Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Flying Russians- Sailing off Monaco

J/70 russian sailors flying off Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- The Flying Russians!? Not on trapezes in the Moscow Circus nor Rudolf Nureyev leaping about in the Moscow Ballet, but the waterborne version!  Sailing in this year’s YC Monaco Primo Cup- Credit Suisse Regatta were two Russian J/70 teams, one from Kaliningrad and the other from Moscow.

The “veterans” of the Primo Cup were Grigory Aksenov and Dmitry Zaritckii sailing on their now famous J/70 MOJO.  If you recall, last year Grigory and Dmitry picked up their J/70 at J/Composites European boat-building headquarters in Les Sables d’Olonne, France and drove to Monte Carlo, Monaco for their first J/70 regatta ever.  In fact, they were un-packing the boat and learning how to piece everything together as they rigged MOJO to go sailing for their first time! TEAM MOJO loved their experience at the Primo Cup Regatta and promised to return.

J/70 sailng off MonacoIn the meantime, Grigory and Dmitry drove the 1,100 miles back from Monaco to Kaliningrad, Russia, at the easternmost reaches of the Baltic Sea— in a snow storm!  If that weren’t enough travel for one month, this dynamic duo then took the mighty MOJO to display the J/70 in the Moscow Boat Show!  It was, in fact, the first time a J/Boat has ever been displayed in the Moscow Show.  As they left Moscow, it was only appropriate they create another “first” for the J/70 and proceeded to befriend the local Moscow Police and took a “tour” of the famous Red Square and took photos of MOJO in front of the Kremlin!!

With a successful year of promoting J/70s in Russia, Dmitry hitched up MOJO again and took her down to Monaco for their second appearance in the Primo Cup. TEAM MOJO sailed well and managed to finish eighth. Perhaps equally as important is that Igor Raspopov, Founder and CEO of the MARC Sailing Club in Russia, chartered a J/70 to also participate in this year’s Primo Cup.

According to Raspopov, “We’re really proud to be a part of the worldwide J/70 sailing family! More than that, we are doing our best with friends to develop the J/70 class in Russia and to invite fellow Russians to sail J/70s in Russia and throughout Europe.

We founded a Russian-Italian sailing club called M.A.R.C. ( that is based on Lake Garda in Italy and I have been working closely with my friend Dimitry from Kaliningrad.  As we participate in upcoming J/70 events in Europe and Russia, we will provide you reports about our team’s activities!

J70 russia teamWe also sail J/80s and will organize an amateur Match Race event from April 2nd to 6th at Riva del Garda with the support of Fraglia Vela Riva del Garda, together with the other J/80 events during the year on the French Riviera and Italy.

J/70 russia launch at Monte Carlo, MonacoAlso, we plan to participate in some IRC regattas like Giraglia Rolex Cup in St Tropez, France and San Remo, Italy and Copa del Rey in Palma Mallorca, Spain on a J/109 and J/122. Such events enable us to give to give our MARC Sailing Club beginners a unique opportunity to try sailing J/Boats. This is our goal! Growing sailing in Russia has been fun and people LOVE it once they discover how fun it can be!”

In the end, both Russian J/70 teams can bring back memories of an absolutely epic sailing experience on the last day, with “fresh to frightening” conditions with ginormous 10-12 ft waves and 15-25 kt winds.  Those memories have been forever captured by “the Master”, Carlo Borlenghi, the world renown yachting photographer who was on-hand shooting photos for YC Monaco.  Also on hand were Team MOJO’s friend “Elena”, she captured some poignant moments of Team MOJO in the yacht harbour.  Sailing photo credits- YC Monaco/ Carlo Borlenghi and Elena Otekina-

Please contact Igor Raspopov to learn more about Sailing Club MARC and their sailing programs.  Contact Igor at email-