The 25th Anniversary Transatlantic Race of ARC started on November 21 from Gran Canaria (Canary Islands). A quarter of a century ago English yachtsmen decided to give an organized character to the annual migration of sailing yachts from Europe to the Caribbean islands. What was conceived as a cruise yacht rally has now a very specific sporting component. The fleet is divided into two groups: sports and cruise. The record for the rally is 11 days and 5 hours. The Russian presence in the race is increasing every year. In 2010 the record number of yachts started - 250, including 6 yachts with Russian crews. The fleet is ranked from 30 to 125 feet.
The Maxi Yacht Racing Division is joined by the legendary Steinlager (85ft, Bruce Farr design) with the Russian crew. Vladimir Khristenko, Maxim Zadubrovsky, Stanislav Gradov, Mikhail Belyakov, Ruslan Rajapov, Vladislav Gedzuns, Vladimir Mikhailov. Skipper - Sergey Borodinov (Moscow, PIRogovo Yacht Club). Sergey Borodinov: «I am pleased to participate in the transatlantic ARC race on Steinlager yacht, which we competed with 20 years ago in the round-the-world race The Whitbread (Volvo Ocean Race). I competed on the Soviet Maxi Yacht FASISI and the Steinlager was the main competitor for the whole fleet. As a result, she won all six stages under the direction of Sir Peter Blake. For me, the Steinlager as well as FASISI are legendary yachts that have changed the concept of ocean racing. My current participation in the ARC on the Steinlager is a return to a time when I worked as a tanker on a FASISY and discovered the world of round-the-world racing. Soviet officials from sports then prevented me from crossing the Atlantic as part of the round-the-world race, having recalled me to the USSR to participate in the Armed Forces Cup. And now I'm going back to the Atlantic. Thank you to the Russian crew and Oscar Konyukhov for inviting me to this race».
PIROGOVO Yacht Club's team on the yacht Contest 62 Polina Star 2 participates in the 60 feet division. Crew: Alexander Ezhkov (skipper), Leonid Makaron, Igor Ivashintsov, Sergey Maslov, Vitaly Kusakov. Alexander Ezhkov: «For me this is the fourth participation in ARC race. Each time it is a new experience. The ocean changes a person. It is nice to see the increase in the number of Russian yachts, to hear the native speech in the yacht club Gran Canaria. Of the 4500 yachts that have participated in this race in 25 years, the first place is occupied by the English fleet of 1400 yachts, Russian yachts are only a dozen and this situation needs to be corrected».
A team from Moscow on a Royal Leopard - Oyster 61 yacht is taking part in the 60ft division. Pyotr Ignatov (skipper), Valery Ignatov, Sergei Kostin, Igor Kanashkin, Yekaterina Stepanova, Tatiana Tarasova and Peter Madei (Poland). Skipper - Petr Ignatov: «Participation in the transatlantic race is the first stage in our round-the-world voyage. After finishing in Santa Lucia, we will go to Brazil (Rio) to celebrate New Year's Eve there, then to Uruguay (Montevideo), go to the Strait of Magellan, try to round Cape Horn and go east to Cape Town, then across the Indian Ocean to Perth, Sydney and across the Pacific to the Panama Canal. I discovered sailing not so long ago, in 2007 I took part in the ARC race on the Farr 65 and then started dreaming of sailing around the world. Today it begins and it is a landmark event in my life and in the lives of my friends».
Pilgrim Jeanneau 57. Crew members. Valery Bimbiris - skipper (Moscow), Dmitry Maslov, Vladimir Kalachev, Afonasov Valery, Kashigina Natalia, Bezruk Sergey (representative of the shipyard Jeanneau in Russia). Sergey Bezruk: «our crew also set sail around the world after the finish of the transatlantic race. As for my participation - as the representative of the Jeanneau shipyard in Russia, it is important for me to gain experience of crossing the ocean on yachts that I sell in our country. For me it will be the first transatlantic race».
Also Russian yachts Neva and Juliette are taking part in the race. Unfortunately, it was not possible to communicate with the crews of these boats before the start. Participation of Russian yachtsmen on Steinlager yacht in the ARC race is a joint project of Oskar Konyukhov and Vladimir Khristenko (son of the Minister of Industry and Trade Victor Khristenko).
Vladimir Khristenko: "My decision to take part in the transatlantic ARC race on a sports yacht is not accidental, together with Oskar Konyukhov (Executive Director of the All-Russian Sailing Federation) we are considering organizing the participation of the Russian crew in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014. In 2014 Russia will host the Olympic Games, and as a participant in international sailing regattas, I know the potential that sailing has in promoting the image of a country or company on a global scale. Our country has not yet been able to fully participate in the Volvo Ocean Race around the world. FASISI yacht performed under the flag of the USSR, there is an experience of 3 stages of Oleg Zherebtsov on Team Russia yacht, which we will certainly take into account. As for the current transatlantic race, the conditions here are close to the round-the-world race stage. The yacht is 25 meters, sports one, the sails are lifted and adjusted manually. No autopilots. There are 16 hanging berths, 1 toilet and sea water for showering. The products are sublimated. Especially for the transatlantic ARC race as a skipper we invited Sergey Borodinov, a prize-winner of World and European championships in sailing. We have to overcome 3000 nautical miles (5 thousand km) and finish in Santa Lucia. For the next 3 days the weather forecast is weak wind, so the departure from the Canary Islands will be slow. As a result of this race we will plan to participate in the RORC 600, Rolex Fastnet, Rolex Sydney Hobart in 2011, and work out the option of participation in the round-the-world race VOR 2014".