Skipper Interview

Who is Pavel Saviankou? Find out here.

Pavel, how did you get into sailing?
In 2008, a friend took me on a one-week trip on the Baltic. We went from Stettin (Poland) to Bornholm (Sweden), on a wooden boat that was only two meters wide. This way of travelling fascinated me from the start – you're forced to deal with weather and wind, you have to accept whatever comes. It's an adventure to control the boat with simple techniques, just like sailors have done for hundreds of years... an own kind of romance. I became addicted at once.

How much time did you spend on the water over the last years?
I've been on about 30 trips; on five of them as a crewmember, on the rest as skipper. Most of these trips took one week. In total, I've sailed more than 6000 sea miles (> 11 000 km).

How do you become a skipper?
To rent a boat, a basic coastal licence is usually sufficient. So it's very easy to become a skipper. The hard part is to become a responsible skipper capable of handling challenges: rough weather, material failures, accidents, or stress within the crew. That's why I sail as much as possible to gain experience. Furthermore, I did many additional trainings after the three basic licenses (German motorboat licence SBF; Coastal sailing licence SKS; Short/Long range certificate):

- Licence for commercial sailing in coastal areas (SSS)
Licence for commercial sailing on international waters (SHS)
- Rough weather training
- Training on boat engines and electric equipment
- Training on pyrotechnical equipment (FKN)
- Spinnaker and regatta training
- ISAF certificate for international regattas
- Safety at sea: Training for emergency situations (First Aid at sea, fighting leaks or fire, handling of the rescue raft...)
- plus, on a related note, I always bring my own set on extra equipment on board (double GPS, AIS, rescue sling, extra lights...)

Over the last years, I've successfully dealt with some difficult situations and I'm confident to master future challenges. Also, don't forget that modern boats are very safe. Those trainings are therefore not compulsory for sailors, but: It's better to be safe than sorry!

What's your plan for the future?
I'm always keen on extending my knowledge – in particular, I'm looking forward to sailing the South Seas, the Atlantric around Gran Canaria, and possibly the Finnish archipelago. I'm also planning a motorboat trip on the Moselle river – something completely new to me! I'm looking for new adventures, no matter if that will be new boat types, new sailing areas, or new sporty challenges. For my own CV, I look forward to finishing the British Yachtmaster certificate – it's the most advanced sailing exam possible.

Speaking of challenges: Is it difficult to handle new crew members on every trip?
No. I enjoy getting to know new people, and it's great to see how they make progress. Many are shy in the beginning, but warm up during the first days. Handling the boat as a team is a very good setting to get to know each other.

What's the language on board?
As you can see in the list of previous sailing trips, I've been on board with crew members of many different nations. I'm happy about that, because it never gets boring: There are always new topics, new perspectives, and new stories! Mixed nationalities means that we have to find a language that works for everyone. Usually it has been English or German, although I also offer Russian. Don't worry about language problems: Many sailing expressions will be new for everyone! Missing vocabulary has never been a problem on a sailing trip so far.

What do you personally enjoy most about the trips?
The unique kind of sightseeing that you get on the waterside, the relaxed atmosphere on the boats, the experience of continuing an ancient craft, the new friendships… the list could be extended. Luckily, it's never long until the next trip!