Saturday, April 16, 2016

J/80 Yachting Russia Cup Report

J/80 Yachting Russia Cup- Lake Garda, Italy (Riva del Garda, Italy)- The Russian Sailing Federation recently hosted their 14th annual Yachting Russia Cup Regatta on Lake Garda, hosted by the ever gracious volunteers at Fraglia Vela Riva.  The five-day event featured a round robin type elimination round for the first three days and then a championship flight in the J/80 fleet for the last two days.  As might be expected on the Lake Garda, the wind conditions in the mornings were generally light, but by early afternoon, the classic breeze would fill in from the south at 10-15 kts (or more) so the Fraglia Vela Riva PRO could run a number of races before it was time to retire back to the club for delicious refreshments and hors d'oeuvres.

J/80s sailing Russia Yachting Cup- Lake Garda, ItalyDay 1
The first day of racing provided winds up to 20-25 kts, with plenty of sun and the beautiful snow-capped mountains painting a spectacular backdrop behind the sails.  It was a challenging day for the somewhat inexperienced teams learning the ropes and trying to avoid broaches, particularly after gybes with the big chutes.  Operating in two shifts, the thirty-one teams and 150 participants were divided into Alpha and Bravo Groups.

The leader of the day in the J/80 Alpha Group was Andrei Samoilov with a 1-1-2 record.  The STAR OF TAGANROG Team comprised of the Generalova brothers, Alexander Bozhko and Nikolai Kovalenko ended up second for the day, ahead of Alexander Mezapuke’s crew.  After this group’s racing, they headed in for a well-deserved lunch and some rest.  By 1330 hrs, the J/80 Bravo Group jumped in to enjoy the strong breezes in the afternoon.

Past J/80 winner, Dmitry Zaritskii, tried to put up a good fight despite his new inexperienced crew, however a lot of crew errors dropped him into the bottom of the standings. TEAM DENIS led by Gagarin Cherevatenko ended up in fourth place and in third was the BURMENTIEV TEAM led by Boris Burmenteva.  The overall leaders of this group ended up in a tie for first place between two Moscow-based teams- TEAM RUEDO ALEXANDER SHATANOVA and SAIL MOSCOW’s Sergei Volchkov.

J/80 sailing the mirror on Lake Garda, ItalyDay 2
The forecast for the second day looked promising, with morning sun and the hope to be able to sail in both the morning “peler” and afternoon “ora” mountain winds the lake is so famous for.  Starting out first this time was the J/80 Bravo Group crews followed by the Alpha Group sailors in the afternoon.  However, what was forecast never materialized.  Clouds rolled in from the north for the morning hours leaving the racecourse with light winds and a big hole in the middle of the lake.

With a start around 1100 hrs, it was not promising for multiple races.  In the end, one race took place in 4-6 kts of wind that lasted for two hours over just an 8nm windward-leeward course. Sergei Volchkov’s J/80 team chose the right side of the course did not hesitate to sail all the way up to the mark along the right bank.  After successfully rounding the mark in first, they repeated that strategy downwind, gybing back towards the cliffs and avoiding the calm spot in the middle of the lake, to ultimately win the race.  Taking second, following them around the track was Alexander Shahtanova.  Continuing his bad luck was Dmitry Zaritsky; he followed close along with Volchkov to the right side on the first beat and rounded in the top three.  However, Zaritsky got stuck in a calm to again finish 5th place in the race and in the overall results. Meanwhile, Denis Cherevatenko, who was not terribly fast downwind, still finished third and rose to third place overall.

J/80s sailing Yachting Russia Cup on Lago di Garda, ItaliaDespite the lack of sun, the Ora finally appeared for the Alpha Group for the afternoon races, the southerly winds filled in at 10-15 knots.  By the time of the start, the Ora stabilized, which meant the right side of the racecourse would again be running the show.  However, at the start the pin was purposefully heavily favored to disperse the fleet along the line.

As a result of the line skew, there was an intense struggle at the pin, with the Generalova brothers piling their boat TAGANROG into the buoy and had to do penalty turns. Also getting hurt at the start was Andrei Samoilov, having to round the ends after a false start. Unfortunate for them, the TAGANROG crew was unable to recover from the incident at the start and finished last.

Sailing fast and smart was the Latvian team led by skipper Aleksandras Mezapuke, they rounded the first mark first and finished there.  Second was the German-Estonian crew RINGELMANNA and Johan took third.  At the end of the day, Andrei Samoilov still led the standings, with the Latvians in second and TAGANROG third.

Upon returning to the harbor, the crews were greeted by the traditional celebration provided by the Yachting Russia Cup organizers- the great tasting limoncello made by famous local Italian recipes!  Good thing they didn’t serve that at lunch!

J/80 under spinnaker at Yachting Russia Cup- Lake Garda, ItalyDay 3
On the third day of qualifying, the Fraglia Vela Riva PRO wisely postponed racing until noon, waiting for the Ora to develop.  As a result, they were able to fire off three quick races for both groups to make it strong qualifying series for all the teams.

Unlike earlier days, the weak-developing Ora saw the left-hand side of the course have strong winds, so therefore, everyone was struggling to get the pin-end starts.  By the second race, the left side was still favorable, but not nearly as much.  Finally, it was not until the third race for the Alpha Group that the familiar advantage to the right side of the course begins to materialize.

The Alpha Group had some dramatic sailing on this day.  Team TAGANROG finally got their act together and decided to make up for the mediocre results of the first two days and immediately won the first race and finished second in the other two races of the day; those stunning results allowed the brothers Generalov to rise to the second place overall ahead of Aleksandras Mezapuke.

Johann Sannicola’s RINGELMANNA was determined to overcome his last place in the first race and followed the TAGANROG crew around the race track, even beating the Computel Cup leader- Andrei Samoilov.  But, at the gate, Sannicola received a penalty for trying to “shoot the gap” between Samoilova’s boat and the mark; the result was a third place in the race.  But, the international crew did not despair and in the next race started in first and led the race all the way.

J/80s glowing under the Italian sun on Lake Garda, ItalyIn the last race, the Generalov brothers clearly had every chance to consolidate their success.  However, they misinterpreted an umpire’s signal umpire at the start and mistakenly rushed to do their turns and re-start. The result was a third place in the last race and third overall.  Meanwhile, Andrei Samoilov’s continued sailing strong a 1-3-1 scoreline to lead their grouping.

Then, just before Group B was heading out to the start, the Ora decided to retire for lunch, leaving behind clouds, rain and calm for two hours. Nevertheless, they were able to resume racing by 1530 hrs for the second shift.

The J/80 Group B flight saw their leader, TEAM RUEDO ALEXANDER SHATHANOVA with Mikhail Vasiliev on the steering wheel, sail fast, smart, and post a 1-2-1 to handily win the section.  Then, Team DENIS GAGARIN CHEREVATENKO had an uneven day but still ended up second.

So, after three days of racing the J/80 Grand Finale was going to take place with the top five scores from the combined fleets- Samoilov, Mezapuke, the Generalov brothers, Shathanova and Cherevatenko.

J/80 Russia Yachting Cup crew fun!Day 4
Both the Grande and Petite Finals managed to complete three races each on the busy first day of the final round.  The Ora came in on schedule and, in fact, blew hard with steady 15-17 kts winds with gusts up to 25 kts!

In the first race of the Grande Finale, Samoilov’s crew had a false start, but did not understand they were over and did not return.  Despite winning the last two races of the day, the resulting OCS put the team into second place for the day, tied on points with Shahtanova’s team.  Cherevatenko’s crew sailed fast and consistent, posting a 3-2-2 to hold the lead after the first day.

For the Petite Finals, Sannicola’s RINGELMANNA topped the standings with a 3-1-1 record, two points ahead of the other Moscow team- SAIL MOSCOW skippered by Sergei Volchkov.  Third on the day was the big surprise- Dmitry Zaritsky WASSABI team with a 2-2-3 scorecard!

J/80 sailing on Lake Garda, Italy- Russia Yachting CupDay 5
The last day of racing and the regatta finale started off with a long wait; the Ora was taking a longer than normal siesta and did not reveal herself until 1330 hrs!  The Petit Finals teams started off first and got in two short races.  By posting a 3-4, Sannicola’s RINGELMANNA was crowned the winner.  Tied on points with them and losing the tie-breaker was Boris Burmenteva’s team.  Third place went to SAIL MOSCOW’s Vochkova.

The last race for the Grande Finals was a sorry state of affairs; the Ora seemingly took the afternoon off, leaving the finalists to drift around the racecourse for an hour before finally creeping across the finish line.  It was an agonizing affair for all, including the winners.  Thus, the 14th Russian Yachting Cup came to its grand conclusion with the title being passed from last year’s winner (Dmitry Zaritsky) to the team of Andrew & Svetlana Samoilov, Sergei Briling, Vitaly Russa and Denis Shari!  The silver was awarded to Alexander Shathanova and the bronze went to Denis Gagarin Cherevatenko.

In the words of the creator of the community Yachting Russia and one of the founding fathers of Yachting Russia Cup, Peter Lezhnin, "Regatta sailing Russia has shown tremendous growth and momentum.  It is wonderful to see the thirty-one teams and 150 sailors competing here on Lake Garda.  We look forward to seeing more of you in upcoming regattas like the J/70 Russia Sailing League in Sochi, Moscow, St Petersburg and Vladivostok.  This is great amateur competition open to all, where experienced sportsmen are glad to share their experience with newcomers. Russia Yachting is a big family, which is constantly growing! We welcome everyone!"  For more Yachting Russia Cup regatta sailing information