The Humanitarian Mission SAILS OF THE SPIRIT is setting the sails for its 13th mission to take place from July 1, 2016 through August 23, 2016, with plans to travel by sea from St. Petersburg to Paris covering ten maritime European countries. The inclusive team is going aboard the catamaran Lover led by Captain Uldis MEŽULIS and professional yachtsmen of the Latvian Club AUDA.

Паруса духа – 2016: Санкт-Петербург – Париж

The Project

SAILS OF THE SPIRIT (SOFS) stands for inclusive sea voyages and inclusive sailing sports done by extraordinary people. The SOFS basic principle is inclusion — each sailing trip is carried out by a team of people with and without disabilities. The project is truly international both crew-wise and in terms of humanitarian cooperation: during the previous twelve stages SOFS established social and cultural alliances with civil society organizations in more than 10 countries.

The expedition format enables us to find pro-active, successful, positive-minded people with disabilities all over the world. On the other hand, the inclusive interaction between people during mission events is the most effective way of projecting the positive role of people with disabilities in the society. While participating in the preparation and implementation of the humanitarian component of the expedition, members of the inclusive crew help to form and exemplify positive perceptions of people with disabilities and their human potential.

The project’s purpose is to help people with disabilities get involved in inclusive international cooperation to develop and strengthen the socio-cultural and business ties.

Sails of the Spirit are seeking to:

  • develop positive role of people with disabilities in society through an inclusive project;
  • strengthen international inclusive socio-cultural relations;
  • develop new forms of inclusive cooperation;
  • increase levels of social and economic activity among people with disabilities;
  • promote the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • promote the ideas of the 1st World Congress of People with Disabilities (to be held in Ekaterinburg in September 2017).

13th stage: Humanitarian Mission SAILS OF THE SPIRIT: St. Petersburg – Paris

In 2016, the SOFS inclusive team will get again on board the catamaran Lover. The team has already completed two training trips with Captain Uldis MEŽULIS and professional yachtsmen of the Latvian Club AUDA: the two successful sailings were Latvia – Lithuania – Estonia (2013) and Latvia – Estonia – Russia – Finland (2014).

The international team, supported by the Federal Agency Rossotrudnichestvo and the State Corporation Rosatom, has arranged the expedition opening and closing ceremonies, workshops, presentations, meetings, concerts, seminars and other events, hosted by Centers of Science and Culture and NGOs along the route.

Route details and socio-cultural programme:

Date Miles to go Locations Weeks and events
July 1 0 Saint-Petersburg, (Russia) Week One. July 2 to July 9 (Check-in: July 1).

Setting out in the afternoon on July 2.

Sosnovy Bor (Leningrad region, St. Petersburg) – Turku (Finland).

Humanitarian activities: St. Petersburg, Sosnovy Bor, Helsinki, Turku.

Events: gig by Vladimir Rudakov Orchestra “As Best As We Can” (Petrozavodsk); “Blind Painting” master class  by Boris Hohonov (Ekaterinburg). Distance: 380 miles.

July 2-3 200 Sosnovy Bor (Russia) – Helsinki (Finland)
July 5 0 Helsinki (Finland)
July 7 80 Helsinki – Hanko (Finland)
July 8 100 Hanko – Turku (Finland)
July 9 0 Turku (Finland)
Date Miles to go Locations Weeks and events
July 10 80 Turku – Pori (Finland) Week Two. July 10 to July 16 (Check-in: July 9).

Turku – Oulu (Finland).

Humanitarian activities: Oulu (Finland).

Events: presentation of singing trio Intuition Plus (Elena Pisareva, Sergey Parakhin, Sergey Burlakov), inclusive creative workshops.

Distance: 330 miles.

July 12 100 Pori – Vaasa (Finland)
July 13 80 Vaasa – Kokkola (Finland)
July 14 70 Kokkola – Oulu (Finland)
July 15-16 0 Oulu (Finland)
Date Miles to go Locations Weeks and events
July 17 400 Oulu (Finland) – Stockholm (Sweden) Week Three. July 17 to July 24 (Check-in: July 16). Oulu (Finland) – Ventspils (Latvia).

Humanitarian activities:  Stockholm.

Events: inclusive creative workshops.

Distance: 580 miles.

July 22 0 Stockholm (Sweden)
July 23 180 Stockholm (Sweden) – Ventspils (Latvia)
Date Miles to go Locations Weeks and events
July 25 70 Ventspils – Liepaja (Latvia) Week Four. July 25 to July 30 (Check-in: July, 24).

Ventspils (Latvia) – Gdansk (Poland).

Humanitarian activities: Liepaja (Latvia), Klaipeda (Lithuania), Gdansk (Poland).

During activities: inclusive creative workshops.

Distance: 260 miles.

July 26 0 Liepaja (Latvia)
July 27 60 Liepaja (Latvia) – Klaipeda (Lithuania)
July 28 0 Klaipeda (Lithuania)
July 29 130 Klaipeda (Lithuania) – Gdansk (Poland)
July 30 0 Gdansk (Poland)
Date Miles to go Locations Weeks and events
July 31 400 Gdansk (Poland) – Kiel (Germany) Week Five. July 31 to August 6 (Check-in: July 30).

Gdansk (Poland) – Hamburg (Germany).

Humanitarian activities: Gdansk (Poland), Hamburg (Germany).

Events: an exhibition of paintings by Paul Ehrlich (Hamburg), an exhibition of photographs.

Distance: 500 miles.

August 4 100 Kiel – Hamburg (Germany)
August 6 0 Hamburg (Germany)
Date Miles to go Locations Weeks and events
August 7 240 Hamburg (GER) – the Hague (NED) Week Six. August 7 to August 15 (Check-in: August 6). Hamburg (Germany) – Bruges (Belgium).

Humanitarian activities in the Hague and Bruges or Brussels.

Distance: 420 miles.

August 11 0 The Hague (NED)
August 12 180 The Hague (NED) – Bruges (BEL)
August 15 0 Bruges, Brussel (BEL) by land
Date Miles to go Locations Weeks and events
August 16 140 Bruges (BEL) – Dieppe (FRA) Week Seven. August 16 to August 23 (Check-in: August 15). Bruges (Belgium) – Ouistreham (France).

Events in Dieppe, Ouistreham and Paris. Departure of all participants from Paris.

Total distance: Sosnovy Bor – Ouistreham 3,000 nautical miles

August 19 0 Dieppe (FRA)
August 20 70 Dieppe (FRA) – Ouistreham (FRA)
August 21 0 Ouistreham (FRA)
August 22 0 Ouistreham – PARIS (FRA) by land
August 23 0 Paris

The participants will have an opportunity to prepare for the voyage, and to improve their knowledge of sailing by taking part in the First Open Championship of Russia on Inclusive Sailing.

Together with Sails of the Spirit

The project team consists of professionals of all backgrounds and all walks of life, with or without disabilities. Among them, there are experts in disability adaptation and rehabilitation, business coaches, travelers, professional yachtsmen, young people with an active lifestyle.

During the trip, the Lover team will regularly enter large and small ports. At port stays, participants are encouraged to do the sightseeing, meet the locals and feel the flavor of each country. By being part of an inclusive team, you manifest your pro-active stand, gain sailing skills, make friends and develop your talents through interactions with extraordinary people.

Accommodation details: the catamaran has several comfortable cabins with 9 beds altogether (four 2-bed cabins, one single cabin), kitchen, shower, two toilets and a spacious cockpit, convenient for leisure and meetings, which can simultaneously accommodate 30 people. Catamaran dimensions: width – 7.5 m, length – 13.2 m. Languages spoken on board: Russian and English.

Join the inclusive team today!

Anyone, regardless of age and physical condition can become a member of the expedition. You may spend a day-long sailing with us, or opt for a week-long voyage, or even stay with us through the entire expedition, or join the activities at port stays, and finally support the team by sending a video salute.

During long sea passages the ship capacity is limited to nine people on board.
We will keep you updated about the sailing and onshore parts of the expedition through the team’s Facebook page, so be sure to tell your friends about us.

If you are new to sailing matters, then a week-long trip seems an ideal option.
The Lover catamaran is designed to facilitate access for people in wheelchairs, so they are welcome to join day-long sailing passages.

How to join the team

  • Share with us your youtube self-presentation (up to 3 minutes long): tell us a bit about yourself and why it is important for you to join the SOFS.
  • Send us your personal details including phone number, Skype and the link to your self-presentation video at
  • As soon as we confirm your request please apply to our Facebook group.

When you receive the group confirmation, you will officially become a member of the Sails of the Spirit project. You will receive the expedition schedule and conditions and be able to apply for the stage or event of your interest.

The Humanitarian Mission Sails of the Spirit 2016 is part of activities in advance of the 1st World Congress of People with Disabilities, and it also marks the 10th anniversary of the ratification by the Russian Federation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


Federal Agency Rossotrudnichestvo
Association Valentin Haüy (France, Paris)
Eldorado Tour Travel Company
State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom
Yacht Club AUDA
KMK Standart LLC
Sverdlovsk Regional Special Library for the Blind
St. Petersburg State Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Additional Information

Artyom Mamylin, +7 912 642 69 03,
Oleg Kolpashchikov, +7 906 810 22 88,
Anastasia Harlamtseva, +7 966 708 0307,