This year, Klaipėda University (KU) sailboat Brabander will go on its longest voyage in 10 years: from Lithuania to Iceland, sail around it, and go back. In the summer, in 2,5 months it will cover around 5,000 nautical miles. The voyage route stretching via the Baltic, North, and Greenland Seas and along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean is divided into 5 stages: Klaipėda–Sandefjord; Sandefjord–Stavanger; Stavanger–Reykjavik; Reykjavik–Blyth, and Blyth–Klaipėda. The sailboat plans to leave the port of Klaipėda on June 25 and to come back on September 10.
During the voyage, Brabander will visit Shetland, Faroe, and Orkney Islands and will moor in almost 20 ports. The vessel that has served the University for 10 years was acquired for marine research and educational activities. Presently, it belongs to KU Open Access Centre for Marine Research whose scientists and researchers will form a major part of the expedition participants. During the expedition, the scientists will conduct marine environment research: they will investigate environmental contamination, monitor bird populations abundance and behaviour, etc.
During the first two stages of the voyage (Klaipėda–Sandefjord–Stavanger), volunteers will be able to join the expedition. It is here that they will enjoy a great opportunity to test themselves in the northen waters, to upgrade their skills, and to gain good marine experience in Brabander, the largest training sailboat in Lithuania. The vessel will have a permanent professional crew of 5 people. Another 13 people, no yonger than 15, already grabbed the chance of joining the crew as its members. The above mentioned stages are sightseeing-educational and consist of a picturesque route on the Baltic and visits to interesting locations on the Danish coast. During the voyage, the participants will be introduced to the sailor job, will learn to master the sailboat, and will participate in the voyage as members of the crew. From Stavanger, non-professional crew members are to get home on their own. The ports of the crew change were chosen as being close to airports that have direct flights to Lithuania.
During the voyage, the sailboat will for the 10th time take part in the The Tall Ships Race North Sea, which starts in the port of Blyth, the UK, on August 26 and finishes in Gothenburg, Sweden, on September 6. To quote the captain, the crew will face a major challenge, however, the voyage is planned with enthusiasm and makes one feel needed. “All the crew came alive and are getting prepared, as that is something new”, said the sailboat captain Valdemaras Vizbaras.
Currently, preparatory work and navigation preparations are carried out on board, and electronic charts are acquired for the aforementioned areas. Other travellers who sailed in those areas with some specific characteristics are sharing their experience. The sailboat Brabander captain Valdemaras Vizbaras will be following the route for the second time: for the first time he sailed to Iceland and back on the yacht Rėja.