Oleg Tinkov: “I am not a sailor and not a romantic …”

Oleg Tinkov does not need an introduction. As a successful businessman and a talented athlete, he is known far beyond the borders of Russia, but he is a new person in yachting. For two and a half years, Damen and Amels have been working on his yacht: in the summer, her finished hull was delivered to Holland, where the shipyard began to equip and furnish it. Oleg Tinkov became the first customer and owner of an expeditionary yacht from the SeaXplorer range presented in 2016, and in a year he will receive his 77-meter boat.

Oleg, how did you get the idea to build a yacht, and even an explorer?

In February 2017, I was in Kamchatka, heliski, we flew by helicopter to the Kuriles, and I realized that we couldn’t get any further due to the limitations of the bear (Mi-8 helicopter. – Ed.) . We only flew to the island of Onekotan and were the first people to ski there. Then I thought: what about next? Need a boat … Which boat? Then I got a catalog. In general, I have long been interested in Amels, I wanted to order an ordinary boat from them someday, because, in my understanding, they met price and quality.

Have you ever been to friends with Amels yachts?

And he had friends, and at the plant, in general, he saw many boats. German everything is already quite expensive, and a little cold, stiff … There, of course, engineering, but on the finish … Finishing is very important to me. For example, I fly on the Falcon, because the Falcon has a better finish. The Gulf Stream are good planes, and the Global is not bad, but the European Falcon has a completely different level of finish. Amels are always very well finished, the interiors are customized, and everything is very good with details – it matters to me, I love the style, and therefore I always looked at Amels. And when suddenly I accidentally got this book, I started flipping through … a helicopter … Oh my god, it's my heliski in the Kuril Islands! And by the way, in my program (charter) at the beginning of 2021 there were only two weeks in the Kuril Islands, and both of them have already been delivered.

Do you have time to ride?

Yes, I will be the very first – I have the first week, and the next two are delivered. So the Kuril Islands are handed over, now Kamchatka is only six weeks away.

Why didn’t you go the other way by buying an ordinary yacht and a support vessel, where helicopters, snowmobiles, and anything else can be based?

Maybe there isn’t so much money … I don’t know. Well, somehow, it seems to me, it’s immodest for me … two yachts. In addition, this boat has an ice class "1C" – as far as I know, so far no one has this, everyone has a "D". In a crumb she can calmly swim. And ice … as we know, there were cases, even among our friends, who went into the Antarctic, and there they hit, and they were bent. For example, we want to go to Chukotka in June, everything will already be there. (Oleg finds in the magazine a photograph of a ship surrounded by crushed ice.) But there is beauty … Providence Bay, Wrangel Island … Accordingly, this is important, but we are not talking about icebreaking, because this is already chatter … these are already classes “B” and “A”, other motors, other approaches. I generally believe that a private boat cannot be “B” or “A”. That is, of course, it can, but this is completely stupid. There is a lot of noise, and this is an icebreaker, but why do you need it?

You reason as a person familiar with the topic. Where did all this knowledge and experience come from?

Since 2017, I have been doing all this, but I don’t really dig into it. By the way, I’ll immediately make a reservation that there are people who build boats – they are directly passionate about this. Frankly, I have been building for two and a half years, the year has remained, and during this time my level of engagement was approximately one e-mail per month and two visits. There was a visit to the descent and there was a bookmark. In general, I’m still planning to get the boat, maybe come once. That is, it turns out only three visits in two to three years. I am not keen on this … I know that people build, steam, rearrange something somewhere, cabins, a toilet here … And SeaXplorer is essentially a custom boat: as they offered it to me, so I bought it.

Naturally, I took our brilliant St. Petersburg designer Vasily Shrytsa, who, I am sure, will break this industry. He did everything to me LaDatcha, and already Amels says that this is the best design that they saw. This is a more professional dude, because all these Vinci and other comrades charge five times more. Not two – five! And they are all overworked, arrogant or their gaze is blocked. And Vasya did everything well. That is, I got tired, took my designer, because interiors and tactility are important to me. But what’s where it’s … Rob McCallum and the other guys from EYOS Expeditions know. Damen, Amels are great people, and why should I go to the professionals? It’s like if someone comes to me now and tells me how to make debit cards. I know that Tinkoff Black is, in fact, the best card on the market, in fact the best – not only in essence. And I don’t need to be taught this. So I do not want to teach them. I didn’t change anything on the boat: everything, as they did …

SeaXplorer 77 hull ready for launch

Oleg Tinkov with his sons in training

Oh no! I lied! Changed one thing, the key. When I brought our best mountain helicopter pilots Sasha Davydov and Arseny Boldyrev to Amels, and we sat there for several hours talking, both of them and Kolya Veselovsky, our country's main helisker, said: Oleg, you cannot do any expeditions and excursions with one helicopter. You must have a backup, because in any remote zone, whether it be the Kuril Islands, Kamchatka or the Northern Sea Route, no one will save you. You can fully use one helicopter in the Mediterranean, because there is a backup. We are not talking about some tragic things, but simply, for example, the engine stalled, it doesn’t work … so you sat down, and it won’t start, who will save you in Papua New Guinea or anywhere? That is, here we have several so-called explorers, they are all with one helicopter – you all know the names, all the Russians are there. These are fake explorers, because in a helicopter you can fly around only the coastline. If something happens, you can walk to the coast on foot or go down on a snowboard, a tender will be sent for you and you will be saved, while the boat should be in sight. And if you fly ten minutes deep into the next drop, then you should have gone a day from there, and you have minus thirty and the nearest border guards in a thousand kilometers.

But you can use the satellite emergency beacon.

They will see you, they will understand that you are there, but who will fly to save? Military? When will they arrive? Not immediately … On the same Kuril Islands or the Solomon Islands they will not save you quickly: there is no infrastructure. Somewhere in the Northwest Passage, yes, the Canadians have some kind of infrastructure there, they will probably be saved there, but no one will save you in the Russian part, there is nothing there, only the military, who are far away. In general, without two helicopters you cannot do full-fledged heliskiing, helituring, and even expeditions deep into the mainland. And it was not mine, but my helicopter pilots (thought). The SeaXplorer catalog was 65 meters, and why did it suddenly become 77 meters? This is the second helicopter, and we insisted that they remake the boat under us. And Amels is very grateful to us that we prompted them: they now have the following people there, like more orders, and they, of course, will already be doing with two helicopters. And this is our Russian know-how, so to speak, so we can safely be proud that Amels produces not just boats, but also with Russian know-how.

What helicopters do you plan to put there?

Eurocopter B3, because for heliskiing they simply have no competitors and generally for operations in the mountains. All records belong to him, universality, price, quality. Twin-engine are meaningless, because they eat a lot of fuel, heavy. If you go to Canada, New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland – wherever you go, the Eurocopter B3 will fly everywhere on heliski: this car is irreplaceable.

If you are not personally involved in the construction process, then either believe the shipyard or you have a supervisory team and a captain …

I don’t even have a captain yet, now I want to hire. I have a project manager, Stefano Feltrin, an Italian, he sits in Rome, and I would not say that he often flies there – he also flew three times, probably. I have Fraser doing this, something is looking there, but, in fact, this is money thrown away. From the very beginning I did not believe in the idea of ​​a survey. I paid a lot of money, two and a half years passed, and I can say that this was not the best idea, because they do not give anything. I believe that a brand does a good thing, and Amels is a big brand. From the fact that Fraser sends me a bunch of photos of some wires and walls there every month, I should have a mental calm. But if it is rationally sorted out, then I just threw, relatively speaking, a million euros in three years.

Eurocopter AS350B3 – a deeply modernized helicopter, the first in the world to land on top of Mount Everest

The shipyard reports that the work is being conducted ahead of schedule: is it you who are pushing them, or are they working so fast?

They know that we should be in time for the next year's Monaco Yacht Show, and I don’t make them special. I rarely speak to them at all. Maybe at the final stage I somehow get excited when there is some kind of finish and it will become interesting to me, but now it is a piece of iron. Something is being cooked there …

When you took pictures against the backdrop of this powerful building, did you feel any feelings at all?

There were feelings, there were, I will not dissemble. I generally went with such a skeptical thought … some kind of nonsense, I do not want to. They (the shipyard) insisted I went for the sake of the children. I have two sons, took them with me, the boys are interested. And when they started this descent to some famous Queen song, my heart sank, a tear … Still, we designed it for a year, built a year and a half, still a year remained. It's cool when you see how a project is being drawn, painted, painted … engineers show you – well, cool, and then such garbage flops into the water. This, of course, is emotional.

By the way, there is a full-fledged pressure chamber. Therefore, the boat has two large cartoons. For divers it's a mecca, everything is there. I understand little about this, but professional divers said that this is generally one of the most packed boats. And there is everything for heliski, and it excites me, this is the part that I like. But the construction itself …

There would be a bicycle, and you can ride everywhere, even at the North Pole!

I don’t know, maybe I’m somehow not like that? Maybe I'm some kind of strange man, because the peasants should like all this. But I have the same with cars. To be honest, I also have a very utilitarian attitude towards cars: I go and go, and for me – car and car. I have a Rolls-Royce, everyone asks how much horsepower, but I say – I don’t know, she’s going and going. In short, I’m probably some other. It doesn’t excite me to build boats – it excites me to conquer … I conquered the North and South Poles in a year, my son and I own a world descent record (we made 33,000 meters of vertical drop in a day) – Kolya Veselovsky claims that this is a world record. These things excite me, and building a boat, moving decks, choosing where the toilet will be and where the bar is not. I’ve just been on this boat, it’s a cool boat! (Oleg points to a photograph of A. Sailing-motor superyacht)

How do you rate her design?

Very good, I really like it. I know that there is a lot of skepticism around boat A, but people just envy it. Envy must be silent! Beautiful design, I was inside, a beautiful boat, Andrey built a wonderful yacht, one of the best in the world. Not the fact that I would build one myself, we are all different. But he built himself, you know, this is his boat, he wants it that way. And she is beautiful. Those who say that she is ugly are simply envious.

Doesn’t it pull you around the world?

Well, in fact it will be around the world. The boat will go past Kamchatka, the Kuril Islands to Antarctica, then rise to Papua New Guinea, Greenland – this is the world around.

This boat will go, but will you be aboard?

And I'll fly up … What's the point of sitting there? I'm not a sailor. I generally do not like when it shakes. We were now in Greenland, where I took the Legend expedition boat (77 m). Old-old, it was still built for the Soviet Union, also in Holland, but alive, and this inspired me with hope, since the Dutch are building such things. How old is she, 35 years old? And when we went to the side of Canada to see bears and icebergs, I started to swing, and I did not like it. I am not a sailor, I am sick of it, my wife is also sick, so the transitions are excluded – only Falcon, which will bring us to the point.

Will you follow the interior decoration more closely?

Yes, I will follow the interiors more carefully, but also “did – accepted”. I made such an order to Vasily: Rolls-Royce is not needed, but Volkswagen is not needed either – Range Rover is needed, it's an explorer. That is, luxury, quality, expensive, but at the same time utilitarian, masculine style. There will be a multi-colored LED backlight, in the northern parts – red, in the southern – blue. I saw their last boats at Amels, a wonderful finish, but it is for Portofino.

Already tried to dive from the bow deck head down?

I did this once and got a whiplash neck injury, I still have problems. I jumped from the third deck, ten meters head down – it was on Santorini. I dive quite well, but it was the dumbest idea in my life. Now I am suffering, because it immediately threw me away, and I ride a bike worse. Now I don’t even jump down, because that’s all’s it! I am fifty now!

By the way, about bicycles … Will their garage be on board?

Yes, of course, there will be a garage, and I will bring about six of my professional road racers there. And, of course, there will be mountain bikes. And now electric bikes are still in fashion, without them, so there will be a couple of electric bikes for those who, let's say, are less athletic.

You didn’t want to participate in the charity bike race London – Monaco, which is arranged by Andrew Vinca studio?

And yes, my name is constantly, but there is no time and desire. I'm generally tired of racing. I drove the last race in Moscow in 2006 – it was called "Five Rings of Moscow", this is a professional race, not a ride. This is a real UCI 2.2 race with real racers and licenses. And all this is not a race, but a brawl: people gathered, they stuck numbers, and they drove off … But it was a race, I was preparing for it for a long time, I lost 15 or even 20 kilograms. I know many Russian entrepreneurs, my friends who participate in these grand funds, go on some kind of hot tours, but I don’t understand this. Sticking a number and driving alongside thick Dutch aunts is not a race for me. Since I am a master of sports in cycling, for me the race is when you got a number and that’s it: you have blinkers, you went, you are a horse. And for this you have to prepare at least six months. And I don’t understand those people: they sit in Forte dei Marmi, ride a bike for two weeks, and then go on a race, there’s a hot tour there with a climb of 3,000 meters a day. Firstly, they are morons, because it is very bad for the cardiovascular system, and they just kill themselves. It is very stupid, very short-sighted, and it is not interesting to me. If I put on my number, I’ve already gone — I’m like that. I am in business like that. Since I understand how difficult it is to prepare for this, I don’t even want to start!

And the yacht party on the Riviera is also not for you? Is it boring to just sit on a yacht, drink, eat? ..

Of course! Incidentally, I just returned from Sardinia. I also have a boat, the new Pershing 9X, beautiful, beautiful. We were there for three days, we all saw, of course, we went to Porto Cervo in Novikov, to Grotto Lobster, to and fro … We saw everyone, all the oligarchs are standing, all the "dibbles" are in place … so what? And this was already the thirtieth time for me. I'm not interested in hanging out there. And there’s even nowhere to get up in the area of ​​Porto Cervo, Porto Rotondo and Cala di Volpe! Lord, you have such boats – 80 meters, 140 meters! – Well, you go somewhere at least, well, you tear off your ass! At least go to Greece somewhere, at worst – to some Panteleria, go down … No, here they will be sitting there! Here is their route: Portofino, Porto Cervo and Monaco – such a triangle … Well, what it is! .. I’m not interested. Therefore, when I receive SeaXplorer, after the exhibition in Monaco, she will go to our hometown of Forte dei Marmi to take a photo against the background of my LaDatcha palazzo, then she will go to Porto Cervo, I will take a photo for marketing, and for the next five years she will not be on The Mediterranean Sea.

And how did your family react to the decision to build such a boat?

They also have no great enthusiasm. Sons 16 and 19 years old, daughter 25. I know that in some families the attitude to boats is different, everyone is waiting for them … but we are not such a marine family. Dad is building something there, well, to hell with him. This is probably more interesting for boys than for me. And I have a dream to make money on it. On everything that I do, I try to earn money. I understand that people from your industry look at me like an idiot when I say that I want to take it in for 30 weeks (in a year) … You're kidding, probably they are talking. Well, I won’t give up 30, but I’m sure. It will be built in 14 months, and I have already passed four weeks, and I believe that it will give in 20+ weeks, so for me this is still partly a commercial project. All my LaDatcha are profitable.

If it's not a secret, how much are you renting?

Так это прямо на сайте написано; по-моему, € 740 000 плюс мы скидки даем. Она стоит дороже, но я хочу демпинговать, чтобы рынок захватить. У нее вообще нет конкурентов, но даже если взять те, которые мы знаем, они сдаются за 750–800 тысяч. Но я сразу говорю, что мы очень мотивированы, поэтому даем скидки, и цена будет очень хорошая.

Если размышлять прагматично, то для последующей перепродажи как раз выгоднее было бы привлечь известных яхтенных дизайнеров…

Я считаю, что Василий Шприц сделал не хуже. На сайте есть виртуальный тур, можете сами пойти и посмотреть. Чем это хуже Винча? Если кто-то покупает лодку только лишь потому, что это Винч, то, наверное, он странный человек. Кроме того, я не планирую ее продавать. Будет она зарабатывать — прекрасно, не будет — ничего страшного, буду сам платить за нее. Я же зарабатываю деньги, у меня хороший бизнес. Я ж не на последние ее строю и как-то уж буду ее содержать.

Олег, у нас в стране все скрывают свои яхты, пытаются, по крайней мере, а вы и тут идете против течения. Почему?

Вот это была хорошая поправка! С одной стороны, я вообще люблю против течения, а с другой, ты очень хорошо сказал… пытаются! Назови мне лодку, и я тебе скажу, кто ее хозяин. Это секрет Полишинеля: все скрывают, но все всё знают. Всякие «форбсы» все уже написали, кому лодки принадлежат. Потом не забывайте, все-таки я сам деньги заработал. Я же не чиновником был или там еще где-то… Я с детства, с нуля, все мои бизнесы понятны, я сделал IPO, два раза SPO, все мои деньги с биржи и мною заработаны. Что мне скрывать?

Мне кажется, я просто умнее, чем эти товарищи, которые, на самом деле, как и я, заработали деньги легально. Я не беру тех, кому действительно нужно скрывать, а таких мы знаем. Когда ты начинаешь скрывать, все равно это вызывает интерес, и это копают, все всплывает, и это начинают раздувать. А в чем я умный, так это в том, что сам сразу заявил да еще и видео вывесил. И все, тема сразу снялась — ее нету, потому что спекулировать нечем. Да, это Тиньков, вот тут буквами метровыми написано Tinkoff Collection. Да, это моя лодка. Что я, за 30 лет работы не заработал на лодку? Я же ее купил в 51 год, а не в 25, и я не являюсь сыном какого-нибудь министра…

Когда вы решили купить первую более или менее крупную яхту?

«Першинг» я купил примерно два года назад. У меня сейчас друг один все мучается: купить лодку за миллион, или за три, или вообще за пять старую десятилетнюю. Он моряк, ему нравится этот процесс — в лодках разбираться. Я ему говорю:  ты арендуй и работай много, а когда накопишь деньги, то уже реализуй свою мечту, купи что-то хорошее, метров пятьдесят, немецкое или голландское, а не этот пластик итальянский 35-метровый… Раньше у меня не было возможности, я и не лез туда.

На ваше решение стать судовладельцем как-то повлиял Ричард Брэнсон?

Вообще никак. У него катамаран какой-то лет пять назад был, кажется австралийский, дешевый достаточно. Ричард не потратит никогда, не купит лодку, потому что он англичанин, а вы же знаете — англичане в большинстве своем достаточно прижимистые. В некотором смысле, да и во многих смыслах это выброшенные деньги, а он слишком рациональный, чтобы такие покупки делать. Надо признать, что покупка яхты не есть рациональная покупка, это из серии «один раз живем», чисто российское.

Я не считаю, что нужно детям много денег оставлять, поэтому оставлю им LaDatcha, например, и еще что-то. А огромный кэш оставлять детям не очень здорово, и тут я согласен с рядом состоятельных людей мира. В России это в последнее время становится популярным, хотя я себя не отношу к супербогатым людям, скорее я средний класс, и понимаю это еще более отчетливо, когда смотрю на все эти лодки в Порто-Черво и Кала ди Вольпе. И тогда встает вопрос: мне 50 лет, как потратить деньги? Вот можно построить экспедиционную лодку, кайфануть, увидеть 95% побережья мира. Напоминаю, Средиземное море и весь BVI составляют около 5% береговой линии, то есть все эти товарищи, которые накупили стометровых лодок и трутся тут, видят только 5% от того, что они теоретически могли бы увидеть. Соглашусь, что половина из этого — нечего смотреть, но 50% есть что посмотреть.

Поэтому я попытаюсь сделать что-то новое, интересное, прикольное, и мне кажется, что экспедиционные лодки сейчас войдут в тренд. Конечно, его задали до меня, а я вошел в него как-то перпендикулярно — я про них не читал, не думал, а пришел с хелиски, как бы сбоку, со спорта, и мне повезло попасть в этот тренд и даже оказаться впереди. Поэтому я строю вещь, на которой не просто деньги запалю, но сделаю еще что-то новое, и моим детям это как-то достанется, какая-то новая штучка. А может быть, это будет пусть и не кэш-машина, но какой-то бизнесок… Когда я строил LaDatcha, то думал: блин, как дорого, в Астрахани — 12 миллионов евро, кто ж в России такое делает? А сейчас она забита полностью: август, сентябрь, октябрь — ни одного места нет. То есть оно работает и приносит деньги.

А на лодке ожидаете в основном западных клиентов?

Трудно сказать, думаю, это будет 50/50. На других LaDatcha у меня 85% русских, а здесь, думаю, будет какой-то баланс, потому что идут запросы из Америки, Канады, в основном это хелискиеры, которые хотят на Камчатку. Мой центральный агент Edmiston cказал, что американцы будут хорошо эту штуку снимать.

То есть брокеров вы все же привлекли?

Я сделал тендер, встретился со всеми «подозреваемыми»: для меня Burgess слишком мажорный, они слишком большие, и я у них был бы маленький клиент, а это неинтересно. В итоге в тендере остались Fraser и Edmiston. Fraser неплохие ребята, но Edmiston мне больше понравились тем, что они готовы идти на годовой контракт, а те хотели пятилетний безразрывный. Когда я сказал: давайте годовой с продлением, — они отказались, а меня это пугает. Если люди не готовы делать пролонгацию, значит, что-то тут не то. А по большому счету, мне кажется, что все они одинаковые.

Планируете вести бизнес с лодки?

Я всегда веду бизнес, когда путешествую, потому что в некотором смысле я больше работаю, когда отдыхаю, чем когда нахожусь на работе. Вот сейчас я на работе, а вместо этого про отдых разговариваю, а там я работаю, и это нормально. Но какого-то специального офиса там нет.

В этом году поедете на выставку в Монако?

Нет, я знаю, что она в сентябре, но у нас в это время как раз будет тимбилдинг в Форте-дей-Марми. Да и что мне там смотреть? Свою лодку поеду смотреть через год, доживу, надеюсь. А сейчас менеджер мой поедет, посмотрит… Мы уже все закупили: «игрушки», тендеры, подводную лодку Triton… дорогая она такая, мама дорогая! Яхт с подводными лодками, наверное, не так много в чартере, а на моей есть.

При всей вашей практичности вы сентиментальный человек?

А я не знаю, что такое сентиментальный, расскажите! У меня просто с русским языком не очень…

А вот вы сядете на ваш новый корабль, пойдете по Северо-Западному проходу и внезапно поймете, что это ваше, что вы уже не хотите сходить на берег…

Вполне. Такое бывает, да. Понятно, что с возрастом все меньше ты во что-то влюбляешься и понимаешь, что это твое… Когда-то, на заре юности, у меня так произошло с велосипедом, и я до сих пор катаюсь. Когда один еду в гору, поднимаюсь на перевал Коль-де-Мадолен, а это 20 километров, страдаю полтора часа на пульсе 160, вокруг все эти запахи, потом спуск, который я проехал на 90 км/ч, поставив рекорд последних лет, испытываю наивысшую эйфорию.

Потом я познакомился с горнолыжным спортом… мелькание елок, боль в ногах, падения — это мое. Сейчас я катаюсь с разбитыми коленями, с артрозом четвертой степени, и когда меня спрашивают: тебе не больно? — отвечаю, что с болью катаюсь, чувствую ее на каждом повороте, но для меня это очень важная часть моей жизни. Станет ли яхтинг таким, не знаю, посмотрим. Повторюсь, я не моряк, и не романтик, кайфующий от соленых брызг в лицо. Хотя кто знает, может, яхтинг будет новым увлечением моей жизни…

Текст Антон Черкасов-Нисман Фото Damen, Tinkoff

Chief Editor

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