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Sailing to Russia – a look at the hidden

Due to a recently introduced new law, foreign boaters may freely approach the inland waters of Russia with only a check in at Vyborg or Kronstadt needed. This makes it easier to plan your holiday in new areas and opens up the unknown nature of the almost untouched route between Vyborg and St Petersburg.

I participated this summer in the convoy of four sailing and four motor boats from Klamila (near Kotka) all the way to St Petersburg via those small harbours. There was a short stop at Santio Customs with straight forward paperwork.

On the way to Sovetsky

Sailing to Vyborg is relatively easy navigation on a well marked route. 50 miles later some queueing at the Customs but after that nobody asked us anything during the whole trip before checking out in Kronstadt a week later.

Vyborg is a beautiful city with an old castle and interesting history. It has three “not-so-developed-yet” guest harbours but the other locations – Johannes (Sovetsky), Seivästö (Dupkovaja Bay) and Terijoki (Zelenogorsk) – as well as St.Petersburg surprised us with new piers, modern floating petrol stations, electricity etc. Looks like they are really preparing for boat tourists in the near future.

The view from Vyborg castle

After visiting all the small guest harbours four TV channels/reporters were waiting for us in St. Petersburg. Interviews and statements were given and in the meeting with local authorities they were interested in our experiences as well as the needs of the recreational boaters. We also heard about their plans to develop the tourism and the facilities in the future.

Today one needs to return to Finland along the long leg of Kronstadt to Haapasaari (80 nautical miles) but we are working with the local authorities to make it possible to open a few new safe places between St. Petersburg and Narva (Estonia) to make it possible to sail a “round trip” along the coast. Thus there would not be a need to sail very long in the open sea.

Dupkovaja harbour

An EU project “30MILES” was just started and it concentrates in developing 14 guest harbours in Finland and Estonia to make the future round trip safer. As mentioned there is a wish to include the eastern area to the same development process.

More info and help for planning is available from me or the convoy leader, Veijo Parviainen.

Harri Sane
Sailor by heart, authorised sailing instructor
Board member and President of Boating Committee in Sailing and Boating Federation of Finland
ex Commodore of Espoo Yachting Club

Convoy leader:
Veijo Parviainen
Kotka Sailing School

Photographs: Harri Sane
Article by: Harri Sane