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Russian Pilgrim dispatches greeting to Duluth from Lake Erie

"If everything goes well, I hope by the end of August," to be in the Twin Ports, captain says.

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(Gary Meader / gmeader@duluthnews.com)
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The captain of the Russian tall ship replica sailing for Duluth said an August arrival is possible, and that he hopes to make Detroit at the west end of Lake Erie in two to five days.

"Thank you for your attention to the expedition," Sergey Sinelnik wrote late Thursday. "It is difficult to say when we will be able to arrive in Duluth. If everything goes well, I hope by the end of August."

The Pilgrim originated an around-the-world journey in Duluth's Sister City of Petrozavodsk, Russia two years ago. A Rochester, New York television reporter, John Kucko, noticed the boat and was the first to begin chronicling its arrival on the Great Lakes.

It’s a remarkable voyage ," Kucko told the News Tribune.

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The Pilgrim departs Buffalo, NY, Thursday. (Photo courtesy of John Kucko Digital)

Duluth Sister Cities International executive director Ben Thwaits said Friday that "while this fascinating project is on our radar, we are not involved in the planning. As far as we know, this is all independently conceived and planned by the sailors themselves."

Indeed, the mission has reached a sort of winging-it stage, according to Sinelnik.

"We do not yet have any agreements with a free pier to demonstrate our historic boat to the residents of the city of Duluth," he wrote. "In Duluth, the plan is to load our boat onto a trailer and move it to Seattle or the Columbia River."

So far, there are no sufficient funds for the move, the captain added.

"But we hope that some company will be interested in transporting our boat," the captain wrote, adding that the crew is documenting and making a film, and willing to hang advertising banners on the sides for the transporting company.

"Fair winds to you!" Sinelnik wrote. "We will be in touch."

Thwaits was eager to meet the adventurers taking a 40-foot wooden sailing boat bound for Alaska.

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"We certainly look forward to greeting them when they get to town," he said. "If there was ever a time when the world needs inspiring stories of global unity, this is it!"

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The Pilgrim departs Buffalo, NY, Thursday. (Photo courtesy of John Kucko Digital) free card

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