Yesterday, on September 3rd, the anniversary regatta Peter the Great Gulf Cup 2017 – Russian Championship in Conrad 25R Class (editor’s note: also known as Peterson-25) has ended in the Primorsky region in Russia. More than 300 sailors from all over Russia participated in the regatta in its anniversary 30th year. The yacht from Nakhodka Artist became the Russian Champion for the fourth time, and Kurazh from Vladivostok got the main prize according to the overall standings among large yachts.
The races lasted from August 26th until September 2nd. During the whole week, sailors were fighting with the weather: almost all stages of the regatta were conducted with weak and shifty winds, however sometimes there squalls as well.
In this jubilee year, the format of the regatta changes a bit: the number of races increased, and the distance of short races near Vladivostok changed. The fleet was divided into two for the first and last days of racing. Twenty four yachts from different score groups were racing the "red" route, and Russian Championship fleet, twenty-seven Conrad 25R yachts, raced the "yellow" route. Both routes were very close to the public, which allowed the audience to see everything in close range.
Traditionally, there are three long races from 60 up to 160 miles. This year nothing changed: Vladivostok – Nakhodka – Vladivostok, Vladivostok – Troitsa bay – Vladivostok, and the race around the islands in the Khasansky area. Altogether the distance is approximately 500 miles.
The Vostok Gulf race was abandoned during a very squall night. For the first half of the race on August 27th to the Vostok Gulf the sailing was fine, but during the night the winds started acting up. Squalls of 30 knots were changing by completely calm winds. Several boats damaged the equipment that night: some ropes were torn apart, the metal bindings were bursting from tension.
The yachts tried to reach the finish line for more than twenty-four hours. The first yacht finished at 9 in the morning, the last one at 10 in the evening. The sailors had to start another race in the morning next day, the Amur bay race around the islands. This distance was around 80 miles. Probably for the first time the wind forecast wasn’t lying: yachtsmen did not have to wait for sufficient wind for the start. The fleet moved extremely fast with the stable winds. The leaders of the fleet reached the Antipenko island, then the Kozlov and Gerasimov islands. The first yachts finished the race around midnight that day. After that, the yachts were sailing throughout the whole night and they were quite tightly packed.
Because of this night finish, sailors got a full day of rest, and the racing committee made a tough, but a necessary decision about shortening the distance of the race Cape Gamova. This specific rout from Vladivostok to Troitsa Bay is the most complicated during the whole regatta. The distance is 120 miles and the nastiest weather forecast follows sailors there.
That happened in this anniversary regatta as well: weak and unstable wind made judges change the point of destination in the Khasan area to the Stenin island, located in 15 miles from cape Gamova.
However, even the short version of the race was tough for some yachts. Some leaders failed and lost their positions because they were trying to find the best combination of the wind and the current. This long-drawn finish was a complicated trial for everyone: teams spent several hours to reach the Seven Feet Yacht Club from a mark near Peschanny. This finish lasted about twelve hours, however, everyone was fresh and ready for the new day and new start.
After races, Aleksander Lopatko, a crew member of the joint team of Krasnoyarsk, St. Petersburg and Brazil, shared his impression: "I sailed in Vladivostok for the first time ever, the water area is amazing and the regatta is complicated. I’ve been on both Russian and foreign regattas, but this one is the most interesting and the longest (both days and distances) one. I was surprised how changeable things are in Vladivostok: the weather shifts from heat to cold, calm winds to squalls. The nights are dark, you can’t see where you going. The nature is really interesting there; we are not familiar with it. During the day we were in a group of yachts, but during the night everyone were disappearing somewhere. We thought that everyone is using paddles or something. Going across the Atlantics was easier for me than to participate in all races of the Peter the Great Gulf Cup. We have sailed more miles here than across the Atlantics as well. But we really want to come back here and participate one more time."
During the last few days, the leaders of the fleet were changing all the time. The team of Artist from Nakhodka became the Russian Champion in Conrad 25R Class for the fourth time without even hoping for this victory.
"We were not even hoping for this victory, we were fighting mostly for the second place," shared Dmitry Khodirev, the helm of Artist. "We were lucky during the last race; we caught the wind and moved forward quickly. We had serious competition: Fakt from Slavyanka, Poet from Nakhodka, local Dzhaiv. Maybe we would be in the lead even earlier, but near the finish line of our favorite race from Nakhodka, we caught a bunch of grass with our keel and lost speed. And during weak wind that was a catastrophe. The yacht Fakt overtook us right before the finish, but we are not regretting it at all. Half of the regatta they were in the lead and now we both have some trophies".
The closing ceremony was held on September 3rd in the Seven Feet yacht club. The winners reached the podium one by one and received well-deserved awards. After the main ceremony, the special prises were given.
Fakt from Slavyanka with Sergey Ivanov at the helm received the prize for the first finish in the race Vostok Bay in memory of Niskovsky. Kurazh from Vladivostok with Vladimir Korolev at the helm was awarded the first ever prize in the ORC Class in memory of Russian Champion Evgeny Rybtsov. Solaris from Vladivostok got an award for enhancement of sailing as the only completely female crew participating in the regatta.
Those, who participated in the Peter the Great Gulf Cup for almost all 30 years got memorable medals. The yacht from Vladivostok Peregrine Falcon with Mikhail Mitur’ev at the helm was given a trophy for an absolute time of racing the regatta, all races combined their result is 51 hour.