New Zealanders win by a landslide

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On Saturday, June 10 traditional seventh in a row Sails of the White Nights Regatta for the Cup of the Palace of Congresses ended in St. Petersburg. This regatta in match race format has long gained popularity among both Russian and foreign racers and is a qualifying (qualifying) regatta for the Alpari World Cup Series World Match Racing Tour.

For several years the regatta had the highest level - the first ISAF Grade; this time the organisers reduced its status to the second to allow more domestic competitors to take part in it. Accordingly, the preliminary qualifying regatta also reduced its status - from the third to the fourth Grade. For the first time it was held outside St. Petersburg - in Ekaterinburg. However, this had no major impact on the number of Russian competitors: before there used to be four crews, this year there were five of them.
The weather favoured the organisers who managed to perform all the planned flyts. Initially the leaders (in terms of number of flights won) were Andrey Arbuzov, Ruben Corbett and William Tiller (both of New Zealand), but on the last day of the Round Robins Andrey lost almost all his flights and moved to seventh place, nevertheless, he qualified for the final part of the regatta, which gets eight crews out of 12 taking part. The hopes of the crowd that Andrey Arbuzov
would make it to the finals were shaken greatly.

And Ruben Corbett immediately said that someone from New Zealand would win.

Just at the same time William Tiller's crew performed very well, with whom Andrei had to face for getting into the semi-finals. It was an intense and dramatic battle - first fly was won by the New Zealander, then two flyts were left for Andrei. It was right here that a mini-sensation of the regatta happened: the New Zealand crew got ready, geared up and started to be extremely aggressive in the starting area. Andrey was clearly confused and did not seem to expect such an attack. «Result -» before the starting signal. And Consequently, Andrey Arbuzov lost the last two flytests (in the last one he was literally one meter behind on the finish!) and with a score of 2:3 dropped out of the next round.
Andrey Arbuzov, who was upset, even refused to go on the water in the final races for fifth to eighth

So the Saturday day (the day of quarter-finals) was immediately dubbed «a black Saturday».

However, some compensation for elimination of repeated winner of Sails of the White Nights brought us Sergei Musikhin, in a very difficult struggle defeating Staffan Lindberg from Finland, one of the most experienced racers of the regatta, who also became the best in the results of round-robins.
The following races revealed two more semifinalists: Vladimir Lipavsky and Ruben Corbett (interestingly, Corbett's crew included one Russian athlete). «Now it was a question of who would be in the final - the pairs that emerged were, as they say,» mono-national: Russians vs. To everyone's surprise, Sergei Musikhin (who has competed six times in St. Petersburg and is well familiar with our difficult waters) lost to Vladimir Lipavsky 1:3. In the Tiller-Corbett clash a miracle did not happen: «Tiller, who overclocked», defeated his compatriot 3-2. Thus it was Lipavski-Tiller pair who reached the final and Musikhin and Corbett were supposed to fight for the third place.
Unfortunately, it turned out to be an uneven fight. If in the round-robins our riders still managed to control the pressure of the New Zealanders, in the final the latter proved to be even better than Russian sportsmen. Having lost his first heat, Sergey Musikhin had a chance to win the second one (the struggle was tight until two victories), but... a passing by self-propelled car swept away the finishing line. Its place was immediately taken by a gunboat with journalists who hoisted the flag and gave the sound signals according to the rules. However... Sergey, who was in the lead, either did not notice the flag or did not understand it and passed the finishing line. His rival, who was behind, got his bearings in time, made a turn and won the second flyteam.

Sergey protested, of course. And all the umpires came to see him. But after 15 minutes or so, the protest was rejected. Ruben Corbett took third place, Sergey Musikhin fourth.
There is no point in waving fists after a fight, looking for a mistake or malice in the actions of an experienced international jury.

In the race for first place, the battle was fought to three victories. Experienced Tiller, who was in the peak of his form (in New Zealand the season was coming to an end, and ours was just beginning), didn't give Lipavsky a single chance, winning all three flights in one goal.

The aggregate score between Russia and New Zealand was 0-5. The New Zealand riders showed their class, and for us... Well, we still have to learn, train, and fight our nerves. And in that sense White Nights Sails is a great school! It's a pity it's short...
Regatta of next year will be very special - for the first time St. Petersburg will host this regatta in the rank of European match-race

championship. So there will be no angry New Zealanders, but our guys will meet the strongest representatives of European school.
We still have a whole year to prepare a worthy opponent for Europeans!

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