Catherine Skudina, PROyachting: It «all started with corporate regattas.»
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Catherine Skudina, PROyachting: It «all started with corporate regattas.»

As world and European champion, she opened her sailing school...
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In Moscow this year there is one more sailing school. Who teaches it, what can one learn there and who is it designed for? Ekaterina Skudina, a famous yachtswoman and owner of PROyachting company, told us about all this.

- Ekaterina, how did you decide to create PROyachting?

- In the winter of 2012, after London .I met with Mikhail Kondratyev. I've known him since I was a child at the «Vodnik»Yacht Club. Having talked, we realized that we have similar thoughts: there is a request for corporate yachting in Moscow, but there is a lack of modern fleet. At that time the fleet was about 30 years old. It is possible to sail these boats, but they have such a look that, frankly speaking, it is difficult to bring a company of good level on them.

Our project was born on this idea, and last summer we started with corporate regattas. At first we faced some difficulties: the boats came late and there was very little time to arm them. That's why the first regattas were in a big fuss. But we coped with everything - here you have to say thank you to Misha, he organized everything very well. Last season we had about 40 events and we also found an interesting format - races... Wednesday Night Race.

- Why did you add theoretical training after all?

- After a while, we realized that we have to do a full cycle company. A lot of yachting enthusiasts came to us and they would love to continue their training and get their yachting license.

They consulted with us which school to go to in Moscow, and there were two or three such schools to recommend without fear.

There is a lack of good education, and we, as professionals in this field, could occupy this niche.

In the autumn we started to refine the WFTU training program, which took about four months. In our opinion, the program was overloaded with things that were out of use. By about January we had removed all the remnants of Soviet times. Some things, on the contrary, were added, because modern yachting has gone ahead: both in materials and approaches. For example, we tell more about multihull yachts, in the main program they were given very little attention. And, actually, on the 26th of February we received the accreditation, in honor of which we organized the opening ceremony of the school in Royal Yacht Club.

- How was the training process built?

- We have several directions. First, the most basic - training for those who want to get rights. There are 12 theoretical lessons, each of them about 4 hours. For this course a person is given basic knowledge and is ready for practical lessons and an exam.

The second direction is simpler, called the Competent crew. It's a kind of dive into yachting from scratch. In this course we plan to combine theory with practice and put everything into 6 lessons.

The theory will be given right on the boat and people will immediately learn what the sails are called, look where the ropes are and perform some actions.

Actually, after passing these 6 lessons a person should be ready to be on the boat not just as a passenger, but as a full member of the crew. Naturally, you won't get much skills in 6 lessons, but this course gives you a full understanding of what yachting is.

- All these programs are designed for beginners.

- Yes, because for advanced yachtsmen we will only do master classes. This is our third area. It will be specific topics for people who want to learn something specific. Naturally, my Olympic experience will not be shared with someone who has just come and is not familiar with the terminology.

- Who's behind the PROyachting sign besides you?

- Mikhail Kondratyev manages the project. He is responsible for the overall management and technical condition of the boats, plus he communicates with everyone, as he has been a yachtsman since childhood and is in the centre of the yachting party. Some time ago Ekaterina Ektova joined us. Katya is a man experienced in terms of events and management. Since 2012 she actually organizes the« Yachtsman of the Year»Award herself.

- Tell me about the school's teachers, please.

- Vladimir Chirkov, a very experienced yachtsman with 44 years of experience, master of sports of the Soviet Union and certified IYT instructor. He teaches a theoretical course for obtaining rights.

Besides, we have Igor Skalin, silver medalist at the Atlanta Olympics. He has extensive experience not only in sports yachting, but also in long distance sailing. He also teaches a course on the WFTU program. Plus Igor, of course, has fantastic knowledge of how the boat is arranged, rigging, electronic devices and everything connected with it. Igor will conduct master classes on these topics. We also plan to attract various newsmakers from «sails».

- Last season you had a very successful Wednesday Night Race. Do you plan to continue that?

- Yes, that's right. We accidentally found this format of Wednesday evening races, and it so happened that from the third regatta there were full houses.

Obviously, people get tired in 3 working days and thus relieve tension.

This season our schedule became much tighter. On Tuesdays there will be a traditional master class, the race on Wednesday remains, Thursdays we dedicate a match-race (while the navigation is closed, the meetings were postponed to Wednesday). On Friday we give a break, and on Saturday we are waiting for beginners to take a combined lesson - theory plus practice on the water. On Sundays we will hold Royal Sunday Race. The race starts at four o'clock in the afternoon so that people can return from their summer cottages and recharge their energy for the rest of the week.

It seems to me that if you do everything on a serious level, you have to offer different activities so that people can choose what is really right for them.

- I'm worried about the fate of the fleet. A lot of newcomers, who for the first time go out on boats without proper training. How did the fleet survive last season?

- It seems easy from the outside, but there is a lot of work behind this ease. You have to keep the boats on a good technical level, replace everything that is sinking and lost in time. Certain technical nuances arise, but we handle them.

Especially, I understand what it is like to watch the fleet, of course, not of 10 yachts, but I had 3 boats in the Olympic program. And there they had to be in «top»readiness.

Here, our main task is to monitor the equivalence of boats. Since we have a new fleet of boats from Beneteau Platu 25 - all boats of one year - they age equally. Within 3-4 years they will look great and operate normally, you just have to replace certain parts, and that's all.

- What do you expect from the new season?

- If last year we went to the touch, not knowing how it will be, now we have gained some experience. I hope the number of corporate events will increase, and I am confident that we will be able to maintain their quality and level.

The Royal Yacht Club has a very beautiful and wonderful infrastructure, it is impossible to make a bad event here.

At a minimum, we will try to preserve the energy and positive emotions that we have accumulated over the past year.

Elena Firsova was interviewed.

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