Smallest Russian Submarine: Officially Registered as Boat (Thanks, Colin!)
“I was not satisfied with the fate that was laid out for me. I wanted to satisfy myself and to have some respect for my life. If I learned to respect myself, I felt it would be easier to find my niche in life. I didn't know it would work. I just hoped.”
His family, particularly his father, condemned him and his submarine flights of fancy, and the longer the construction took, the more he complained. The first test of the sub came in 1984 and it “sank like a stone,” in Puchkov’s own words, breaking a rudder in the process and setting a climate for the early dives, which were always a bit tense. He said of those times:
“I was so distracted watching for leaks and checking all the equipment, that I didn't have time to enjoy it. You don't remember a thing afterward.”
It took three years before he was able to get the submarine to dive and surface. In 1988, he put the reinforced plastic sub in a box on a truck and shipped it to the Tosna River about 15 miles south of St. Petersburg. There, he continued his nocturnal voyages and in 1994, he took to the open sea on a secret cruise to the island of Kronshtadt, a closed military base in the Gulf of Finland.