National Sailing League athletes conquer Kazanka waters
The National Sailing League is taking place in the Kazanka River waters until 30 August: what it will be like and what to expect
Russia’s biggest sailing project — National Sailing League — is in Kazan again. This year the competition is scheduled from 21 to 30 August in the Kazanka River waters. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.
Hoist the sail
The second leg of the 4th season of Russia’s biggest sailing project National Sailing League kicked off in the Kazanka River waters last Friday, on 21 August. The competition has two leagues: the first division (from 21 to 23 August) and the premier division (from 28 to 30 August). The Kazan leg is dedicated to the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the 100th Anniversary of the TASSR.
The premier league is designed for more professional athletes and is, as a rule, represented by Olympians. This part of the competition includes a closer fight for a victory. The first division is designed for ordinary race amateurs, for pleasure. However, anybody can participate in it. The main requirement is not to have professional athletes at the steering wheel.
“Amateurs compete for pleasure, they also meet the rules and so on. As for professional sport, they are psyched up for a victory. If you go to premier races, you will see their manner of racing is harsher and more abrupt, there are more protests, more cries on the water, the speeds are higher,” says Vice Director General of Sports Affairs of the National Sailing League Anna Zenkina.
Two teams are representing Tatarstan in the races: Khimgrad-Kazan and ActiveMapSailing. The first league has 12 teams in total from such cities as Kazan, Naberezhnye Chelny, Sochi, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Snezhinsk, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg. 20 teams are competing in the premier league, including from the Tatarstan capital.
The best three teams in the first division will be able to join the premier division. The winner of the latter gets the right to compete in the Sailing Champions League to fight for the European sailing champion title. Last year, 5 teams represented Russia: Saint Petersburg Yacht Club (Saint Petersburg), PIRogovo (Moscow), Saint Petersburg Yacht Club Sailing Sport Academy, ArtTube RUS1 (Moscow), Calipso (Tuapse).
Against the wind
The Kazan waters aren’t as simple as it might seem from the riverbank. There are gale-force winds in closed water bodies, unlike marine ones. Due to this both sailors and referees have problems. First of all, whirlwinds have a negative impact on the race, as a result of which the fight for the first place stops being fair. So on 23 August, it became possible to hold nine races. During the two days of the first division of the league, sailors were on the start line 20 times.
Identical J70 yachts are competing in all the races. It should be noted that the sports sailing rules are as simple as a traffic code. Several referees at the same time ensure the rules are respected both on the water and on the land.
The judging system in sailing helps react to sailors’ violations immediately. The boat assuming that some of the opponents has violated the rules can raise a special flag, and a referee will respond right away. Members of the yacht crew can also seek justice going ashore. For this purpose, they can file a claim by demonstrating the way the boat was moving on paper and proving orally the race was not fair.
Two people in a boat
Realnoe Vremya managed to experience all great things of sailing on that day. It is one thing to see yachts manoeuvre when making turns charmingly and literally lay down to one side on the water. Another thing is to be on board, under the sail, among numerous ropes in the middle of the Kazanka waters.
The guests were assured in advance the yachts were completely safe and couldn’t turn over and sink. Though the angle of leaning when turning to a side looks quite dangerous and scary. The short trip included all safety rules: training, life jackets and an experienced crew of two people aboard.
Realnoe Vremya’s correspondents got to the board of the yacht number three, with crew members of Khimgrad-Kazan team — Aleksandr and Olesya. Both are candidates for sports masters. For Aleksandr, this is already the 22nd sailing league season, for Olesya — the 12th.
It takes 5 minutes to get ready for the start. And the yacht bravely goes towards victory with the help of wind and skilled leadership. One should be not only strong and artful in the boat but also careful to avoid injuries when moving the sail or switching from one board to the other during manoeuvres.