On September 23-26, an international regatta – the qualifying stage of the Sailing Champions League 2021 series – took place in St. Petersburg on the waters of the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland.
Sailing Champions League is the Sailing Champions League of Europe, which gathers the strongest yacht clubs and teams from Europe, Asia and Oceania. Russians are quite successful in these competitions (in the 2015 and 2017 seasons, Russian teams managed to win medals in the finals of the Sailing Champions League).
This year, 12 best teams took part in the Russian stage of the Sailing Champions League Cup 2021 – nine from Russia and three from Europe.
Among the Russian participants was the Tenzor Team, which was presented by the Tenzor Sport crew consisting of Milena Nikitina, Alexander Grishunin, brothers Mikhail and Nikita Ushkov. The teams were fighting for the podium, which meant getting into the next round of the Sailing Champions League Qualifier, where the participants of the 2022 season final are selected. Also, a solid prize fund of 10.000 euros seriously motivated the participants of the regatta.
Serious rivals with professional yachtsmen, including the German Bodensee Yachtclub Uberlingen, the Spanish LANZAROTE-RCN ARRECIFE and the Swiss Regatta Club Oberhofen RCO were in the entry list. As they say, foreigners won in class. Nevertheless, Tenzor Sport managed to take a place in the top-four after two racing days.
Milena Nikitina: “It was very difficult to fight with professionals, who are more than half of the fleet here. All foreign teams and part of the Russian ones perform with professional helmsmen and crew members, so we managed to go around them not in class, because I am not a professional, but thanks to general command and tactical actions. At the beginning of the day, the wind was not strong enough by St. Petersburg standards, we did not get very good starts, and we finished one race only in sixth position. But in the afternoon, a wave swelled and rose, and these were my favorite weather conditions in which I confidently act. We changed our strategy at the start, started to come out better, and eventually won the final three races in a row. The atmosphere on the boat was great, and we tried not to give in to excitement.”
The final day of the regatta was the most spectacular and interesting. The four best crews entered the final series based on the results of 36 races held in qualifying. Over the previous two race days, 32 races were held, 16 for each of the teams. It remained to hold two final qualifying races.
A whole group of teams kept their chances of reaching the finals and winning medals. The top four places were occupied by Lord of the Sail – Windy Girls, LANZAROTE-RCN ARRECIFE, Regatta Club Oberhofen RCO and Tenzor Sport, but the density in the standings was such that at least four more crews were seriously fighting for the saving fourth place.
The Germans from Bodensee Yachtclub Uberlingen were the most successful on this day. Having shown the first and second arrivals, they were able to rise from the sixth to the fourth place and won a ticket to the final series.
Tenzor Sport finished the regatta on the fifth place, showing great skill and endurance in the fight against such strong rivals.
Nikita Ushkov: “The final day turned out to be a very interesting day. The wind blew from the shore, more changeable with unpredictable gusts, which required very quick decisions on the water. We tried and worked without serious mistakes. At the first race we got off to a good start, once we just got out of the rush, but at the finish the arrival was quite good. But at the second race, at the top sign, we were promoted by the Lanzarote – R.C.N. Arrecife team, and we lost a lot of time, which our rivals took advantage of. As a result, literally a couple of points were not enough for us to get into the final races. In general, the team performed at a high level during the regatta. We quickly developed mutual understanding in the crew, and given such a strong fleet composition, I consider our final fifth result worthy. We lost only to very experienced professionals.”
Alexander Grishunin: “The impressions are only positive: excellent organization, excellent refereeing, and our team has gained invaluable experience!”.
The winners of the regatta were the Spanish team LANZAROTE – R.C.N. ARRECIFE. The silver medalists of the Sailing Champions League Cup are the Russians Lord of the Sail – Windy girl. Bronze at the representatives of Germany Bodensee Yachtclub Uberlinger.