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New history of Lithuanian waterways


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Kaunas, Nemunas riverMy life happened so that I live in Kaunas city (present Lithuania, former part of USSR), on the bank of Nemunas river. Here I was born, I grew up here and I still remember the times when traffic on the river was similar to the present day traffic on modern highways. My first boat I bought at the age of 17 years and looking at the empty river makes me think every day … And what I’m waiting for? For the last five years I have cruised the old, time-tested and durable “Прогресс 4″ with old, good Volvo Penta 450 outboard. Every place available, every possible waterway we explored with my friends. We were in Kaliningrad and we reached Cherniahovsk Lagoon by Germans built channels, we had traveled to and all the known far and wide. But everywhere it was possible to visit in Lithuania during the last 40 years we have visited. And here again, sitting at the foot of the Curonian spit dunes in buzzed company of old friends and looking at the next amazing sunset, great idea of trip around the world born? Off course second question was raised, but what boat should we use? Clearly we could use our Прогресс 4, especially when the history of mankind remembers even crazier adventures. And given that, I live in a country where the average life of a male is 64 years, myself and my friend have already turned 60, it is obvious that we have nothing to be lost. After that followed a long and detailed discussion which finished with additional set of questions. In addition you can’t expect a decent service and even you will not find a simple gas station for boats in our country. Of course, it was possible to choose the most popular between newbie skippers way … BUY … But we are  old alligators, it would be too simple for us!
My friend has wide shipbuilding experience (DIY) which was decided to rely on. Also his engineering minds made us surprised numerous times later. In particular, we have been appealing his last project, which was constructed on the basis of theoretical calculations of UFFO FOX . His project was landed on water in 1974 in a clipped form, and was powered by two outboards “Вихрь 25. But during the time of big crysis evaporated unknown way, apparently went to some thief’s financial improvement. As it was made of aluminum.
This is a trip to Kaliningrad by Germans excavated canal to Kaliningrad from Sovetsk. After this trip, there was another one by Nemunas river to Belarus.
So the project base was chosen, as design was proven by long years of operation.  And the structural material was also known in advance. Everyone seen successful landing in the Hudson River. It is interesting to see whether any other material could withstand such challenges. Nothing more durable than the planes the human race haven’t invented so far, well, unless the locomotives, but nobody cears about the weight there. And we need at least ton of fuel taken on board and reach speed up 100km/hour.


And perhaps most important reason, which led us to choose such construction, was our “girls” promise. When debates were only starting regarding construction of vessel, our “girls” (not mentioning their age) stated, that if the ship cabin will have a bedroom and a large deck, they gave us a promise to master belly dance … whether it is a gift to us. And what men could resist such a temptation? And that’s what interesting, are you 16 or 66, you want to believe in ladies promises. Although we agree, that our plans did not look healthy, at least in the minds of our ladies. But its male’s right to hunt mammoth. So 3 years passed.
According to old traditions, our imagination was the first tested during first winter days. We cannot break tradition. It is true, that the Almighty has given us a few sunny days of grace.
As far as fair, and not otherwise,  we were pleasantly overwhelmed by the result. With on-board high above the water of 120 cm, with a full size sleeping cabin and a big side and front glassing, feeling as you would be sitting home on the couch, and all you need is TV.  With Optimax 135 and 1.5 tons of total weight it easily reaches speed of 70 km/h. Make sense to mention that the engine spins up to 6500 rpm. 19-inch propeller is clearly inappropriate, well we had only such at that moment. Changing the number of passengers 2,4,6 practically had no reaction. And what’s interesting at the frontal wind, speed is significantly increasing, apparently triggered by the air bag effect. We believe that we will reach 80 km / h speed with 23-inch propeller.

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