The end of wintering


Now you can feel new scents – the air is sweet with the odors of spring; Shtandart got the wintering done, made the sails and got under way again.

Every winter, volunteers repair and upgrade the ship, preparing it for a new season. The reliability of the ship is very important in our activities. This year Shtandart went to pass the winter in the legendary city of La Rochelle and settled down there since November.

During this time the ship was painted, lifted and weighed (total - 223.1 tons); first we checked all underwater systems and ropes, and then - everything else from top to bottom: tarring the deck, fixing the sails, checking the engine room, replacing the beam, checking and changing the rigging... in short, working in all weather. We also took care of the ship’s figures - we filed the lion's claws and varnished wreaths; also, we refreshed the steering wheel. And then there is a real merman on board! And a new anchor weighing as much as 580 kilograms.

We were in working mode even in the run-up to the New Year’s Eve 2019: painting, varnishing the wood, fixing the sails, handling the wires. In between works, the ship had visitors. One evening, locals were able to watch a movie about Shtandart right on the sails.

Both regular participants from different cities and newcomers came to help. The ship's repair and maintenance work in winter is often carried out in difficult conditions. But all this helps to understand the meaning and value of different true-life things and people around you, to feel like a real part of the team, to get used to the ship and feel at home there. Working in daytime, and getting together in a cozy atmosphere with tea and games or learning naval science in the evening.

“Have you ever got the feeling that your life came in touch with someone else's life by accident for a couple of minutes - and you would never meet again? Here is an astronaut in front of you, and you can touch the person who was in space, and you want so much to feel what he felt there, in his suit. I always looked enviously at the sailors and cadets on the ships, and I wanted to be there for a while, to feel it just for once. And one day, hanging on safety rope and doing routine work on painting the shipside, I accidentally turned my head and saw crowds of people and children on the shore, who were looking at me; I felt like they wanted to ask me something, and I recognized myself in them. And then I realized I was there now, on the other side of that touching of lives.
It was a simple, normal day, which started with a wakeup, breakfast, cleanup, and working on the ship (wood), and ended with a minor (or extreme sometimes) fatigue and talks about life and traveling with other volunteers. No thoughts about the city, apartment, rent, discounts, new clothes… all this husk. You seem to have been living for a long time, but in reality, you have lived this true life that always wanted for only a few days. It was 21 days of a completely different life.” (Egor, a Shtandart volunteer)