UNDER THE SAILS OF THE PALLADA
Last March, an unusual view could be seen from the island of Sentosa: against the backdrop of the futuristic VivoCity, Singapore’s largest shopping mall, a silhouette of the most romantic nature hovered elegantly. It was the sails of the Pallada, Russia’s training sailboat, which came from Vladivostok to pick up students from Singapore Maritime Academy.
The Pallada received its “divine” name in honour of the glorious battle frigate, which, between 1852 and 1855, sailed from Kronstadt to Japan, crossing three oceans while on a diplomatic mission.
The present-day three-mast Pallada was built to resemble sailboats of the “ship class” of the early 20th century, and was launched in the Polish city of Gdansk in 1989. Although the Pallada is rigged with modern equipment, her 26 sails, totalling 2,771 square metres of cloth, are set manually, as is her main engine. The Pallada has made an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s fastest sailboat, achieving 18 knots per hour.
During its stopover in Singapore, the boat’s crew welcomed aboard about 2,500 guests who were given a tour and shown a photo exhibition dedicated to the 65th anniversary of Russia’s victory in World War II. Apart from the general public, Captain Nikolay Zorchenko also received the diplomatic corps of several countries as his guests aboard his boat.
The Singaporean students from the Maritime Academy then spent two weeks on the Pallada before disembarking in Hong Kong. This is not the first time that Russian and Singaporean students have the opportunity to learn the ropes side by side. Singaporean boys and girls are known to be quick learners, even if they have never sailed before. During the passage, the young seafarers from both countries played sports together, told each other about their homelands and strummed on the guitar.
While on the roads of Singapore, the Pallada’s officers and crew laid a wreath on the tomb of a Russian sailor named Astafyev, Lieutenant of the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Empire, which is located at Fort Canning.
Photos: Courtesy of the crew of the Pallada