Visitors to Durban’s Point Yacht Club will see an odd-looking boat in the harbour – it belongs to four Russians who are embarking on a transAtlantic voyage hoping to sail into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Evgeny Kovalesky, Evgeny Tashkin, Yury Masloboev and their captain, Anatoly Kulik, all of whom are from Siberia, began their voyage in November, setting sail from Mauritius.
Kulik designed and built their boat, Energy Diet, an inflatable catamaran that consists of three balloons fixed to fibreglass and metallic tubes and with sails.
The name of the boat refers to the energy drinks the team rely on to sustain themselves at sea.
The boat can be dismantled and packed into carrier bags.
The extreme sports enthusiasts want to be entered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first people to complete the longest voyage on an inflatable sailing vessel that can be dismantled.
On Sunday, Kovalesky said their two-month voyage from Mauritius had been difficult.
“It is not a simple task, it is uncomfortable. We have no cabin, no bathing or toilet facilities. All we have is a little two-man tent and a gas stove to cook on. It is a small space to live in, especially for four middle-aged men.
“Not many people use it for such long trips because there is no comfort. You are as close to nature as possible. It is especially tough during the storms because water gets into the tent and our sleeping bags.”
Kovalesky said they had wanted to start their voyage from the Seychelles, but the country had refused them permission because of piracy in the area.
“We waited three weeks in the Seychelles for permission, but they refused. So we disassembled the boat and flew to Mauritius.
“Our next stop is Cape Town, then Namibia and then we will travel across the Atlantic to Brazil.”
Kovalesky said the team had to stop in Durban to repair their vessel.
“The sea is rough, so our boat gets damaged easily. We have had to stop to fix it up before we can carry on. We are determined to get into the record books.”
The team did two other voyages, in 2006 and 2008, that lasted about two months.