On 11 July 2019 Estonian S/Y Admiral Bellingshausen set the sail from Kronstadt to Antarctica to celebrate 200 years from the discovery of Antarctica by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who was born in Saaremaa, Estonia.

The lifeboats of the Estonian Volunteer Rescue Association, member of IMRF, were escorting the yacht from the very first moment until the end of the Estonian territorial waters.

The co-operation had started already in the preparatory phase of the expedition as marine safety is one of the subjects the expedition wishes to focus on.

S/Y Admiral Bellingshausen crossed the Atlantic and reached Brazil in mid-November. A slightly longer stop in Rio de Janeiro allowed time to look back and remember those who have contributed to the success of the expedition.

We hope this expedition will help to remind people of our distinguished seafaring history and draw attention to the ecologically precarious situation of the world’s seas.

One of the most memorable partners has been the IMRF and its member organizations.

Those gorgeous men and women who daily risk their lives to save others escorted us to the ports and actually spoilt us in the most beautiful way. We felt safe and supported.

Joint training days gave our crew valuable knowledge about rescue issues. We decided unanimously that rescuers were a very special type of people, with tough exteriors and hearts of gold.

People who have faced so much trauma are able to distinguish between significance and insignificance in life.

When our yacht arrived in Helsinki, Finland, she was escorted by Suomen Meripelastus (Finnish Lifeboat Institution) boats. In Gothenburg Swedish rescuers (Sjöräddningssällskapet) demonstrated powerful and versatile SAR equipment giving us a real performance!

In Bergen it rained and rained, but we felt as warm as sunshine as the Norwegians (Redningsselskapet) hosted us. We visited each other’s boats and liked everything we saw so much that even discussed the idea that what if... the Norwegians accompanied S/Y Admiral Bellingshausen until Antarctica!

After having crossed the North Sea the bright orange boats of Shetland and Orkney rescuers from Royal National Lifeboat Institution welcomed us! Training days on the boats and a huge bag of fresh clams as a gourmet prize for our crew.

We left behind good friends when we sailed further.

A French SAR helicopter took care of us from above and took also some beautiful photos of our yacht. We have had Estonian voluntary maritime rescuers on board to instruct us and propagate safety at sea.

The majority of the crew of Admiral Bellingshausen have participated in sea safety training at Reval Marine & Offshore Training center in Tallinn and that has been an ideal base for further learning and practicing.

We would like to thank all IMRF members on route for their support and encouragement! We wish to thank all the key persons of the regional branches who devoted their time and effort and organized all the events that Admiral Bellingshausen was proud and grateful to be part of.

Our special gratitude to Mr. Rait Killandi, president of the Estonian Volunteer Rescue Association who together with his colleagues made us realise what the global presence and members’ network of IMRF really mean.

We have been honoured to get to know the trustworthy and powerful organization more closely.

The expedition is not over yet. From Rio de Janeiro Admiral Bellingshausen proceeds to Uruguay and Argentina. Come on the adventure with us and follow the Newsfeed in English: https://www.facebook.com/antarctica200