As in the «sea capital of Russia», the only yacht club in operation is shared.
Yachting in Russia

As in the «sea capital of Russia», the only yacht club in operation is shared.

In St. Petersburg, bailiffs cut the gangways to the pontoons «of the Trade Unions»' River Yacht Club, the largest in European Russia.
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In the middle of July one of the oldest yacht clubs in St. Petersburg was visited by bailiffs. They dismantled the ramps leading to the pontoons to which the yachts were moored. As a result, yacht owners had to use auxiliary items, such as ladders, to get to the boats.

The River Yacht Club on Petrovskaya Spit is the only yacht club in the Northern Capital that is able to receive yachts today.

Other berths are overcrowded; part of them is closed for reconstruction in full or in part. The «Hercules»Yacht Club is under reconstruction; the Terijoki Yacht Club has not opened this year as the fairway has been blurred there; the infrastructure at the Imperial Yacht Club is not ready to be completed.

Announcements about the need to remove yachts from the harbor were hung at the Yacht Club back in June, told itBoat Director of Wind«Force in» St. Petersburg Igor Kovalevsky.

«Once a week bailiffs came and took pictures and went, nobody called the ship owners, at least I hadn't heard about it. The club's management had only one opinion at the time that everything was illegal and the tenants didn't need to take any action," he recalls. - On the afternoon of 16th July, bailiffs in the guest harbour began to move the pontoons away from the risalite, remove the gates and seal the gates on the pontoons. Later on, the gangways were loaded onto tow trucks and taken out of the yacht»club.

The Wind» «Force Fleet was also moored in Guest Harbor. The yachts of the project found themselves on a pontoon, two meters away from the risalite. It took a boat to get to the boats. By the evening a ladder was made, which could be used to go to the pontoon.

«This situation was not very pleasant for us. We don't want to have anything to do with gaps that don't seem to concern us. It doesn't matter to us who we pay the rent to, and we don't want to receive calls from customers asking: what's going on there? I just want to be engaged in sailing and its popularization and have nothing to do with this kind of proceedings, politics and so on," says Igor Kovalevsky. - The position of the current management of the yacht club is simple. They told us that they appealed against the illegal actions of bailiffs and we just need to wait and we, the tenants, can stand still. And the yachtsmen and ship owners have no choice, even if all the yachts were forced to leave the harbor, only a third could find a new place. The city has no water infrastructure to replace the Central Yacht Club».

Who paralyzed the River Union Yacht Club and why.

The bailiffs operated by court order as early as 2011. The court found that the water use contract concluded in 2008 between the «River Yacht Club of the Trade Unions» and the Committee for Nature Management is invalid, as it was held without a mandatory auction. The court ordered «the River Yacht Club of Trade Unions to» vacate the water area of the Malaya Nevka River, its mouth, the western tip of Petrovsky Island, Western Harbour and Northern Harbour, which had been provided to the trade union under the water use contract for the accommodation of the swimming facilities.

The River Union Yacht Club has made several unsuccessful attempts to challenge the court decision. In May 2017, the management of the Yacht Club attempted to obtain the use of the Western and Northern harbours through an auction. But the management of water resources, setting the date of the auction in August, in fact, did not hold it. Instead, waiting for the entry into force of the new Water Code, which canceled the auctions for the use of water objects for yacht berthing, the management concluded a water use contract with another applicant for a piece of water area of the Petrovskaya Spit - Municipal School of Higher Sports Skills.

Who owns what now on the Petrovskaya Spit

In 2015, the city gave the School of High Sportsmanship to manage several properties on the territory of the yacht club. In particular, it has berthing facilities at its disposal, the so-called Nobel Building, an architectural monument in need of reconstruction. This building once housed the club's administration.

But the land on which all the above properties are located, since 1997, on the right of perpetual usufruct. This did not prevent the school from winning the court in 2018 and obliging the union to remove the gangways to the pontoons, security booth and the barrier, which, according to the school, made it difficult to use the properties under its management.

In addition to land, there are 60 sailing cruising yachts on the union's balance sheet, which are provided free of charge to those wishing to participate in competitions and hiking in exchange for the fact that the yachtsmen themselves keep the boats in good condition and repair them at their own expense. There are 50 dinghies in the children's sports «section. 500 people in total are members of the yacht club. In 2009 they united into the public organization Yacht Club of St. Petersburg River Yacht Club.

The club also provides berthing for outside yachts. They were the main victims of the war of influence at the River Yacht Club. As the director of the club Vadim Yepishin stated, the yacht club has done everything it could - brought to the notice of owners of yachts by the court decision - to clean them or not to clean them, this case is purely owners of boats.

Future of the yacht club and plans for development

Epishin became the head of the «River Union» Yacht Club in 2018. He is also co-owner of «Ecoholding» and general manager of Equestrian Sports Club «of Equestrian Lahta».

In 2015» Vadima Epishina «Ecoholding company presented a plan of global reconstruction of the Yacht Club and promised to invest 6 billion rubles in this business.

The River Yacht Club is really in great need of modernization: the infrastructure here has only been dilapidated since Soviet times.

However, the plan did not appeal to the athletes practicing in the yacht club. They found out that only 5% of the area is planned to be used by yachtsmen. The rest is for commercial development: a promenade with shops and cafes, a spa centre and a hotel.


In 2019 the architectural bureau«Project Culture» commissioned by the Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture (KSA) of Smolny to develop another plan for the reconstruction of the River Yacht Club. The new project caused the yachtsmen's dissatisfaction again: the hulls with the total area of 23 thousand sq.m., where the recreation «rooms for sportsmen», medical-repair center and underground parking were supposed to be located, resembled a premium-class residential complex.

Moreover, such precedents have already been set in the modern history of St. Petersburg: the former Imperial Yacht Club was transformed into elite housing, and according to the documents of the residence is listed as a building for«yachtsmen's recreation. The marina, managed by «Burevestnik», continues to operate on the territory, but prices are more expensive than the city average.

Yachtsmen are trying to preserve the River Yacht Club as a place for affordable yachting in St. Petersburg.

At the end of 2019 the Saint-Petersburg Sailing Union came up with its own development plan for 12 hectares of yachting club, from all sides of the Neva river. Its Vice-President Vladimir Lubomirov manages the port «of Hercules» and the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

The Sailing Union proposed to combine the area of the yacht club infrastructure and the area of public space - only 34.3 thousand square meters - in what proportions, not specified. It is planned to give 15 thousand square meters to the School of higher sportsmanship for the school building and sports grounds, the rest - for recreational areas. The SPSU had several options to implement the concept.

In 2020, the River«Yacht Club was» included in the list of public green areas (PGNOP). The law prohibits commercial development on green «»areas. In order to enable the yacht club to function, deputies amended the law on ZNOP to exclude from green areas the road network, technological platforms for yacht berthing and repair, stains under existing buildings and a helipad.

The «River Yacht» Club management strongly opposed this decision. It fears that the legislative initiative of the authorities will make it impossible to develop the Yacht Club - it is not clear how to build new boathouses or hold mass sporting events.

How the confrontation will end is not known. Meanwhile the «River Yacht Club,» as the only folk» yachting port left in St«. Petersburg, continues to decay surrounded by elite commercial developments.

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