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Wild Division wins Radio Monte Carlo J/70 Winter Series

by J/Boats 10 Mar 03:22 PDT 1-3 March 2019
Radio Monte Carlo J/70 Winter Series 2019 © Nikita Starodubtsev

Over the March 1st to 3rd weekend, the final stage of the Russian J/70 League Radio Monte Carlo Winter Series took place off Sochi, Russia, with sailing taking place on the capricious Black Sea.

Hosting the event for the twenty J/70 teams from across Russia was FGBU "Yug Sport". For the third year in a row, the winner was the Chechen Republic's Wild Division, skippered by Alexander Bozhko (one of the premiere crew members on Valeriya Kovalenko's famous Russian J/70 called ARTTUBE RUS1)!

In early March, the weather in Sochi changes rapidly and is very inconsistent. Storms and cold with giant waves one day, perfect sunny warm spring weather the next. Not surprisingly, Sochi's weather gods lived up to that reputation for the first day of racing for the anxious crews watching the ferocious weather offshore. It was so nasty, the boats were never rigged; not surprising considering there were 10-15 foot waves at the harbor mouth and 20-35 kt winds!

"To our great regret, the finale began very poorly," commented the Chief Judge of the competition, Nikolai Yushkov. "The first day was stormy, such that we could not even get out sailing. The waves were huge, breaking way over the pier, the wind was very strong, and, of course, there was no point in breaking the boats."

On Saturday, the wind abated, dropping into the 10-20 kts range. Although the waves were still big, the organizers decided to go sailing. As a result, they turned out five races, with varying winds and difficult conditions. When the wind strengthened in the afternoon, and breakdowns began to occur on the boats, the racing was stopped- with the hope that the weather would improve on Sunday.

"Thankfully, the Good Lord heard us and gave us a most magnificent day on the final Sunday," continued Nikolai Yushkov. "We had nine races. There was a beautiful wind, the perfect direction; the sun came out, which warmed all the participants. The day was very productive overall. The struggle for the top of the podium was very hard. The winners of the Winter Series will show themselves well in the National Sailing League, they will be able to race and fight for prizes. They are very good sailing teams."

The winner of the Winter Series was the Wild Division Team from the Chechen Republic Sailing Federation. Throughout the winter season, the team stayed among the leaders of the series. "At various stages of the series, we changed the composition of the team, we trained hard, we tested how to improve our boathandling," said Bozhko, the team's skipper. "And, in the finals, the team really wanted to win. On the first day, there was a strong wind, but we managed. We were able to show a good result; we managed to get three 2nds!"

In the six races on Sunday, the Wild Division crew won three races, took two 2nds. Such consistency enabled them to bypass all their rivals and their Chechen team won the gold medals for the overall series.

"We decided to perform our best in the Sochi J/70 Winter Series, to show the world that sailing in the Chechen Republic has not been forgotten! In fact, it is developing," said the President of the Chechen Sailing Federation, Hassan Hajiyev. "The federation is very young, it is only 2.5 years old. The team is the innovation of Alexander Bozhko. Alex gathered our team together and he trained them. Now, our Chechen Sailing Federation is taking the first steps to develop sailing in Chechnya. So, we hope to encourage the young guys, the young girls in this beautiful sport, that includes not only physical exertion, but also the human intellect, it is like chess on the water. This is very important for human development. A yachtsman must know geography, physics, and geometry. Accordingly, the preparation of the children must be at the same level, we must begin to teach them from the beginning such intellectual challenges!"

Second place in the series finals was taken by the crew of ZID ART Sailing team from Moscow. Last season, the team sailed in the Premier Division of the National Sailing League and won the right to move to the top division.

"For us, the Winter Series was a serious training process and preparation for the Higher Division of the NPL," said the skipper of the team Zoran Paunovich. "What we wanted to achieve, we achieved. We risked a lot, we tried many different options. A lot of things happened to us. We tried to find ways out of such situations, and to a greater degree succeeded. The first race day here, we demonstrated that we could win in such tough conditions. And, the second racing day showed, that in good conditions, we can not only win, but also lose. This year, we plan to be in the top ten of the NPL Supreme Division. We also want to participate in the J/70 European Championship in Italy in June of this year, but without any special ambitions. This year should show what we are ready for and what we can do!"

Another debutante of the Winter Series, the M*Sailing Team from Rostov-on-Don, was ranked third. The result was excellent, but the team that led in several stages probably wanted more.

"Today the weather was atypical for Sochi. Twisted, twisted, there were some holes, puffs from the right and left," said the skipper Andrey Malygin. "There were no unambiguous solutions. And, the one who read the weather better, he won. All teams were even, everyone prepared for the final. All the teams had their best sailors pushing hard. I think our result is normal; there were a couple of errors. But, in general, everyone is happy!".

Visit here for more Russian J/70 Sailing League Sailing information

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