Saturday, August 4, 2018

SAILING Champions League- St Petersburg Preview

J/70 sailing at St Petersburg, Russia (St Petersburg, Russia)- With World Cup football fever still fresh in the memory, now Saint Petersburg Yacht Club and Russia’s most beautiful city get ready to host 24 international clubs representing 12 nations at Semifinal #2 of the SAILING Champions League 2018. With four days of racing scheduled from 3 to 6 August, the setting – right in the center of St Petersburg – couldn’t be more spectacular. The top 16 clubs win a ticket for the big Final of SAILING Champions League in St. Moritz, Switzerland (30 August to 2 September).

The famous Peter and Paul Fortress could hardly be a more appropriate setting, as the teams do battle for a highly-coveted place in the Finals of the SAILING Champions League, set to take place at the end of this month in St Moritz, high up in the Swiss Alps. 16 clubs have a chance to make it through to the Finals, so it will be all about finishing in the top half of the eight-boat heats.

St. Petersburg is the former Russian capital whose mysterious White Nights and winding canals inspired such literary giants as Fyodor Dostoevsky and Nikolai Gogol. Constructed from scratch out of marshland in 1703 by Peter the Great, St. Petersburg has seen more revolution, war and political intrigue in its 350 years than other cities witness in a millennium. This history is apparent at every turn. Nowadays this is one of the largest European cities where history is combined with modern. Besides, St. Petersburg is the unofficial sailing capital of Russia.

Some of the competitors were in St Petersburg only a few weeks ago when they were sailing into the finish of the 1,000 nautical-mile Nord Stream Race through the Baltic Sea. Sergey Musikhin was co-skipper of the winning boat representing Russia, and three weeks after winning the Nord Stream Race, the 35-year-old is back at the helm of his team, Lord of the Sail– Asia.

J/70 sailing at St Petersburg, Russia in Sailing Champions LeagueAnother skipper from the long offshore race is Kris Houmann and his crew from Frederikshavn Sejlklub, a small sailing club in Northern Denmark that frequently punches above its weight. Tactician Rasmus Damsgaard is delighted to be back in Russia’s second city for some close, boat-on-boat action: “Coming back to St. Petersburg is a great pleasure! It’s a very beautiful city and spectacular scenery for the teams to be sailing right in the middle of the city. Even though it will be very tricky to qualify for the finals in St. Moritz, we hope to make it with a top five result!”

The strong current of the fast-flowing Neva River will play a strong role in the strategy and tactics used by the teams for advantage around the race course. St Petersburg Yacht Club (SPYC) is hosting SAILING Champions League for the third consecutive year. With support from main partner Gazprom, SPYC presents sailing at its best in the maritime capital of Russia, with the locals always ready to support the best European clubs racing close to shore.

Crews are representing the following countries: Austria (SCTWV Achensee/ Union YCV Woerthersee/ Union YC Wolfgansee), Denmark (Frederikshavn Sejlklub), Finland (Brando Selgare/ Mariehamns Seglaforenig), Germany (Deutscher Touring YC/ Norddeustcher Regatta Verein/ Segelkameradschaft Das Wappen von Bremen), Great Britain (Royal Ocean Racing Club), the Netherlands (VWDTP Groningen), Norway Asgardstrand Seilforening/ Tonsberg Seilforening), Poland (YC Sopot), Russia (Lord of the Sail- Asia/ Lord of the Sail- Europe/ Navigator Sailing Team/ PIRogovo/ St Petersburg YC), Slovenia (JK MIPC), Sweden (Hjuviks BK/ Kungliga Svenska Segelsällskapet) and Switzerland (Seglervereinigung Kreuzlingen/ Societe Nautique de Geneve).

We spoke with Elena Solovyeva, Project Manager from to St. Petersburg YC, the host club for this year’s Semifinal 2.

SCL: What abilities do the sailors/clubs need to win in St Petersburg?
SPYC: “The venue is one of the most outstanding sailing stadiums in the world and was used for hosting events like Extreme Sailing Series and World Match Racing Tour. The city center provides amazing scenery for sailing, but is also a really tricky racing area. The city walls surround the Neva River, with its famous 3-knots current– the wind is changing both in strength and direction. The teams have to look around 360 degrees all the time to seek for any speed or tactical leverage. Two years of SCL racing here show that even after a bad start you can still win a race or lose it after a good start.”

SCL: What has SPYC prepared for the semifinal?
SPYC: “This is definitely the most challenging race course of the season. Also, St Petersburg is the largest city in the SCL calendar. The city offers unique attractions for the visitors, like keeping an eye on the clock at night to not miss crossing the bridges! Besides, based on the crews’ feedback, we strongly believe that the clubs seeking to qualify for the SAILING Champions League Finale in St Moritz, Switzerland also love to visit our beautiful, fun, and historic city.

SCL: For SPYC, what is the significance of hosting the SAILING Champions League?
SPYC: “In the third year of hosting the SCL in St Petersburg, SPYC is more than happy and proud to host such an event with amazing guests. As usual, the club will do its best to treat its esteemed guests to the highest standards!”

Livestream and results by SAP
As with all SAILING Champions League events, the final two days of racing on Sunday and Monday will be live broadcasted by SAP from 12:00 hrs (UTC+3), with expert commentators providing blow-by-blow analysis of the racing, aided by the detail provided by SAP Sailing Analytics. The SAP Sailing Analytics provide 24/7 additional statistics and data for sailors, fans, spectators and media like GPS tracking, real-time analysis, live leaderboard combined with 2D visualization. You find all results on!  Sailing photo credits- Anya Semenyk  You can follow the action on Sunday here, then follow the action on Monday here.

SAILING Champions League- St Petersburg, Russia Introduction video

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