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Sail as a way of life

In the Far East, there must be a yacht cluster

Sail as a way of life

Aleksandr Kotenkov, Advisor to the General Director of the Rostec State Corporation - multiple champion of Russia in sailing (1971, 1973, 2000, 2001), until 1997, President of the Rostov Regional Sailing Federation; from 1997 to 2000 - Vice-President of the All-Russian Sailing Federation, in charge of the development of sailing in the southern regions of Russia; from 2000 to 2008 - President of the All-Russian Sailing Federation; Honorary President of VFPS - on the development of sailing in the Far East.

- Alexander Alekseevich, why in Russia they practically don't talk about sailing? We don't even know our outstanding athletes. For example, Viktor Yazykov, who was recognized as the athlete of the year in the United States. He - the winner of the singles race around the world - was greeted as a hero, all the world media wrote about this, except for the Russian ... Why is this happening?

- There is no yachting culture in Russia. I would say more: in Russia there is not only a culture of yachting, but also yachting itself. It has been absent since the 1917 revolution. Before that, in the 18th and 19th centuries the sailing fleet was developing magnificently. Peter I founded the Imperial Yacht Club on the Neva River, which, by the way, was almost a year ahead of the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven in Ireland, which appeared in 1720, and which the whole world considers the oldest yacht- Club of the world. In fact, this is not so. The oldest yacht club as a parking place for amusing sailing ships was established by Peter I. Since Peter, the Russian sailing fleet has developed no worse than in Europe and in later years in America.

Directly sailing in the world arose in the second half of the XIX century, when amusing sailing ships began to race. After the revolution, sailing, along with tennis, golf and some other sports, was recognized as bourgeois. In the post-war years, when in the USSR began to pay attention to sports in general, sailing developed, but not as massive as football. For example, we needed to participate in the Olympic Games, we created several clubs - CSKA Navy, Burevestnik, Dynamo, Spartak, Labor Reserves ... At the same time, sailing was more massive than now. In 1990-s, sailing in Russia has experienced very difficult times: yacht clubs closed, the land was taken away. At the end of the 1990-ies, we made many efforts to restore it somehow-not to develop, but to revive. We tried to breathe life into what was left. In the Far East, President of the Primorye Sailing Federation Mikhail Ermakov managed to create a yacht club with a children's school. Honestly, until I can not name a yacht club in our country better than the Vladivostok yacht club "Seven Feet", but by foreign standards it's a tiny parking lot for yachts.

- Though you were the president of the Rostov regional federation of sailing, the topic of the Far East is close to you (you served in the Far East Federal District). How do you assess the state of sailing in the regions of the Far East Federal District?

- In general, better than in the European part of Russia. Thanks to Mikhail Yermakov, his friends, the regional administration, the Maritime University, they manage to move this business. Developed cruising fleet, children's sports. By the way, the presence of Far Easterners in the youth team of the country is increasing. But I would like the development to go faster. A good project for the construction of the International Center for Water Sports in Fedorov Bay, where the Seven Feet Club is located, has long been prepared. It assumes an increase in the water area of ​​the club ten times: according to the plan, virtually the entire water area of ​​Fedorov Bay should be closed from cape to cape (the project includes a yacht marina for 700 seats, a water rowing stadium with three Olympic distances 200, 500 and 1000 m - youth schools on sail and rowing, embankment and stands for viewing rowing and sailing competitions - approx. red.). They promised investments ... While the project is stalling.

- That is, in 2014 year, as it was said, the construction of the center will not begin?

- I can not say whether it will begin, but since it has not yet begun, hardly anyone will begin to build something in the winter. While I can say that in general, the level of yachting in Russia is falling. Yes, now there is a growing interest in yachting, but first of all to cruising, and this is a completely different slice. What is sailing? These are children's schools where boys girls are taught the basics of sailing ship management. They chase the Optimist, Cadet classes for children, etc. When the guys reach a certain age 16-17 years (sometimes earlier), they transfer to the Olympic classes of courts, and there are fewer and fewer in our country. Previously, the state provided the Olympic boats, although to a limited extent. Now no one is engaged in the supply of racing boats in yacht clubs. The state provides procurement of Olympic classes exclusively for the national team.

- Does the Taganrog Shipyard produce nothing at the Olympic level?

- Taganrog shipyard produces yachts of class “420” - this is a transitional class to one of the Olympic “470”. She is half a meter shorter than 470. On it, the guys get serious skills. But what does it mean to produce? It produces when there are orders. No orders. There are private orders, but they are unprofitable. Need to do a series. And when the order for 1-2-3 of some boats, it is at a loss. But they do, of course ... For example, for all these years, NP "40 feet" (since December 2002) produced about sixty "420" -k: some of them in Ukraine, some Poles ordered (they themselves produce, but our "420" turned out to be better). Maybe at the moment 50-60 "twenty" in the whole country. And this is a drop in the sea.

No one builds boats of the Olympic classes in the country. We asked for a license to build the same "Laser". In the Soviet era, produced "Ray" - a prototype of "Laser", built by the method of economic espionage. Naturally, this boat was not allowed to any international competitions, but it was possible to train. You can produce "Rays", but there is no demand.

Children-youthful yachts such as "Cadet", "Optimist" are made in Togliatti and in St. Petersburg. Now techno-plastic technologies are widespread. Parents often buy boats abroad - they are absolutely not comparable in quality. If we talk about foreign manufacturers, it is mainly Poland.

- Is the situation in the Far East the same or does the proximity of the APR countries tell?

- It affects Chinese production there. Previously, Korean boats were popular. Now in the field of yachting, both in sport and in production, China is advancing. Even the majority of sails in Europe under the smartest brands are produced in China. Chinese tailoring is no worse. Sew on the same equipment - just the production is transferred to China.

- In the Far East, sailing is most acutely underfunded compared to other regions. Many regattas are held in the central part of Russia, and children have to be exported. There is not enough money, so you have to look for benefactors. Do you think it will be possible to increase funding for sailing in the region and how?

- I think, in the near future there will be no increase in funding. I once represented the president with the concept of yachting development in Russia. It was built on the fact that the whole world is on the way to the development of powerful, independent marina yachting centers. Any marina due to parking and maintenance pays off when it is at least 250 yachts. And it does not matter - a sailing yacht or a motor yacht - it requires staffing staff. In the event of a breakdown of a motor yacht, a graduate of a technical college, for example a mechanic, will be able to deal with the engine. And it is impossible to prepare a professional skipper for a sailing yacht. This can only be done through sailing. Since sailing does not develop in the country, it is really possible to raise a specialist only through major clubs that earn money themselves. Therefore, in order to create large marinas, the state should provide an opportunity to obtain land, and better - land, provide certain benefits for use - exemption from taxes, and possibly provide some finance, or at least attract investors. Further, the club begins to grow - it needs frames. Willy-nilly, this club is interested in creating a children's section, a children's school (that's how everyone does it abroad). The guys who grow to the sail, stay for a long time. Those who have moved to the Olympic classes, continue to play sports, and who has become attached to the sea, can not leave: they either remain in the yacht club in rough jobs and are gradually trained on yachts, or go to training, because there is nowhere else to take the cadres. The situation in the Olympic classes is as follows: the national team is the tip of the iceberg, on which only a few people can fit. The athlete reaches a certain age - say, 30 years - and he realizes that he will not advance further in the sport. The guys go to cruising yachts. Many, who have no other specialty, are professional skippers, captains' assistants, etc. Due to this, a certain professional layer grows, without which no marina will survive. In Mikhail Ermakov's club "Seven Feet" such a tendency is visible. By the way, in Primorsky Territory federation very strict system - qualification selection. They have a normal state commission for the qualification of yachting captains, it is stricter than what is prescribed by the regulation of the Ministry of Transport. And try in Vladivostok with the false rights to come ?! Or do not have any rights at all-say, let me run here ... There can not be such a thing.

- Do you agree that Vladivostok can become the capital of sailing?

- No, I do not agree. I would like it with all my heart, but the fact is that the main yachting, unfortunately, is concentrated in the European part. And not so much in Russia, as abroad — primarily in the Mediterranean. Even on the Black Sea, we have almost nothing left. In the Far East, there should be a yacht cluster tied to the Asia-Pacific region. Competitions are held mainly in Europe, and the money is allocated about the same for all regions, but one thing from Moscow is to go to Sevastopol, the other is from Vladivostok.

- Yachting is perceived primarily as entertainment for wealthy people. This is partly the case. Boat indicator image and the prestige of the person. But at the same time, a yacht is a sign of the strong character of its owner. You have had such serious social and political work for many years. How do you manage to leave time for sports?

- Yachting is just shaping this character. And it is possible. I set a goal for myself and every minute of me - this or that participation in yachting. The sail for me is not a sport - I live, I work to ensure that when there is an opportunity to break free into the sea.

Meanwhile, my appearance at the state corporation Rostek led to the immediate interest in yachting for a number of large state corporations - Russian Railways, Rostech, RUSNANO, Gazprom, Rosatom, VTB, VEB, Sberbank. In the country there is the Foundation for Support and Development of Physical Culture and Sports of the Russian Federation, which holds 2 times a year, winter and summer corporate games in 43 sports. And there was no sailing there. So, we have already included sailing into the program and held the first corporate regatta. In September we will hold the second corporate regatta more extended. In October, based on the results of the season, we plan to send the winners to Marmaris for big races so that they can see what to aim for. Already registered JSC "National Corporate Yacht Club", which was established as a managing organization, under its aegis is expected to combine three yacht clubs - in Moscow, in Kronstadt, in the Crimea. I hope that these clubs will become centers of yachting development. In the Far East, there are also a lot of enterprises - our main corporations, I think, we will reach them. It's only a matter of time.

- For the yachtsman, the most important thing is to "find your wind, go forward, hoping for your strength, not falling into someone else's shadow" (movie "Wind"). What do you think?

- I have a simple motto since childhood - “Either Caesar, or none” (Aut Caesar, aut nihil). Do not take these words literally, but I always strive only forward. And like, looking back, something turns out. And our favorite toast, the words of which are attributed to Admiral Nelson: "For the sailing fleet, Queen of the Seas, for the highest nobility of the ocean." This is true: there is no one above the yachtsman at sea - we conquer the element not with the power of diesel engines or with the steel of powerful ocean liner bodies, but with strength of mind, muscle strength and crew cohesion. 

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