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M*Sailing Team leads Russian J/70 Winter Sailing League

by J/Boats 2 Feb 07:49 PST 12-13 January 2019
Russian J/70 Winter Sailing League © Elena Razina

The 2019 Russian J/70 Winter Sailing League has been racing off Sochi, Russia (site of the 2014 Winter Olympics) with sailing taking place in the eastern parts of the Black Sea.

A huge summer resort, Sochi has continued to grow as a base for lots of winter activities in the mountains north of the city. A fleet of a dozen J/70s are based at the Sochi Sailing Center, managed by FGBU "Yug Sport", so that the thirteen teams from across the far reaches of Russia can compete on the water and sail a lot of waters in a short amount of time.

NSL Winter Series III

Ten teams took part in the third event from January 12th to 13th. The fleet was not blessed with good weather conditions. In fact, it was downright miserable. The yachtsmen were met with cold, torrential rain and just moderate winds. On the first day of racing, all sailing was canceled after just two races due to a lack of breeze. However, despite more rain on Sunday, there was more than enough breeze to hold up to six more races for each of the crews.

"The New Year threw us a monkey wrench," joked the Chief Judge of the competition, Nikolai Yushkov. "But, in principle, everyone was happy. True, on the first day we barely managed to hold two races. Although it was pouring rain, the wind was only good for two races. But, it all worked out on the second day, when a very good wind was blowing, up to 30 knots in the bigger gusts! Well done to all the participants, they all coped with the challenges on Sunday. The only damages we could see may have been a few egos! There were no crashes, no protests, either. Amazing! The teams sailed well, it was wet and wild for them!"

The third stage of the NSL series was the most difficult so far of the three events. A number of boats suffered some severe broaches, but survived to tell the tale; most importantly, with no ripped spinnakers. Others managed to "submarine" up to the mast in the steep, choppy waves off the Sochi waterfront!

The crew of the M*SAILNG Team XO saw a new crew member for the regatta, Mikhail Poslamovsky. He took third place in the first stage of the series as part of the M*Sailing Team, but took on a new role for himself, this time as skipper. Despite the difficult weather conditions in which the regatta took place, he considered the experience a success; the results speak for themselves. In the last three races, his team had two 2nds a 3rd.

"I felt great, even comfortable! I would like to sail another couple of races in order to improve my result," said Poslamovsky. "Our team has already improved, we feel that we are ready to go further. Compared to other big boats, the J/70 seems much better, much more comfortable. It is more maneuverable, it accelerates faster. It is much more interesting to race the J/70 than other racing yachts! In general, there is no comparison! We plan to continue to race in the Winter Series, then hopefully go to the Premier Division and win!"

The winner of the stage was again the "leading" crew from Rostov-on-Don, the M*Sailing Team. This was not surprising, considering their record of three 1st, three 2nds, and one 3rd for a total of only 12 pts in 7 races! According to the team members, their performance was a result of constant training.

"Before this stage, Andrei Malygin and I worked out here on the Laser," said Alexey Borisov, the Captain/ Coach of the M*SAILNG Team. "We had a training program, we worked hard. And, we wanted to learn more about the winds in Sochi. Andrei has a good understanding of the wind, an understanding of how the boat goes and everything else. At the present stage, I have him focusing only on tactics, not just boat speed. The training we did gave us a lot experience. And, of course, for this regatta, we do not exclude an element of luck; it is always present in sailing. We are lucky again. We plan to continue to increase the pace; it is good to complete the NSL Winter Series and the J/70 Winter Series in Monaco. In general, we have ambitious plans. We want to work harder, we strive to win, and I think everything will work out."

Second place in the January regatta went to the crew of WILD DIVISION, skippered by Alexander Bozhko, representing the Chechen Republic. The team, which debuted in the series at the last stage and took second place, again lost only to the winners of the regatta. This time, the crew was strengthened by the President of the Chechen Sailing Federation- Hasan Khadzhiev.

"This was not our first time on the J/70. Both myself and crew have trained on them. However, this was our first time in such crazy, cold, rainy, windy conditions," said Khadzhiev. Laughing, he said, "I promised my crew sun and fun in Sochi and a nice warm beach with beautiful women! But, it turned out the opposite, cold, rain and no sand, no women anywhere! Hahaha. In general, it was a test of myself and the crew. We did a good job on the coordination of our team for our upcoming regattas in the National Sailing League."

Khadzhiev continued to explain, "the Federation of Sailing Sports of the Chechen Republic has only existed since December 2016. Since that time, we have not just entered sailing, we have burst onto it! We have won prizes in both Russian and international competitions. When they announced our team for this Russian J/70 National Sailing League as "the team of the Chechen Republic", people no longer have a panic in their eyes! Instead, they say, it's amazing they came here to sail, and they look at us as genuine rivals on the race course! Of course, none of this would happen without the support of the President of our Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. He has drawn attention to our sport, is promoting it in our republic, and helped us develop the sailing program. Now, our main task is to pay attention to sailing within the republic itself. Until we have children on the water, until we have our own sailing school, it's difficult to talk about the future of the sailing federation. Nevertheless, we will grow sailing for everyone!"

The bronze medals were won by the crew of THREE 2 Sailing Team, skippered by Alexandra Peterson. Their team won the first stage of the NSL Winter Series, but unfortunately, missed the second. However, another successful performance in Sochi gives them a good chance to fight for the overall victory in the series.

NSL Winter Series IV

The fourth stage of the Russian J/70 Winter Series was, again, sailed in Sochi and hosted by FGBU "Yug Sport". Thirteen teams attended the event.

For the first time in four stages, the crews did not have to freeze and soak in the rain. Optimism abounded across the fleet as a great breeze filled in for the first day of racing on Saturday. The sailing was so good, the organizers managed to hold eight races. The participants of the Winter Series also pinned great hopes on Sunday, but the weather again brought a surprise.

"On the second day, we decided to start the race earlier," said Nikolai Yushkov, the main judge of the competition. "However, the start had to be postponed from 1030 hrs to almost 1200 hrs. The morning wind died. Then it went into a 360 and it was very, very difficult to catch at least some stretch of wind so that you could carry out a race. As a result, we miraculously managed to hold four races, and the fifth had to be canceled because it shifted and died again."

In the fourth stage, the struggle for victory in the series reached a new level. Many teams decided to strengthen their line-ups and trained with special diligence, everyone wanted to beat the crew from Rostov-on-Don, the M*Sailing Team that was in the lead after three stages. And, the efforts actually bore fruit for some team. For example, the East-West team, which was eighth in the last regatta, dramatically improved its position this time, taking fifth place.

"For us, this was actually a great result," commented Andrei Zuev of the EAST-WEST team. "To bypass such pre-eminent and famous teams, it's great! It was possible to achieve success through training with an experienced and famous yachtsman, Konstantin Besputin. Before, we did a lot of things a little bit wrong. Kostya made fine-tuning a focus of our team. And, the results were fantastic. We got two 1sts in eight races, for us it's just super! We will definitely improve further, train further. We hope that in the final we will not look bad."

Changes occurred in the crew of MATRYOSHKA. For the first time, Leonid Tarasov acted as a helmsman. And, the team immediately took seventh place, beating many experienced teams.

"Wonderful training programs helped us," said Leonid Tarasov. "But, of course, we still have to learn a lot more. The first time we race, we tanked and it sucked for us. Now, we were absolutely delighted with our improvements. The steering is cool. Of course, I want to continue skippering and learning how to go faster. It is good if we manage to keep the lineup that we had here, along with our coaches, Musikhin and Yuri Popov. I feel comfortable with them, they seem to be happy with me, too. The result is, of course, from a lot of hard work. And, I understand that I will try to improve our performance, somehow. Everything was very calm. Once there was a false start, but that race was canceled! Thank goodness. And so, for us, a wonderful stage! We loved Sochi, cool weather, much better than all three previous stages. We will participate in the following regattas and develop!"

To develop and train is what both Rostov crews are set up for. And the plans and ambitions of Rostovites are very serious; already they plan to take part in the Premier Division of the National Sailing League and win. The fact that these are not just words, but a specific task is indicated by the serious progress of the teams in the NSL Winter Series. The debutante of the last stage, the crew of the M*SAILING XO Team, has already managed to bypass ten strong teams in their second event to take the third place.

"We trained a lot and prepared for this stage. And, most importantly, we were mentally/ psychologically tuned," said Mikhail Poslamovsky, the helmsman of M*SAILING XO. "It was mentally difficult, it is very hard to sail calmly and focused when rivals are near you, for me at least. I want to do more driving, to learn how to go fast, stay calm, and get ahead. But, in general, everything was very positive. I treat this as a workout, adjusting myself so as not to get upset. Well, it turns out to be happy sometimes. My team is on fire. We will further develop, train and achieve results. To more victories!"

The silver medals of the stage were won by the crew of BATTLESHIP I with Vladimir Lyubomirov on the steering wheel. Their tally of five 2nds and three 3rds was by far the most consistent of any team in the regatta. Only a disastrous Race 7 where they posted a 7th ruined their chances for the overall regatta win.

Winning only two races, but keeping very steady top three race results, were the ultimate winners for the third regatta in row, the M*Sailing Team from Rostov-on-Don.

"Probably, it is lady luck or dumb luck, that we manage to win everything," commented skipper Andrei Malygin, laughing at himself. "We try to stay out of trouble and, hopefully, we try to win further. The next stage of the Winter Series will be missed because we are going to the J/70 races in Monaco- to participate in the famous Primo Cup- Trophee Credit Suisse. In Sochi, there will be only one of our crew - M*Sailing Team XO."

The absence of a three-time winner of the NSL Winter Series stages at the next regatta will give opponents a chance to close the gap on the leaders.

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