A few weeks on from the start of the inaugural ARC Baltic the fleet are now cruising and anchoring in the beautiful Finnish archipelago after a warm and learned stopover in St Petersburg. Leaving Russian territorial waters was a milestone for the event marking entry to the sixth country of the rally in just over three weeks.
St Petersburg for many was a key attraction of the rally leading to high expectations that didn't disappoint. Sailing into Russian territorial waters was extremely controlled and shared alongside large cargo and cruise ships on the approach to Kronstadt Island for clearances. Pre-prepared documentation and the assistance of hired agent Vladimir Ivanikiv resulted in swift clearances.
‘We checked into Russia at Kronstadt helped by Vladimir who did a great job. It was a painless process which only too about 20 minutes including having the boat searched' – Jennie B
The approach to the hosting St Petersburg Central River Yacht Club is well buoyed and surrounded by the impressive high speed hydrofoil ferries either side of the dredged channels. With a variety of restaurants in the marina and good transport links into the city centre which include an efficient metro and trolleybus, provisioning and sightseeing were made easy.
A city tour took the fleet to some of the main attractions of St Petersburg including Peter and Pauls Fortress, the 18 century cruiser Aurora and the museum flat of F.Dostoyevski, author of Crime and Punishment. A special welcome from the administration of the Hermitage thanking the fleet for their entry fee donation that will be used for one of the many restoration projects underway in the Hermitage Museum was a great way for the fleet to give something back for their warm welcome to Russia.
Many of the fleet occupied their evenings by indulging in performances of ballet, opera and Russian folk shows in renowned theatres including the Hermitage Theatre.
'Yesterday we went to see Swan Lake – fantastic' – Tomantia II
A crew dinner was a fitting way to finish their time in Russia before their departure last Sunday marking the fleet’s journey west for the second half of the rally. World Cruising website