- When we first met, you talked about the trip that you are planning next year at sea. Have you found like-minded people?
- Yes. Found! Even more than that, like-minded. As I wanted. And this, I think, is the right person. And maybe, and wants, and even knows how to do something. Everything turned out the way I did not even expect, but if you want something, it comes.
What route are you planning?
- We plan to leave Kherson and reach Madera, to the Canary Islands. Pass the Black Sea, pass the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles, the Mediterranean Sea, Gibraltar and go out into the ocean. But this program is the maximum. In terms of time, we are planning for three months. How it will turn out is hard to guess. Basically, everything rests partly on the means, as always. I don't think it will be a very, very expensive trip. I think that it will be possible to optimize it somehow.
- Will it be some kind of record for Kharkov?
- I do not know. I just do not put such a goal. This is a hike for yourself. If it's good for the city, good. This is my hometown, my favorite city.
— During such a trip there will be time to write travel notes. Or, as it should be, a logbook?
- The captain is obliged to keep the logbook in any way. Travel notes are interesting. But again, if it will be interesting to someone else besides me.
- Of course, it's interesting! The sailboat that will reach the ocean from Old Saltov is a sensation.
“Let's hope it does.”
- Are there any characteristics for this sailboat, how many points can it withstand in a storm?
“You can’t turn off the storm or disappear from the storm if the wind strength has increased. She will only last as long as she needs to. On land, you can just stop and wait. And how much will be in the sea - so much will be, and you can’t get anywhere, you can’t immediately moor to the shore. In principle, this boat is very seaworthy, very reliable. Any ships sink. Even the Titanic sank unsinkable. But let's hope it doesn't happen to us.
One cannot be sure in advance what will happen at sea. The sea is unpredictable.
The sea is very interesting. Other criteria for evaluating time and opportunities. For example, in the sea it is impossible to determine that we will arrive at this point by this time. If you set yourself up to come by a certain date, it may just go crazy.
- This is probably possible on motor sailboats. And on sailing, the process itself is important.
- Of course, here you are more dependent on nature, on the environment, and not on yourself.
- And this is the main charm of sailboats - a connection with nature, with the elements of wind and water.
- And again, it follows from this that a person has a completely different attitude to his time. We are accustomed to all the time in the tightness of this temporary life. And on a sailboat it is impossible in a different way, you live the way nature allows. There is a unity with the time of nature. As far as nature has allowed, so much is the movement of you and your home.
There are a lot of interesting, unusual sensations. Which is probably hard to understand. I am now trying to write about them. For example, when I brought a boat from a hike, it was at my house. I looked and understood that this structure, which carried you 1000 miles, protected you, gave you shelter, a bed, the opportunity to eat and live relatively normally, and most importantly, it moved you and protected you from bad weather. Treat like a living being. This is something mystical.
- Like a horse.
— The horse, probably not even so. And then there's the house you live in. In general, an interesting feeling, incomprehensible to the end. For some reason, you don’t treat cars, even car trailers like that. I had a trailer.
Probably, the marine, aquatic environment, which is unusual for us, evokes such feelings. Still, it's a danger. When you go through the depths of 2 km in the Black Sea, you feel awe.
- At first, there was a desire to move comfortably, to travel. So there was a trailer, a house on wheels. And then it already led to the purchase of a sailboat.
- I thought for a long time whether I need a sailboat. Will it not turn out that I will buy it, get into it, and then I will not be interested. And now it turns out that on the contrary - it was necessary earlier.
Yachts in Stary Saltov. Photo by Stanislav Stelmachenko
- Are all the sailboat owners who are based here on the reservoir in the Sailing Federation?
- Sailing Federation in the Kharkiv region is mainly engaged in sports competitions. Although it also holds regattas and cruising sailboats. It is possible to be a member of the Federation or not to be with a cruising sailboat, at the personal discretion of the owner. I am a member of the Federation of the Kharkiv region, due to the fact that I think that this is right. But as such, I don’t consider myself an athlete. These are more cruising-tourist trips than sports trips. Although I participate in sailboating competitions from time to time.
- This is not a sport for you, because you throw all these ropes with such ease. But if you try - it's not enough just out of habit.
- It's out of habit. In principle, there is nothing particularly difficult and terrible.
I will not discover America, sailboating is very diverse in terms of loads and various activities. Starting from the fact that without a head, without brains it is unrealistic, and secondly, you need hands, you need some kind of physical training. And plus the sailboat always requires some work. Now, if you have a house that needs to be serviced, then just like a sailboat. This is the same house, only on the water. A sailboat is always varied and interesting. I don't think there is a better job. I don't know what else to do.
“And I don't know.
You see, we have the same opinion. It seems that sports, and physical activity, and recreation, and travel are all in one.