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Russian SB20 Open National Championship - Fleet ready for action

'Nika Rus SB20 Nationals 2013'    SB20 Russia

The Russian SB20 Open National Championship attracted 31 entries! The first warning signal has been just given. After two days training, tuning and measurement controls, thirty teams registered for the event, hosted by the St.Petersburg Yacht Club, Russia, are now ready for what promises to be a full force opening day.

Given the list of competitors and level of preparation of the championship, the event promises to overshadow the previous editions. First Russian nationals were held in 2011 and from year to year the enrollment has been growing steadily. This year 31 teams with competitors from Russia, Ukraine, Portugal and Spain have registered for the Championship that is being hosted by St.Petersburg Yacht Club.

On August 22 the event was officially kicked off by the President of Russian Yachting Federation Vladimir Silkin, St.Petersburg Yacht Club’s Commodore Vladimir Lyubomirov and the President of Russian SB20 Association Oleg Zherebtsov. The high officials were all to foster the development of the SB20 in Russia and St.Petersburg. 'We see St.Petersburg as a sailing capital of Russia and SB20 class has a major role in pursuing this goal'

The list of competitors reads like 'who’s who' of the Russian Olympic and professional sailing. All medalists of the 2012 Nationals came to defend their titles and possibly to add new medals to their tally. Kirill Frolov’s 'Melston Team' has showed it’s great potential when they were third in the 2012. This year 'Melston Team' was successful on the European stage having won the Grand Slam title. No doubt they will be seeking to add a national medal before heading to Hyeres.

Already well known on the IRC and RC44 circuit Vladimir Prosikhin came to Nationals straight from the Fastnet race 2013 where he was a member of the VO70 'Monster Project/Kasatka'. With his diverse sailing experience Vladimir gains every opportunity to enhance his skills and SB20 is no exception. His well settled 'Team Nika' with 49er Olympian Artem Basalkin and professional sailor Alex Martemyanoff has endorsed their favorite status by winning the practice race. 'I take every sailing opportunity very serious and Russian Open nationals as well. We have won the last Russian SB20 Association Cup in July so we are in a good shape to withstand a strong competition' Prosikhin comments.

After last year’s glorious performance of Team Russia that dominated at national and international scenes in 2013 Oleg Zherbtsov is pursuing his third gold medal in a row. 'From year to year the competition gets tighter and this is what we were aiming for' says Oleg, 'that is what SB20 class is all about and this is our development path'. As one of the founders of Russian SB20 fleet Oleg stresses that SB20 class has everything needed to continue its expansion in Russia. 'We already have representatives of Moscow and St-Petersburg as well as several other regions of the country on the starting line. Considering that next year’s Worlds will be held in Russia, I strongly believe that number of Russian teams will double'.
As an acting Russian Champion this year Oleg is campaigning with an international team. Sailing with him will be 2012 Portuguese national champion Paulo Ramade. 'What is important here is that we are not confined to internal development of the fleet but also to establish good international relationships among SB20 sailors. This is more important given that next year we’ll be hosting World Championship!'

To face the strong Russian fleet and to investigate the area before Worlds2014 several foreign teams entered the competition. Here in St.Petersburg acting J80 world champions, the Russian-Spanish 'New Territories' team, will taste the SB20 competition for the first time in their lives. The team’s vast experience proved to be useful as they crossed the line among the top three in the practice race. 'This boat feels great downwind. In the 10 knots wind it has been literally flying. We still don’t know what to expect from our competitors thus we’ll be trying to perform our best' comments Alexey Semenyov.

Reading down the list one might notice two completely female entries as well as numerous mixed teams. In Russia the class picked up truly 'democratic' path attracting sailors of every competence age and gender. The fleet will start competing tomorrow, on August 23. 4 races are planned and the forecast promises fair winds.

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by Ivan Bidzilya


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4:10 PM Fri 23 Aug 2013GMT

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