Thursday, March 7, 2013

Russian J/70 Racing is Family & Friends Affair!

J/Russia- Grigory and Dmitrii(Kaliningrad, Russia)- Over the past several years, the Russian sailors have become increasingly visible on the international sailing circuit and they're developing their local sailing talent quite quickly.  Having sailed the J/80s in Lanzarote, Canary Islands for their Russian Federation Sailing Championships, the Russian sailing teams are not only learning fast, they've taken a few "plays" from the Spanish and French "playbook" on how to develop better, faster, smarter sailors!  This past year JBoats in Europe was pleased to announce the creation of "J/Russia" with partners Grigory Aksenov and Dmitrii Zaritckii.

We had a chance to catch up with this dynamic duo recently after their participation in the J/70 class at the Primo Cup in Monaco.  Here's Dmitrii's commentary,

"For starters, we just picked up MOJO, the first J/70 in Russia and Eastern Europe, she just arrived to Kaliningrad, South Baltic, Russia!  As you know, already much has been written about Primo Cup Monaco before. So, we will add our $0.02 about our experiences so far as J/Russia!

J/70 Russian sailors- Grigory and DmitriiThe big news is that the J/70s just had their first regatta in Europe, debuting at the Primo Cup at Yacht Club Monaco.  We have sailed in the Primo Cup before, so know it well and love it! This is a good event to start the European sailing season, with good organization, comfort and the social part is especially great, if not fantastic!  How can you not like Monte Carlo!? Unfortunately, the weather in the Bay of Monaco was a real challenge, due to the proximity of the mountains. The wind was not stable coming offshore from the North, constantly changing direction and strength. But, the high level of competition and sailing new one-design J/70s made this regatta very interesting for us. We will definitely go to Primo Cup Monaco again next year!!

We were happy to see the tremendous interest and focus on the J/70s by Yacht Club de Monaco.  There were dozens of participants who came up to us and asked us our opinion of the J/70s! Needless to say, we enjoyed ourselves sailing the J/70, it's quite easy to steer, easier to control the sails and easier to crew relative to other types of sailing boats.  Just so you know, for a basis of comparison, we've had a lot of experience of racing against top Europeans and Russians sailing J/24s, Platu 25s, J/80s and SB20s. But, we like the J/70 more than anything else! It's a fun, amazing boat! We think many Russian sailors will like it, too.

After the race in Monaco, we drove across France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Poland and arrived to Kaliningrad, Russia. We drove with the J/70 on a trailer for more than 4,000km, but the road-trip did not seem very difficult for us and our Nissan Qashqai 2L passed the test very well. On the road we were traveling as a normal passenger car, the overall weight of the car and the boat was a little more than 3 metric tons. On toll roads, we also paid as a regular passenger car, this is also good news!  Easy to trail in Europe and economical!

We live in Kaliningrad, our sailing club is based here and we plan to create the Russian J/70 Fleet here, too. Kaliningrad is the best place for sailing in Russia (and ex-USSR nations) - we have a lot of water (the Baltic Sea) and two huge bays with good breeze. From Kaliningrad, in one day you can get by car to the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, and can quickly go by ferry to Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. At the same time, the one day trip to the East means you can quickly reach the Baltic states, Belarus, Ukraine and St. Petersburg, Russia.  Moscow is a bit far, but only 2,000km away-- a long, long day's drive!

We plan to buy a few J/70s and open a J/Sailing School here in Kaliningrad, holding regattas and taking part in other regattas in Europe and ex-USSR countries. We hope to see all European J/70 sailors again soon! Best, Dmitrii and Grigory.  Sailing photo credits- Irina Belousa  Irina also photographed the Russian Federation Championship sailed in J/80s off Lanzarote, Canary Islands this past November 2012.