The Voyage of yacht Sharlyn: From the end of the Danube to the end of the Volga

This is the ground-breaking story of the first British sailing yacht to enter the Crimea by sailing down the Danube and the Volga since it was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Published 6 years ago, updated 5 years ago

three crew members of the SV Sharlyn seated discussing their route
The crew of the SV Sharlyn

On the 9th July 2018 British Skipper Graham Kentsley and his crew (Yana Fedorova, Oleg Otchenashev) of the British sailing yacht Sharlyn (A Carter 33, 1977, length 9,90 metres) arrived in the Russian City of Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea after a 40 day voyage (/) from Bulgaria.

 This unique 2250km journey from the end of the Danube river (Sulina- Romania) to  the end of Volga river on the Caspian Sea (Astrakhan Russia) via  the  “Hero” City of Volgograd in Russia had never been undertaken  by a British skippered and flagged Yacht before.

 After leaving Sulina at the end of the Danube River Sharlyn became the first British Yacht to legally enter the Crimea since The Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014.

 (Sharlyn was cleared into Russian waters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol home of the Russian fleet and was granted a minimum 1 year stay in Russian waters).

 While in the Crimea, Kentsley and Sharlyn became the first British flagged and skippered Yacht to pass under the newly constructed Kerch  bridge connecting the Russian mainland to the Crimea across the Kerch strait just one day before the bridge was officially opened by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

 Kentsley and Sharlyn then became the first ever British Yacht to reach the Caspian Sea at Astrakhan.

 In the process Kentsley and Sharlyn became the first foreign flagged Yacht to ever transit the Volga-Don canal using the Southern route from the Black and Azov Seas to reach Volgograd! (formally Stalingrad).

 Sharlyn and her crew then paused in Volgograd for the FIFA 2018 World Cup Games taking place in the City before finishing the journey down to Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea early in July 2018.

 Kentsley is now planning a circumnavigation of the Caspian Sea with Sharlyn in 2019/20, a feat never before undertaken by a British flagged and skippered yacht.

 Kentsley and his crew will publish a book about the journey sometime in 2019.

It will be titled ‘Sailing across Russia’ by Graham Kentsley and Yana Fedorova.


The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of or the World Cruising Club   

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