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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Teaching the ropes: How Pavlin Nadvorni wishes to inspire young Bulgarian sailors

by Dave Proctor 18 Mar 07:22 PDT
Pavlin Nadvorni - Global Solo Challenge © Pavlin Nadvorni

If there is one thing that I have learnt in interviewing the entrants of the Global Solo Challenge (GSC), it is that these sailors love and respect the sea.

And no more so, than Bulgarian entrant Pavlin Nadvorni, who fell in love with boats, the sea, and sailing at the age of eight years old.

Since that time, his life has revolved around boats, and he has captained everything from windsurfers to dinghies, to one-tonners, to the Superyachts of the rich and famous. Over 45 years since that time, Pavlin sailed over 200,000 nm.

In 2003, after a number of years travelling the Globe, Pavlin decided to 'settle down' with his wife and daughter (and subsequently his son). He set up home in the beautiful seaside town of Varna on Bulgaria's black sea coast and developed his own boatyard and associated business, Black Sea Yacht Service Ltd.

This business is involved in brokerage, delivery of yachts, charters, repairs and maintenance of all types of boats, and although it employs a number of people, it does seem to me that any jobs that involve putting to sea are often undertaken by Pavlin himself.

Pavlin is also involved in teaching up-and-coming sailors the ropes and has a number of boats in which he teaches them, to take them from novices to fully functioning regatta crew members, in association with the Cor Caroli Sailing Academy.

To this end, a few years ago, Pavlin bought a boat in Wales that was an insurance write-off after it was severely damaged in a storm whilst it was moored in Holyhead. It was a Farr 45, called 'Espresso Martini' that had been raced extensively in New Zealand and the UK.

It was still sailable but had significant damage to the port side, where there was an area of delamination. Pavlin knew that it would be uneconomical to repair her in the UK, so after a period of negotiation was able to buy this boat, knowing that he could repair her in his own yard.

Incredibly, Pavlin and his crew sailed her back to Bulgaria, whilst the port side was actually flexing, unsupported, rendering the berth on that side of the boat unusable.

It was during this journey, and with the boat in this condition, that Pavlin and his crew encountered a Mediterranean storm with winds up to 60 knots. He reports that he was sure that the kevlar composite used in this boat's fabrication would have held up, and it did (at this time in the interview I tended to agree with Pavlin's wife's opinion that he was a little bit mad).

Espresso Martini was subsequently properly repaired and has been used recently in both training and racing around the Black Sea and the Aegean sea. Indeed Pavlin and his crew beat his own record for crossing the Black Sea (a record he had held for 31 years).

Last year, in 2022, Pavlin was awarded the 'Golden Globe' from Bulgaria's Car Caroli Sailing Foundation (which is a separate entity from the Car Caroli Academy). This is a prestigious Bulgarian award.

The success of his business and the ownership of Espresso Martini meant that Pavlin was well placed to enter the GSC, and regarded this as an opportunity that has not presented itself to many sailors.

It was always a dream of his, to attempt a solo, non-stop circumnavigation and to him, this feat he regards as his own personal Everest.

Whilst Expresso Martini was set up for offshore racing, she was not set up for solo sailing, and indeed, has required some modifications to reach Category 0 requirements, as well.

Pavlin decided to undertake the GSC's 2,000 nautical miles solo qualifying sail at the end of last year.

Initially, Pavlin had wanted to undertake this voyage on the Black Sea, but after seeing the ongoing unrest in the region, he decided to go south through the straits of Dardanelles into the Mediterranean Sea and then back to Varna.

Pavlin set off the day after a large regatta, in which he and his team had competed, and admits that he was not particularly well prepared. He also admits that the sailing was far from ideal as a training exercise for the upcoming GSC, as there was so much shipping in the area at the time, and he was not able to develop any proper sleep and rest regime.

At present, Pavlin and his team are undertaking the required work for Espresso Martini but he has to also complete the routine maintenance and repairs for his commercial customers as well as prepare yachts for the upcoming charter season.

Pavlin anticipates that he will have the boat ready in plenty of time and will then set off with his crew for a leisurely meander up to A Coruña to arrive well before his departure date.

The boat, as I said, is a 45-foot boat designed by the famous Australian/American designer Bruce Farr. The design is a typical Farr design in that it is wide and low at the transom, making it super efficient at surfing large waves. A fact that Pavlin can attest to having ridden quite a few when he was caught in that Mediterranean storm.

One feature of this boat is its' large and indeed sensitive wheel. Pavlin had thought of changing this to a tiller but decided that it is such a feature, that it is great to hang on to in rough seas and it is so good, that he will retain this, though he will have a backup.

I lastly asked Pavlin about his social message. He states that this is something he is still considering but is totally content that his main message is to encourage new, younger Bulgarian sailors into the sport, particularly as he points out that apart from winning a previous edition of the two-star (dual-handed, Atlantic race), Bulgaria has had very little success in sailing.

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