Vladimir Maximov  ●  Владимир Максимов

                    Atlantic East to West Solo    Атлантика с востока на запад в одиночку
"Solaris" 2014 - 2015


John L Webster PhD

Managing Director

Landscapes in Harmony


Yesterday, Sunday 15 March 2015, yet another Solo Rower successfully rowed his specialized boat across the vast Atlantic Ocean to Barbados. He arrived at Port St Charles safely, but not without some drama, at about 9.40am.

Maksimov Vladimir, Russian by birth, set off on his solo journey from Lisbon, Portugal 120 days ago in his boat Solaris. Unfortunately he speaks very little English so communication with him after his landing yesterday was very limited. However, the story preceding his arrival on Barbados soil actually started on Saturday.

Apparently Maksimov had been in radio contact with Thomas Herbert and David Peterkin during his trip and after communicating with him on Saturday, it was expected he would be within sight of the northern part of the island by about 9.00am Sunday morning.

Quite apart from that two birding friends and I planned an early morning trip to Cluff’s Bay for early Sunday morning to seek out some seabirds. We arrived at the area about 7.45am and started our trek to the cliff, but became aware of a twin-engined aircraft apparently flying transects overhead at about 1500ft. We assumed it to be the aircraft that was supposed to be mapping the coastal areas for the Coastal Zone project.

On arriving at the cliff edge we looked towards the NE, through our binoculars, saw what looked like a rather unusual boat, almost like a lifeboat, about ˝ mile away. At that point we realized that the aircraft was making wide circles over the boat, which was being carried along towards us very quickly by a combination of the high winds and a strongly running tide.

 As we watched over the next several minutes the boat came perilously close to the shore where there was some shorebreak, and then to our horror a wave emerged in the vicinity of the boat, and in a flash the boat was overturned, but due to its design, quickly righted itself.

Since we were on a birding expedition we were outfitted with cameras and I was able to quickly fire off a burst of images, shooting at about 6 frames per second, and captured the action as it happened in about 25 images …the whole event lasted about 4-5 seconds. This sequence of images are presented here  [the photos will be posted on ORS Int. website shortly]

 We were very concerned as to the well being of the occupant(s) as we had no idea what the boat was about at that time nor how many persons were on board …we saw no one after the overturning incident. The boat continued to rapidly drift past us and out of sight around the promontory to our West. When we were able to trek back up from the beach from which we had witnessed this event we travelled through the wooded area to check the next bay to the West in case the boat had ended up there but it had apparently gone by there as well.

The other part of the story is as follows. David Edwards, good school pal from Lodge School days, and Joe Brooker, had arranged to go up in a private aircraft piloted by David Peterkin, early Sunday morning to seek out Maksimov as he approached the island. The plan was to guide Thomas Herbert in the Cabin Cruiser Lady B’Good to a rendezvous point so they could take him in tow and bring him to Port St Charles. David was in the aircraft we had observed circling over the area. They spotted him about 1 mile off the Animal Flower Cave, drifting rapidly due to the strong winds and currents, towards the cliffs. They were in radio contact with him at the time and asked him to row N to avoid the cliffs …but the drift was too strong. Realising his predicament, but not seeing the rollover of the boat we witnessed, he quickly contacted his sons, Derek and Dustin, and requested them to quickly try to reach Maksimov to rescue him from being shipwrecked. The boys achieved the near impossible, arriving in 17 minutes from the phone call, aboard the Lady Joy. One of the boys swam a rope across to Maksimov and took the Solaris in tow, thereby preventing what was about to be a disastrous end to his long solo journey.

The Lady Joy with Derek and Dustin Edwards aboard towing the Solaris to Port St Charles Marina

The Solaris under tow by the the Lady Joy

The Lady B' Good establishes contact with Maksimov

With the Solaris safely tied up alongside the Port St Charles Restaurant dock Maksimov prepares to disembark onto Barbados soil!!

Philip Als, himself an Atlantic Rower, welcomes Maksimov to Barbados and helps get WiFi connectivity

The other photos document his arrival at Port St Charles and setting foot on firm land after 120 days at sea >>>