Whom should you be to risk a journey round the worldBack to list
NovosibirskGuide.com's Magazine continues to publish stories in partnership with Sib.fm. This time interview with outstanding Russian traveler, trailbreaker and builder of his own boats Anatoly Kulik. He with the team of reckless Siberians left for a final stage of the round world expedition which was started 5 years ago. Sib.fm has met well-known captain a day before his flight to Brazil, where the voyage starts, and learnt how to repair a whoop on a sailing ship, to bake cakes in the sea and how to put feet on a table.
- Anatoly Pavlovich, is it possible to affirm that you are a sailor according to your mode of life, profession and etceteras?
Nothing of the kind. Neither according to profession nor mode of life, not at all.
- How many years in the sea?
And how many years am I in the sea?
- Well, you are a sailor, don’t you deny it?
- A traveler?
In some sort, but non plus ultra. In time free of work. I am an urbanite, raise a family, do the business, construct air ships, which I can put into my car and go somewhere to Baikal.
- So, firstly you are a draftsman?
Yes. And today my boats lead in patent capacity and in other variables. Though I have to say that they are not much in requisition, they are in little demand. People don’t want to travel by themselves, they want to be guided. That is why this marketing area is very small and the number of all home catamaran ships is 1% of all the world production. Nevertheless, those who tried it once will never give it up.
- But you have tried not at one stroke.
Yes, I’ve dreamed about sailing for a long time, but I began sailing only in 1980. I have come to Moscow regatta for this purpose, I have seen sailing ships and boats, asked to visit a simple for today catamaran ship, walked it. At that point in time I have already been master of sport of water activities, had been drifting for a long time, but only then I’ve felt extra drive. I’ve comprehended it was what I really needed. Than I was drifting in Himalayas, somewhere else, but finally I gave up, everything was ended.
- In other words the matter is settled?
Constructing boats became more interesting for me, with my hands and for me. Now I cash on it.
- Was the first feeling of drive connected to you with extreme?
Yes and no. Frankly speaking, I don’t know. Now the word “extreme” is used by everybody in any situation. Soon traversing street people will say: “well, we are so extremals. In this case I seem to be a superextremal.
On the other side, I am just a professional who knows his stuff and think several moves ahead. That is why I don’t like adventures, which are nothing but result of faulty raining.
- Perfectly. Kulik is not a sailor and doesn’t like adventures.
I hate this. But what is adventure according to us? Well we went fishing with tent, and it doesn’t hold water, everything is wet, no place to sleep, no campfire because wood are wet to, matches are over; drunk a lot out of despair and returned happy. It is us who knows what real extreme and adventures are. And I can make a fire under a shower in 60 seconds and tie a knot in any condition. So I don’t have such problems. This is not extreme, but normal conditions.
- And well from what do you get drive?
From nature, when you have hold on the environment. This pretty feeling when you can preview what may happen, when I do something and know what will be later. One day we were crossing the Indian ocean. It was in the night, my shift, the whoop is thrown, breaks, sail is in splinters. I continue to sit calmly. Rudder is broken in a minute. Wave height is about 8 meters, wind id blowing cruelly (about 40 knots – trees would fly away in a city). My team asks me: - what’s there? – Whoop is broken. – What shall we do now? – Nothing, I’ll finish smoking and go to bed.
Not at all. Well, why should I be afraid. I know the construction of the boat perfectly, understand how it concentrates. Repaired it just a little bit, gave a twiddle, put something down and that’s all. Well I won’t run around shouting for help. If it’s your shift you should do everything by yourself.
- What happened in the morning?
We woke up, I’ve baked cookies, we have had a breakfast and started to think about how repair the whoop. Immobilized it. For repairing we needed grinder or arm-saw. In more simple variant, when you need to conjoin tubes you just take some woods and coupe them with rubber. Everything including rudder was in reserve. That’s why we’ve repaired everything in half an hour. So what? You think it was adventure? Well, maybe for somebody it would be adventure. But as for me, the most important is to get up at 5, see all this beauty and make coffee at an easy pace.
- Anyhow is some super-task in your travels?
I am a constructor of boats, propagandist of this kind of tourism and of the way of world perception at all. My super-task is – to send a message how it is interesting and, what’s more important, possible. That the only thing is a desire. I wanted and I did it – constructed the biggest catamaran in the world, nobody has not yet done this. It may be written in Guinnes Book of World Records some day.
- And why hasn’t anybody except you constructed such a big catamaran? You said we have a tight market, but now it seems to be that we are the first in this industry.
Just because nobody needs big ships. It is a story about legends of Elusive Joe.
- They say, you hate sport and its proper competitiveness. Isn’t it because in sport you have to compete with ordinary people and not with nature, worse fate, god or devil? What is more cool, of course.
Not exactly. Well I’m an organizer of competitions “Obskoe more”, this year the 26th regatta took place. So, I never won it. However it doesn’t show that I don’t like competitiveness. But torturing yourself for aim which is marked by someone is a delirium. Skiing somewhere, overcoming a heartache, just to improve someone’s result in centiseconds. I don’t need it, it’s not interesting for me. Specially, in elite sport where I sorrow for everybody.
- These people overcome themselves like you in the ocean, don’t they?
No. I don’t understand this formula at all. Lots of people drifting in the rivers, climbing, jumping with a parachute – and what for? “We overcome ourselves” – they answer. But what for do you overcome yourself, be at home. As for me, I’m not going to overcome myself. I like me at all, if I don’t like something in me I’m trying to change it. You shouldn’t set high standards for yourself. There are people who may take a machine gun and pick off everybody. And what if I can’t and don’t want to do this, it means that I’m no earthly good for anything?
- So you don’t even try to prove anything to yourself?
Well, what for? That’s just another atmosphere. For a regatta me and guys we drink about three pipes of vine and have fun.
- And do you take alcohol in expeditions? You have a strict division of duties within the team, everybody has his own sector of responsibility. Is the variant that anybody gets drunk in the evening real?
I’ve never forbidden drinking alcohol, but there, you know, it is impossible to drink. Moreover, we couldn’t understand anything. We are Russian men, we always snatch an opportunity. We take vodka, beer and rum. Well no: ashore – until hell freezes over, aboard – not feel like. As the result we wet butter muslin with vodka and sponge down, sterilize. In our first travel we couldn’t drank half a liter of vodka for five persons in the evening, nothing to speak off.
- Shame of course
Exactly. On the next day we celebrated a new year’s day with some non-alcohol champagne. We didn’t want anything. Only could drink rum under penalty of death.
How do you distress? You are in cul-de-sac for months like under hatches.
You rest alone. Almost every day you need to be alone, to write something. Everybody in our team has a diary. Of course in the end of travel eve person annoys you. You think you won’t go nowhere with these people, but in 3 months you realize that you can go only with them. Moreover, we have been traveling many times together, so it’s easier for last few years. Now I have to try a lot to have a row with somebody. In the sea you become to realize some truth about the world and then see everything in different way.
- Friendship is one thing, but you are a captain, head of the boat. Were there moments when you had to bang the table with the fist, insist on strict execution of your decision?
Everybody understands who is the leader and put name to it ashore. There is no such a concept “group decision” in the sea, only one person decides everything, the rule set in stone: don’t trust captain don’t go with him. Life is just like this in the sea: when two people sail, everybody will die. I remember, one day we were sailing near Saint Helena, two of the team didn’t want to go on it, wanted to the Guinnes Book of the World Records. But I don’t care about these records. Our gondolas were beaten by sharks we needed to do something with it. Everything worked out but if we couldn’t patch the holes, we would certainly land. It is important to be sure that a person won’t betray you. For example, I don’t know how you will behave aboard even if you are a good guy.
- I’m a good guy
Well I’ve just remember one mad lady, she was someone’s friend, took her for a company to travel. Well she gone mad and jumped by the board. Then we was speaking she said she didn’t remember anything. Later we didn’t take her nowhere.
- Have you ever told to yourself, that it is your last travel? That’s all, enough.
No. I remember a moment when you rested with one guy in the Indian Ocean in storm. The wind groans, waves are giant, plankton is lightening – everything is burning like in hell. Sinister phantasmagoria. And I’m sitting in tent thinking: what the hell? What for am I doing this? Other worlds exist for me. But I hadn’t the question about sailing or not next time. Of course, will go sailing. I’ve just simmered down.
- Is the earring also a serious thing or you wear it just for fun?
It was invented by the English queen Elizabeth. In XVIII century navigation became of commercial character. Each carvel went to the round world travel. Doubling Zambia and Africa, went to India, then to Australia, from there to Cape Horn, there crossed the Atlantic and came back. And everybody knew that crew was going on three years and only one of three at best would come back. They said that the hell would seem to be a resort as against those travels. And also endless wars again and again. In short there were almost no sailor left, nobody wanted to serve there. And the queen issued a very wise decree: after crossing the Cape of Good Hope in Africa each sailor had a right to wear the earring in left ear, after the Cape Horn – in right ear. In every port a sailor could put feet on table and demand as much alcohol as he liked by means of the nation. And what is most important – he could not remove his hat in the Queen’s presence. Of course, everybody understood that her presence is a very rare opportunity, but the fact pleased very much. It became a good stimulus. Since those times all who doubled the Cape of Good, wear the earring. And not because the order applies to everybody (by the way, the order is not canceled), but because it’s just the distinction. Our respects to the English Queen. So I wear it, convey greetings.
See original article on sib.fm (in Russia).
Photos by Roman Brygin and Evgeniy Tashkin.
Translation by Monoton Translation Agency.