Ovtsyn Dmitry Leontievich 
(1708-1757)


Captain 2 rank, member of the Great Northern Expedition. 
Born in the Kostroma province in the family of small landed nobleman. In 1721 he began studying at the Moscow Navigation School, but a year later he was transferred to the Maritime Academy in St. Petersburg and graduated in 1726. One of Ovtsyn’s teachers and educators was the eminent Russian explorer A.I. Chirikov, whose influence undoubtedly affected the character of the young sailor. 
In 1725  Ovtsyn sailed navigator student on the ship of the Russian expedition to Spain. From the academy he was released as a navigator student, and in 1733  with the rank of lieutenant, he was appointed head of the Ob-Yenisei detachment in the Great North expedition. The site of this detachment was assigned the coast of Siberia from the Ob to the Yenisei. The works were to be carried out on the Tobol dubbing boat, a small two-masted ship twenty-one meters long, five meters wide, and two meters draft. The detachment consisted of fifty-three people and, in addition to the sailors and soldiers, included another surveyor, miners and hieromonk. According to the documents, the detachment was provided with all necessary first-class equipment and tools. 
Ovtsin understood that only a sea voyage is not enough for a full-scale survey of the region. Therefore, he sent out land lots for the installation of lighthouses and exploring vast areas adjacent to the sea coast and the Gulf of Ob. 
In the summer of 1734  the marine unit of the detachment descended from the Tobolsk down the Irtysh and the Ob in a dubel-boat and examined the Gulf of Ob to 70°  04'N. In September, they returned to Obdorsk (now Salekhard) and stood up for the winter. During the winter, they were preparing for a new voyage, as well as making ground exploration routes. 
In Berezovo, where Ovtsin spent the winter of 1734-1735, he met the family of the exiled Prince Alexei Dolgoruky. Subsequently, this acquaintance played a fatal role in his fate. 
At the end of May 1735 "Tobol" went to a new voyage. The ice conditions in the Gulf of Ob were extremely difficult that year. In mid-July around 69°N, solid ice blocked the ship’s path. Massive scurvy and first deaths began. The situation became critical, and the council convened by Ovtsin decided to turn back. In early September  anchored Berezov. Fulfilling the requirement of the instruction, Ovtsin, who had not yet recovered from scurvy, went to Petersburg for a two year voyage report. Despite the failure of two attempts to go to sea, he received the support of the Admiralty Board, which approved his projects for the future. 
In the spring of 1736  Ovtsyn sent out land batches to prepare lighthouses and create food depots in case of a ship’s death and forced wintering. The ship managed to reach 72° 40'N, but further the way to the east was blocked by solid ice. On the way back, Ovtsyn left warehouses with food for next year's work. 
The voyage of 1737 was more successful than all the previous ones. A new Ob-Postman bot has finally been commissioned. The boat and the boat-boat came out of the Gulf of Ob into the sea and, with an inventory, went along the coast to the mouth of the Yenisei, which they reached in the last days of August. With the fairway measurement, we managed to climb up the river almost to Turukhansk. The case entrusted to Ovtsin was carried out, but he, knowing about the unsuccessful attempts of the eastern troops to round Taimyr from the Laptev Sea, decided to do it from the west. For this purpose, at his own peril and risk, he organized a detachment on the Ob-Postman bot under the command of F.A. Minin and D.V. Sterlegov, who was supposed to go around Taimyr from the mouth of the Yenisei. Ovtsyn himself, despite the great desire, could not go on this voyage, since he received an order to appear in St. Petersburg for a report. Before leaving, he left Minin detailed instructions, the main focus of which was on research surveys, as well as the inadmissibility of any discrimination against the local population. 
On the way to St. Petersburg in Tobolsk, Ovtsyn  was unexpectedly arrested, as it turned out for his relationship with the disgraced Dolgorukikh family. He behaved courageously, he recognized the meetings with Dolgoruky, but he firmly denied any of their political reasons, which was confirmed by the testimony. All this, and also, apparently, the support of the Admiralty Board were the reason for the relatively light punishment: Ovtsyn was demoted to sailors and taken to Okhotsk at the disposal of V. Bering. Despite the concerns of Bering and Chirikov, Ovtsyn was very upset about what had happened because he was unable to complete his planned study of the coast east of the Yenisei. 
In 1741  Ovtsyn under the command of Bering participated in the swimming of the “St. Peter" to America. On the way back, the ship was thrown by a violent storm into unknown land. At this point, scurvy was rampant among the crew, many sailors died, Bering was seriously ill. He died shortly after landing. During wintering in 1741 - 1742 the sailors examined the land and found out that it was an island. By August 1742 from the wreckage of “St. Peter "with great difficulties" built a new ship and left the island, giving it the name of Bering. In late August, the ship entered the harbor of Petropavlovsk. 
In 1741  Elizabeth Petrovna ascended to the throne, and Ovtsyn, among many disgraced people, was forgiven. He was reinstated in the officer's rank and was assigned to the southern detachment, under the authority of M.P. Spanberg. However, he did not have to serve there, since the expedition’s work was discontinued. 
In subsequent years, commanding the yacht "Transport Anna" and the vessel "Mercurius", Ovtsin sailed in the Baltic Sea, as well as along the Kronstadt-Arkhangelsk highway. Only in 1749  for participation in the New Kamchatka Expedition, he was promoted to captain 2 rank. Many of his peers, who did not have such merit, were by that time two or three ranks higher. 
Until the end of his days, Ovtsyn was in the ranks: in 1751 he commanded the ship "Gavriil", in 1755 became the second-quartermaster of the fleet. On July 25, 1757  due to illness, he was transferred to a hospital ship and died in August of this year. The burial place is unknown. 
The western strait between the island of Sibiryakov and the mainland. Named by A.I. Vilkitsky in 1895.

 

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