Today, from St. Petersburg, the Samba schooner will leave to circumnavigate the globe, presumably in 26 months. The voyage will commemorate the circumnavigation of the Russian expedition led by Ivan Kruzenstern that began late in August 1803 and honour the next year's tercentenary of the city of St. Petersburg.
Sergei Afonin, the Samba's skipper, said, 'We would like a lot of people in the world to find out about St. Petersburg, our country's Northern Capital'. For this purpose, the crew has prepared a movable exhibit of about 100 photographs of St. Petersburg supplied by the city's Committee for the Use and Preservation of Monuments and a collection of videos.
The Samba carries a crew of four. Three of them, Sergei Afonin, Vladimir Filozopov, and Viktor Gelrud are experienced sailors. The fourth crewmember is Anna Smirnova, a 20 year-old girl, who, besides interpreting for the other crewmembers, will handle the organisation of the exhibits at ports.
The Samba will stop at 50 ports in 30 countries throughout the world, converging, at Copenhagen, Falmouth, Santa Cruz, and Tenerife, on the route of Kruzenstern's expedition.
In the 19th century, after Kruzenstern, Russian sail ships circumnavigated 28 more times, the last time in 1826. Then steamships were around and sails were discarded.
The Samba, a 13-meter two-mast schooner, was built after late 19th century's pilot boats. Her construction began in 1998 at the Baltic Sea Lines' wharf and was completed on April 30, 2002. Two months-long sea trials proved the schooner well built and sea worthy.