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Up the regatta

Yet again the summer starts with the Sails of White Nights – Congress Palace Cup! Yet again the waters of the Neva river are ploughed by the beautiful yachts! Yet again the strongest sailors of the world came to St. Petersburg!

Again – for the eighth time!

The cause of the regatta’s long life is rather simple. It’s the down-town of St. Petersburg that serves a unique and picturesque decoration for the sailing battles. It’s here that the spectators can really participate in the event, standing within shouting distance from the course and eagerly supporting the athletes they like. Those latter, in their turn, though complaining on the heavy current of the Neva and the oscillating wind, come again every year in this amazing place where sports and arts come together, the tragedy of occasional mistakes and the glory of a brilliant victory melt into one. St. Petersburg is as much the participant of the races as the competitors themselves. When the Sails of White Nights spread their wings above the Neva, the city is playing in tune with the regatta.

The year 2013 is a special year, for the regatta got the status of the EUROSAF Open Championship. Ten European sailors came for the races in St. Petersburg. Somebody may say: there are neither New Zealanders nor Australians participating, so the level must be lower. But the thing is that the title of the European Champion is hard to deserve! And even the venerable ones have their nerves frayed… “Winning the European Championship is a kind of responsibility, - Andrey Arbuzov said after he had won the races. - Speaking about the level of the athletes, Ferrarese for instance has just won the match racing Congressional Cup in North America!”

The Italian, by the way, got used to the sailing area quite soon. He was scoring one win after another, although he failed to beat the coming Champion. But who knows what would have become in the end if the whole program of the Championship had been accomplished? Although, one should be grateful to the weather gods of St. Petersburg for not only the whole round robin but the finals as well being accomplished. Meanwhile, Arbuzov once won the races following the results of the round robin, for the finals could not be held due to the ceased wind.

Because of the wind which was not too kind this time, too, some joked that the Moscovite would one more time become the Champion ahead-of-schedule. But Andrey paid no attention to these jokes, he was just waiting for the jury’s decision. And the jury had a hard job to do, of course. The first racing day was spent on the shore, so the quarterfinals were to be cancelled. Then the time scheduled for the semifinals was over before the races finished, so the final pairs were to be appointed according to the results of the round robin. And it happened that among the rivals for the first and for the third place there were two Russians, just as the year before. And though last year the foreign rivals appeared to be better, this time they had no chances. The both finals were won by the Russians. Arbuzov twice left Ferrarese behind, and so did Sergey Musikhin to his rival Eric Monnin, becoming the bronze medal holder of the European Champioship.

The happy Champion did not try to conceal his joy: “It’s not the first time that I’m winning here, but I haven’t realized yet that I’ve won for the fourth time. I’m glad I managed to satisfy the expectations having won the races on the Neva. I would like to thank the organizers who allowed me to take part in these races, for I’ve got a wild card this year. The last race was quite nervous, of course, though it ended with a rather easy win. I’d wish to thank my guys. If we are invited once again to the races in St. Petersburg next year we will come with great pleasure!”

Together with the medals, the beautiful Cup provided by the Congress Palace, the regatta title sponsor, was presented to the winners at the festival closing ceremony.

See you next year!


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