#GameChangers shine at the National Championships in Kiev
Past weekend saw one more National Championship in SB20 Class, this time in Ukraine! Organized by the Ukrainian Sailing Federation and Kiev Racing Yacht Club at the premises of Yacht Club “Energetik” the event gathered various sailing classes on Kiev Sea, including Optimists, Laser, 470, Star, Finn, Platu 25 and SB20.
The first day of the Championship opened with about 8 knots, S-SW wind with lulls of 4kts and with gusts up to 10kts. The wind was patchy and shifty, which made the two races extra difficult and allowed the teams to show their skills of staying in the most wind around the course. The #GameChanger team together with team Victoria and team Alex showed the most of it rounding in top 3.
On day 2 the wind increased to 18-20 knots making the fast and furious SB20s fly around Kyiv Sea, surfing the short and choppy waves. After 3 exciting races the wind decided it was the time for the shore programme to kick in and died completely. #GameChanger again topped the leader board, followed by teams Victoria and Alex.
The Ukrainian hospitality is famous, and included fresh coffee in the morning and hot food after sailing, thanks to the event sponsors. The hosting Kiev Yacht Racing Club is well known for fantastic events with their knowledge and experience internationally, bringing a lot of that to the local scene. The level of organization is top notch and many foreign sailors have already enjoyed that!
Day 3 started with a very shifty wind of 10-12 knots and in the 3 races of the day it was the battle of control for the leaders not to let their rivals squeeze in and sail ahead of them. Tactical decisions and helming skills were the keys to the day, in variable conditions. The day saw photo finishes, multiple lead changes in the races and close action on the start line.
It was team #GameChanger who managed to keep consistent, and were crowned National Champions, for second time in a row, the first time in their new, all Ukrainian team! Former Ukrainian 470 sailor Gennady Ishchenko and his team won the silver medal, beating off a tough challenge from the team helmed by Rostislav Borsch.
Julia Freespirit, the helmswoman of the #GameChanger team and currently the top female sailor of SB20 fleet in the world commented:
“Defending our National champions title was not easy, but that’s the most exciting part. We love winning, but unfortunately you don’t learn as much from victory as you do from failure. That’s why not successful regattas also help a lot in the long run – to understand where things went wrong and where our decisions were not right, so that we can improve and reach our next goal at some point.
Winning Ukrainian Nationals in 2018 is twice pleasant, as we had big changes in the team in April 2018, where 50 % of the roles and responsibilities in the boat we changed. So we were really happy to perform well in our home waters. We are lucky to have an opportunity to race internationally and learn a lot from the world’s best sailors and top competitors of SB20 class. Such exposure to the international competition helped a lot our team to progress and improve our racing skills. But now winter is coming, so we are thinking how to spend winter time efficiently to become better in the forthcoming 2019”
As always the hospitality after racing was great, with pizzas, drinks and the medal ceremony before sending the travelling teams on their way. It was great to see so many sailors and classes on the Kyiv Sea, as always with tough and close competition. On the junior side of the event, the new launching ramp for junior sailors was in full use, funded and organised by many of the SB20 Ukraine fleet, another real Game Changer for sailing in Ukraine!
Overall top 3:
1st place – UKR3633, team #GameChanger of Julia Freespirit, Semen Dmitrenko, Serhii Koval and Viktor Kandyba
2nd place – UKR3444, team Victoria of Genadiy Ishenko sailing with Aleksandr Severin and Oleksiy Klimenko.
3rd place – team UKR3424 of Rostislav Borsch sailing with Aleksandr Semenchenko and Maxim Pogrebnyak.
Full Results (need to select SB20 Class): https://sail-races.com/10106/event.html#ui-id-7