Within a few days the frigate Shtandart, whose crew returned from the expedition “Flame of Chesma. Greek gambit “, was opened to guests in the port of Rafina.
The historic ship looked very impressive against the background of modern liners. With delight and interest, the visitors climbed aboard, took pictures, communicated, and got acquainted with the information. “Dreams are beautifully embodied” is the motto of the ship and its captain Vladimir Martus: a unique person who built a unique ship and never stopped dreaming.
The expedition to the Cyclades Islands became a significant event in the cross-year history of the two countries – Russia and Greece. Vladimir Martus spoke about the main points of the voyage, his impressions and work results:
– We were received excellently everywhere, and I got the feeling that we are almost guests of the Greek government. It is difficult to imagine more hospitality than what has been given to us at the moment. On Paros, where the Russian fleet was based, the mayor greeted us at the pier, and almost all the inhabitants of the island came to visit us. The expedition team also went well – they took diving equipment, worked and found what they were looking for – the remains of sunken ships. On the last day of our stay, we went to the place in the bay where our fleet was anchored. Underwater filming was supplemented by drone filming.
I can say one thing about the transition to Chios – I have never been in similar weather: the thunderstorm was such that the lightning was not turned off for twenty minutes. On Chios, we also received the warmest welcome. Here we waited out the storm and honored the memory of those killed in the battle by dropping wreaths into the sea.
On Limnos not the first time, but the guys found the sunken sailing ship “Svyatoslav”. They made a video recording, since there was no permission for any archaeological work. Now we know exactly where it is, and what is on it. The next step – at the government level, you need to ask permission from the Greek side to raise one or two guns in order to finally make sure whether this is really “Svyatoslav”. Although there are no other options. Underwater filming was carried out. Two films are being prepared – in Russian and Greek. The point of the expedition was to highlight the historical ties between Russia and Greece. We returned from the islands with a favorable wind. In my opinion, everything went well and the set goals were achieved. At least Alexei Nikulin, the scientific leader of the expedition, was completely satisfied. He believed that he had done everything and even more than planned.
26 minutes of happiness
The conversation with the captain smoothly left the topic of the expedition, as it was interesting to know first-hand answers to questions concerning the “Standard”. The site of the Project “Shtandart”, which is headed by Vladimir Martus, has a wonderful documentary that captures the moments of the ship’s construction. Who was the person who talentedly filmed and preserved this for history, thanks to which we can feel the energy of time and people who were inspired and united by a common cause?
– The film was shot by Yuri Alexandrov, who worked in the Leningrad newsreel. If anyone else remembers, in Soviet cinemas, screenings of feature films were always preceded by a chronicle. He has been making these films for about thirty years. And this person, on a voluntary basis, came every two to three weeks and filmed episodes of our life on black and white film with a camera with three lenses. All the sailors grumbled – Yuri did not particularly interfere, but sometimes he asked to do something on camera. The result is a good movie. And now I understand that if it were not for him, it would have been impossible at all to tell the real story of the creation of Shtandart. How to convey in words the sensations of launching a ship in the presence of forty thousand people or of the alumni holiday “Scarlet Sails” in 2005, when two million spectators look in admiration at your ship – this is a colossal energy. It is fortunate that there are these 26 minutes.
Thousand pounds and all the king’s men
The first money for the construction of “Shtandart” came from the sale to Europe of the schooner “Saint Peter”, built in less than a year for Vladimir Martus at the Petrozavodsk shipyard “Varyag” and launched in 1991. Future team members also participated in the construction, gaining experience. By the way, “St. Peter” has a filmography: the schooner appeared in all three parts of the film “Pirates of the Caribbean”. How was the construction of the Shtandart financed further?
– Before “Shtandart” I had the schooner “Saint Peter”. When we walked around the world, we got into a storm, and the man who helped me, an Englishman, left his job in England, came to St. Petersburg and helped me look for sponsors. It turned out so fortunately for us that when we began to build “Standart”, the British Consul General was replaced. We went to see him and became friends, found understanding and support. In addition, the 300th anniversary of the Great Embassy of Peter the Great to Europe was celebrated, and when we had a ready-made skeleton of the ship, all the delegations that visited St. Petersburg in connection with this event began to bring to us. They were shown the Hermitage, the Russian Museum and “Standard” as something connecting our countries.
I had the entire Dutch government on board, the entire Dutch royal family, the entire English royal family, and so on. And one Englishman read in the newspaper that such a ship was being built, and he himself called with a proposal to participate in the financing, and for two years we received from him a thousand pounds a month. As a businessman, Rodrik Kay understood that we needed stability. With his support, we started planning work. It was important – albeit a little money, but on a regular basis. And during these two years we were able to move forward in construction. In the end, the embassy, and other companies, foundations, and individuals have already helped us. But it was the Dolphin Exhibition that helped us in the most difficult times.
There are no analogues to “Standart”. There are several sailing frigates from the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries in Australia and America. But with such an educational and patriotic component – a philosophy of life, if you will – he is alone. Here they teach by example how to be real in life. How to really work, overcome difficulties, build and value relationships, be proud of the flag and country. Love the sea. And don’t be afraid to dream.
– The Great Embassy of Peter I played a role in our business. In fact, what we are doing is the same embassy. And “Standart” can be viewed as a kind of bridge from the glorious times of Peter I to our time. The main task of “Shtandart” remains unchanged – to be a training ship, to educate the young generation through the introduction to sailing, the romance of sea voyages and distant countries, forming faith in oneself, in oneself, in people and the world around us. We recruited young guys, brought them to Europe and showed how it happens. Moreover, they showed it in such a way that they liked it, and they became interested – this is the right attitude to nature and ecology, this is the right way to build relationships between people. Returning home, they already looked at what was happening here from the positions of a different level and knowledge. This can be called a mission. And we are still continuing. Only the mission has expanded: people of different nations and nationalities on board are already commonplace.
Only the captain is in command
Captain Vladimir Martus is a professional with vast experience. What is the most difficult thing for him in every sea trip? It turned out that you also have to be a good psychologist. There are always new people on board, with the exception of the permanent crew. And they behave differently. But only the captain is in command here.
– It is always difficult to establish discipline. Adults come, many of them are leaders who are used to giving orders and are beginning to behave the same way here. I need to build a relationship so as not to offend them and at the same time indicate that there is a special discipline on the ship that must be strictly followed. This is a difficult job for the captain, everything else is a pleasure. If it were otherwise, I would not have been doing this for so many years.
And more importantly – I prefer to trust people. Let there be a one percent chance that something negative can happen. But on the other hand, with other 99 people out of 100, I will speak as with good people, and they will answer me in kind. Then you get a healthy relationship. The absence of silly suspicion gets rid of everything.
If the sea is calling
Anyone can go on a sea voyage and prove themselves on a real historical sailing ship, for some time become a member of the “Standart” team, and a beginner from the first day can already be at the helm. How to get on the ship, and what does the route depend on?
“It takes time and desire to get on the ship. Here we try to set tasks for a person according to his strength. We have interns that we take for a week, and it’s easy. And there is a permanent crew, which is very difficult to get to. First you have to be a trainee for your own money; then a volunteer, so that the crew understands what you can do and how well you know the ship, and only then the question may arise – will you join the main crew. For this you need to try very hard. As for the route – the ship must earn money, otherwise we will go broke and will not be able to repair it. Therefore, the financial component of the route is important for me. If there are festivals and the contract is paid, I go there. If this is not the case, I go with the trainees where they are interested. If not, I go to a place where we can invite the public to the ship, and people will visit it like a museum.
“Cutty Sark”. Don’t miss the chance
When behind more than twenty years under the sails of “Shtandart” and it is easier to say where you have not been (and there are not many of these places left), how does Captain Vladimir Martus feel and what is his dream?
– I feel that I have already “sat too long.” Twenty-two years on one ship is a little long. There must be movement. Development. Height. I have at least three assistants with whom I can leave the ship if necessary. There is a great experience of sailing, organization of work and maintenance of a historical sailing ship, there is knowledge and skills. And there is a desire to build a new ship – an exact copy of the tea clipper “Cutty Sark”, the most famous sailing ship in the world, to show that by the wind power, it is environmentally friendly, you can carry cargo. And, continuing the traditions of “Shtandart”, it will be a school under sail: both romance lovers and future professional sailors will be able to go to sea.
If the British had not voted for Brexit, then I would probably have already built it. Funding idea – English charitable donations and European money. But a month before the start of the advertising campaign, England and Europe went their separate ways. Plus another pandemic. But if there is a desire, there is always a way. We are waiting for the chance, the main thing is not to miss it.
Photo by the author.