Pavlo and Dmytro Rezvoy: Conquering the Oceans

Pavlo and Dmytro Rezvoy: Conquering the Oceans

Pavlo and Dmytro are men of actions, not words, seafarers and pioneers, people who glorify Ukraine in the eyes of the whole world. They are men of incredible inner strength and unbending will. The father and son have already written their pages in the history of the conquest of the oceans, but this is only the middle way.

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Pavlo Rezvoy from Lviv in 2004 in "Marion Lviv", a single rowboat, began his 61-day journey, when he crossed the Atlantic Ocean, starting from the island of Homer in the Canary Islands on January 20th and finishing in Barbados on March 22nd. He crossed about 5500 km. Then he was 65 years old.
On November 9th, 2005, he went into the great waters again. On a single rowboat "Ukraine" Pavlo crossed the Indian Ocean (started on September 13th, 2005 from the Coconut Islands and after 57 days arrived in the Seychelles on November 9th).
Pavlo is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records twice: the Ukrainian is not only the oldest man ever challenged the ocean, but also the fastest one. Pavlo Rezvoy was the first to cross the Indian Ocean in such a short time - before him this timing was almost twice longer.
In 2005 at the age of 66, Pavlo Rezvoy became the second person in the world who conquered two oceans and the third person, who crossed the Indian Ocean alone in a rowboat.
Pavlo’s son Dmytro inherited his father's passion for the ocean and in late 2016, he went on a rowing boat alone to conquer the Great Water as well. Father and son gave an exclusive interview especially for Destinations, which we hasten to share with our audience.
Pavlo, please tell us, what should encourage a person in adulthood to leave the habitual way of life and challenge the ocean, trying to cross it alone in a rowboat, and then - to do it for a second time?
Most likely, my curiosity is the main motivator. You can’t challenge the ocean. It is great and indifferent to us. My usual way of my life was never usual and boring one. It was school, army, university and since 1966 I had been working as a field geologist within the Altai, Turkestan and close to Altai ranges. My specialization was geological survey. When mapping marine and delta sedimentary deposits, reef limestones of flysch thicknesses, I felt the oceans present in my reflections on the map. The boat with oars in 2004 was for me the most accessible way to be in the real ocean. I did not hesitate to get into it. A week later, it seemed to me that I was sea wolf all my life. Therefore, after Barbados I sailed to Cuba and Jamaica, and a year later I went from Australia to the Seychelles.
What memory do you value more than others about this journey? What is pleasant to remember?
It's nice to remember all the time spent in the ocean. That strange feeling of complete freedom on a tiny plywood ark.
Such an expedition is also an opportunity to know more about yourself. Did you have fears, doubts, anger? If yes, how did you defeat them?
Fear, doubt, anger? No, I did not have these feelings. There was only a feeling of great gratitude to the fate and to those people, thanks to whom I got into the ocean: London Ocean Rowing Society, Kenneth Crutchlow, who gave me my first boat "Marion" and many, many others who helped me with equipment. I did not have money for sailing at all, just a dream to do it. While the voyage it was necessary to struggle with laziness to get on the certain island at the appointed time.
Please, describe a pleasant and unpleasant day of the trip.
Most days are pleasant. Unpleasant days were when something got broken and could interrupt the voyage. The GPS refusal and the breakdown of the helm were very unpleasant. But everything was fixed finally.
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Did these trips across the oceans change you and, if yes, in what way?
Yes, they changed me. The Earth decreased, became more compact for me. The desire to get back into the ocean does not go away since that, but I'm getting old.
Recently Dmytro went to the expedition across the ocean. What guidance did you give him?
Probably for those who are afraid of the ocean, such sailing is meaningless heroism. If there is no fear, then prepare for hard work and get patience, and in return you will get a joyful feeling of freedom and full confidence that our planet is round and not very big.
On December 14th, 2016 Atlantic race TWAC 2016 has started. The son of Pavlo Rezvoy, Dmytro Rezvoy on the boat "Ukraine" took part in the race. Teams from six countries compete for the victory: Great Britain, the USA, Scotland, Australia, South Africa and Ukraine. According to the rules of the competition, all boats move due to the muscular force of the participants, currents and wind, which can help or interfere with ocean rowers. The participants do not get help from outside. They take food, equipment and medicine to the boat for two months, for which they must pass 3,000 miles of unpredictable ocean. They get drinking water from sea water distillers installed on boats. At the end of January 2017 Dmytro Rezvoy had to stop his Atlantic regatta due to a series of unsuccessful attempts to restore the boat control system.
This decision was extremely difficult, it was preceded by long weeks of struggle for the opportunity to continue the Atlantic regatta. Problems with the steering system of Dmytro’s boat appeared in late December, since then he tried many times to restore the mechanism on his own and then with the help of the technical support team of the rowing regatta organizers.
The last attempt to install a new steering wheel in late January failed. This caused the seafarer from Ukraine to take the difficult decision to get out of the competition and to go aboard the yacht of the organizers, called "Miss Tick". According to the rules of the competition, the boat of the participant, who has left the regatta, remains in the waters of the World Ocean. One of these days it was caught in 200 miles from Martinique Island. Now it sails on the ship back to the Canary Islands. The purchase of a boat can cost 10-15 thousand pounds for Dmytro, so, most likely, it will remain with the new owners.
At the time of the regatta, Dmytro Rezvoy on the boat "Ukraine" overcame more than 1,400 nautical miles from the Canary Islands towards the Caribbean Sea. He spent 45 days in the ocean, more than three weeks in the drift due to steering malfunction and bad weather conditions, which suddenly caught him in the Eastern Atlantic.
Dmytro, what does this campaign across the ocean alone mean for you? Is it an attempt to prove something to yourself or to the world?
It happened so that I have been engaged in ocean rowing boats for more than 15 years. During this time I managed to repair and build dozens of boats. Many times I helped other rowers with the passage. I guess it's just the time for me to go through the ocean, especially taking into account the fact that my father passed two oceans.
Please tell us about the preparation for the trip. How did it go and what would you change in it now?
My preparation was to build a boat and to find sponsors. I tried to find support for my project in Ukraine. But it was not interesting for anyone here. So I had to manage with my means and with the help of "Rossiter Rowing Boats", Christchurch, UK and "Marlin Fishing La Gomera" company and Andrej Dolinsek. Now I probably would try to pay more attention to the equipment. There was old equipment on my boat due to the very small budget.
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What was the most difficult part of the journey?
The biggest difficulty for me, as a boat constructor, was the impossibility to cope with the breakdown. Repairing, which would be insignificant on land, was not feasible in the ocean.
Leaving the race does not mean the defeat. Will there be another attempt to cross the ocean? What future goals do you set for yourself in life related to the ocean?
Yes, of course, I will try to cross the ocean again. Now I'm looking for a new boat and at the end of the year I plan to go to the ocean again. But this time it will be opposite another oarsman - a former British military who now lives in Croatia. It's cheaper and faster to do it together. I want to move away from Morocco and to go to the States. But before that I need to find sponsors, I would like to find some in our country. We will see.
Editor: Well, to tell you the truth, I was really surprised to hear from Dmytro that nobody in Ukraine is interested in a sponsorship of this kind of fascinating project. I still want to believe that it can be implemented thanks to support of some governmental and commercial organizations to promote Ukraine and such ironside Ukrainians like Pavlo and Dmytro Rezvoy all over the world.
Interviewed by Anna Vishtak
Photos are provided by Dmytro Rezvoy 

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