Meet the Clipper 2023-24 Race Crew: Anton and Pavel- two good friends taking on the North Atlantic
29 November 2022
Meet the Clipper 2023-24 Race Crew
Names: Anton Baturin and Pavel Nesvedov
Occupations: Lawyer and Auditor
Two Luxembourgers who have sailed together for years are preparing to take on a sailing challenge like nothing they have experienced before: crossing the North Atlantic Ocean.
This part of the Clipper Race, Leg 8, is a 4,400nm stretch of multiple races, each offering up varied and unpredictable conditions. The friends, who are hoping to take on the mighty crossing as part of the same team, will be spending roughly 22 days on board experiencing everything that living life at an angle brings.
Image: Anton and Pavel training
Having just completed their second of four compulsory training weeks to take on the Clipper Race, which every crew member participates in, we welcomed the two back to Clipper Race HQ with some questions to get to know them a little better…
Why did you decide on Leg 8, and why do you want to do it together?
Anton: “We talked a lot about crossing an ocean and researched how we could do it in a competitive way and came across The Clipper Race - so we immediately signed up for Leg 8. We want to cross the Atlantic Ocean and this leg fits in well with our plans and our lives - we both have families and full-time jobs, and luckily this isn’t the longest leg. Our wives and kids share the sailing passion with us and we have their full support. Pavel and I know each other very well and make a good team to face the challenges of an offshore race, so we hope to be part of the same team. We are looking forward to it and feel it should be extremely exciting.”
What sailing experience do you have?
Pavel: “I started sailing 15 years ago, but my experience is more on cruiser boats. I got my sailing licence in Spain. Since then, I have chartered boats in various places in the Netherlands and the Mediterranean. Before the SKIRR Adventures trip last August, I had never had any experience on this type of a yacht. And in the race to come, we will be sailing on a ‘monster’ boat, working in a team, sailing in rough conditions. That is what attracted me and why I signed up.”
Anton: “I started sailing a few years ago when Pavel introduced me to sailing. We were two families together on a leisure yacht and I loved sailing so much that I started training and got my RYA Day Skipper and then Coastal Skipper qualification. We sail in the Netherlands a couple of times a year - the closest sailing area we can get to from Luxembourg. Once a year, and for the third time next year, we are participating as skippers in the European Schools’ Cup – a race in Croatia organised for Luxembourg teens, where we teach children to sail.”
Pavel: “I’m really passionate about the European Schools’ Cup - it’s a wonderful opportunity for kids from Luxembourg to be introduced to sailing - on a proper boat, racing as a team.”
Tell us about your Level 2 training?
Anton: “We were lucky with the weather - as we experienced it in all its variety. The first couple of days there was almost no wind and we were desperate – the feeling you often have in light winds. It then picked up and last night we had fun sailing with 40 knots of wind - at night. Rough conditions! We crossed the channel four times.”
Pavel: “I enjoy the training as every time we get a new skipper, or a new team; even if we have done something before, we are taught and find new ways of doing things. The weather was pretty terrible with the strong winds last night. It was really good to experience life on board 24/7 which is not easy. I was lucky not to be cooking during the rough times!”
Whilst heavy weather was a new element to contend with during training, Anton and Pavel are no strangers to challenging conditions on the water, as the duo have completed an expedition to the Arctic with Clipper Race sister company SKIRR Adventures.
Taking part in the inaugural SKIRR Adventures high latitudes expedition, Anton and Pavel experienced plummeting temperatures crossing from Iceland to Greenland and back during the fourth leg. It was during this expedition that they also got their first taste at day-to-day life on board an ocean racing yacht.
Image: Pavel (left) and Anton getting kitted out with Musto
How was your experience with Clipper Race sister company, SKIRR Adventures?
Pavel: "We signed up an hour after the email came through about the trip - it looked so good and it was so good! We took part in Leg 4, from Iceland to Greenland and back. We saw so many new things - icebergs, whales next to us, a lot of wild nature. Greenland itself is a wild country with snow, wild animals and people living in really difficult conditions. Iceland was so beautiful as well. We had a few stops in the north of Iceland, it had such beautiful nature with waterfalls and amazing landscapes. I was really really happy that Clipper Ventures had organised this kind of adventure."
What did you witness in terms of climate change?
Anton: "There were a lot of icebergs and ice debris in the sea on our way to Scoresby Sund – I believe, a sign that the climate is changing. We could easily approach the coast of Greenland and enter the fjord. After watching “Against the Ice'', a movie based on a true story about an expedition to Greenland and the severe conditions the two explorers had to survive in, and reading how dangerous it could be to sail in this area because of the water freezing overnight, I was preparing myself to truly rough weather even this time of the year. Surprisingly, the fjord was not frozen at all. For this latitude, it also felt pretty warm."
Pavel: "On our way to Greenland we saw an iceberg 200m high and 300m long just floating. I don’t know if this is normal or not but it’s pretty impressive how much ice is floating.
"We also visited a museum in Iceland which has a dedicated area to melting ice in Iceland. They show the dynamics of how the three ice areas that have melted in Iceland have shrunk to half the size. So this is a big problem."
Do you both have further sailing adventures planned between now and your leg?
Anton: "During Easter holidays next year, we are planning to participate as skippers in the next edition of the European Schools’ Cup in Croatia. We have already done two school cups (in 2021 and 2022) and I can assure you that sometimes managing moody teenagers is way more demanding than handling the sails amidst the stormy sea! However, this time will be even more special as Pavel’s daughter and my two lovely offspring will take part in the regatta for the first time. Looking forward to seeing the girls’ spirit and to share the unforgettable sailing moments together."
How do you plan to prepare for your race between now and Leg 8?
Anton: "Participating in such a race requires physical and mental strength, I imagine. From the first moments of getting over the sea sickness and adopting to the routine onboard, the watch system, the food, the confined and basic life, the snoring mates and smelly socks, to the survival in brutal conditions being soaked and cold to the bone and fighting the waves knocking you off your feet – all of this is not a joke. I simply admire people who have done (and those who are going to do) the whole race. Having done two weeks of training and the SKIRR Adventure, I believe I am mentally ready for the Atlantic Ocean crossing, but I would find it difficult to live this life for almost one year! My respect to the circumnavigators!
The day after I got registered for the Race, I bought a membership to the local swimming pool and resumed training, which I had not done for a few years. I hope it will help build endurance, muscle strength, cardiovascular and overall fitness.
During the Race, I want to improve my steering, rigging, trimming and other seamanship skills, and in particular to start learning how to predict the weather and practice astronavigation. I am currently reading quite a lot of theory, which I hope to implement in practice during the Clipper Race."
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