Unique is just a word

Russian, née Soviet, round the world sailor Viktor Yazykov is building a new boat (and the editor is getting quite excited)

To those who know little of Viktor Yazykov some brief CV extracts might be instructive. Father and uncle drown in fishing accident when Yazykov is 13; leaves school to support family, joining shipyard to bring in money; drafted into Soviet army at 18; qualifies as elite paratrooper; leaves army at 23; earns Master’s Ticket; fitness obsession involving regular ‘ice swimming’; volunteers to go into Chernobyl after nuclear meltdown; professional fisherman; starts sailing clubs and first Soviet youth sailing programme; designs (self-taught) and builds 29ft yacht; joins Fazisi Whitbread programme; dismissed mid-race for reasons never disclosed; sentenced to salt mines (commuted); KGB withdraws travel visa; Soviet Union collapse prompts more selfdesigned boats; successfully completes Around Alone (4th) on self-designed and built Open 40 Wind of Change; designs and builds oceanic shorthanded 33-footer Daughter of the Wind; sets off for sea…

A little more detail
To expand just a little. Viktor was one of the first into Chernobyl; most of those who went in with him died soon afterwards from radiation poisoning. He credits his survival to always drinking copious amounts of green tea.

Building that first 29ft boat… Well, there was little or no yacht building in Soviet Russia but there were plenty of trees, so Yazykov dragged a few fallen chestnuts out the forest, milled his own planks and put his boat together… largely using copper nails hammered out from reclaimed cabling.

And that first Around Alone Open 40… well he did have some design help from Bob Adams and Steve Baker, but they would be the first to say that the concept, hull lines and foil layout were all Viktor’s. His current – rather extraordinary – 33- footer is entirely his own work. We will come back to her later.

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