Although yachting is becoming an increasingly popular outdoor activity, around him remains an aura of luxury, inaccessible to mere mortals. And this is not the only misconception about sailing, which is still perceived as an easy romantic hobby (and not as an occupation that requires preparation and constant practice), and as a "non-feminine business" (despite the fact that gender balance in the yachting community is little by little, but straightens out).
We talked about what is needed in order to sail on a yacht with three captains who completed their studies at the Force of the Wind school: Anna Planina, head of the Internet department at an international advertising agency, interior designer Maria Oleinikova, and architect Svetlana Kravchenko.
How to start
Anna Planina: Yachting for me started by accident, in 2014, when I was invited to a regatta. Then I had no idea what boats, sails, and even more so some kind of races on them. But the regatta was in the Caribbean, and I agreed.
It is better to start with a sailing trip on a yacht under the guidance of an experienced captain, see how it happens, try to twist the winches yourself, "get pumped". I think that external factors that could discourage interest simply do not exist. Relationships in the crew may not work out, it can be very rocking, but a person will still have a chance to fall in love with sails, waves and wind no matter what. Another may not "go in" with an ideal combination of all external factors - he simply will not like it, and that's it. It's like love, not very predictable.
Maria Oleinikova: The theme of the sea and ships hovered with me all my life: there are my father's stories about his youth in Vladivostok, and life in St. Petersburg, and friends who began to try yachting in different ways. I was invited to join several times, but for the first time I decided to go to the training regatta in Malta in May 2017, and it was one hundred percent hit.
The fears of all newcomers are about the same - seasickness, a long life together with a team of strangers, and a salad of new and incomprehensible terms. With the necessary preparation, the level of stress can be greatly reduced: read the literature on the topic, stock up on drama (one of the names of dimensionhydrinate, a drug used to prevent and arrest the manifestation of seasickness. - Approx. ed.), get to know the team in advance, or even bring along a couple of like-minded friends with whom you are comfortable. Usually the first time it becomes clear whether it suits you or not. And if it fits, then that's all, there will always be a desire in the sea.
Svetlana Kravchenko: For me, yachting began with a big cruise regatta. Then it consisted of eight boats, and not fifty, as it is now. That is, it was not a sport, not an expedition, but a simple cruise, with parties, aperol on the deck, chatter in the passages. I went, I really liked it, then unexpectedly for myself I went to study theory and take a license.
I do not consider yachting to be something so difficult that I should carefully and carefully approach the beginning of classes. It's either yours or not. I have a couple of girlfriends who were very sick, for example, on the first hike, and yet they are now fans and always go on the boat with me. There is someone who first tried sport yachting in Oreshka. And he walks too. There is a friend who stepped on the boat for the first time, going to check in on the captain. And he walks too. And there is someone who visited the beautiful warm sea for the first time, without any problems, and never went again. It is similar to the situation "what day of the week is it better to go to a new city to like it." Go to any one! Either like it or not.
Time, money and effort
ANNA PLANINA: To obtain a license, in principle, it is enough to take a seven-day or fourteen-day course (theory and practice), and you will be given a crust.It will cost about a thousand euros, without flight and accommodation. But with such an approach it will not be easy to "go far" on your own. I completed practice after two regattas on cruise yachts (these are the ones that you can live in), after that I went to sailing training in Oreshka for three months. When it became obvious that I liked the role of the captain, I passed the theory, passed the exam and got the license. Then she once again went to sea as a sailor and only after that she took the yacht on her own.
I try to go to the sea at least once every three months, in the summer, during the season I train in the suburbs. Anyway, every time you step on board a yacht, you understand that you don't know something as well as you would like.
MARIA OLEINIKOVA: You need to understand what yachting is for you: from time to time go to regattas with friends, or choose yachting and get a ride in races, or learn to be a captain. There are a lot of options, it all depends on the desire. For myself, I chose an intensive, but smooth mode: I went to regattas like a sailor, every time I learned something new, then I tried sports training in Oreshka in the summer - and it was the coolest summer near the water in the company of friends. Then she unlearned to become a captain, assembled a team and joined the Power of the Wind regattas in a new capacity. Last fall, on my birthday, I made an independent trip to Turkey along the Fethiye Bay. As for skill, I think it's the same as on a bike - I sat down and drove off. Only every time you learn something new in the process of driving and every time it is less scary.
SVETLANA KRAVCHENKO: You can invest in yachting from zero to all the money you have on hand. You can download free textbooks, read them during your lunch break and be the undisputed winner of the cup in Oreshka - or you can buy a boat right away and not win anything.
With practice, everything is more unambiguous - it is needed in sports, expeditionary, and even cruise yachting. Every hour on the boat is a chance to learn something you might need in a critical situation. And it can be anything - something that did not happen in the first week or in the first five years. Can you go to sea without practice? Oh sure. I walk all the time. Is it possible to say for sure that everything will end well? Each time I hope that my chances of doing so increase.
ANNA PLANINA: The common expression about a woman on a ship is no longer relevant, but the stereotype that yachting is not a "woman's" occupation is still alive. They explain, as a rule, "heavy physical exertion" and the need to have a "male mindset" in order to quickly respond and make decisions in crisis situations. However, everything that is done by force on a yacht is done wrong. In addition, women tend to be less risk averse, which is also important on board.
Of course, when you moor a yacht somewhere in Sicily, in a swimsuit, all the mariners come running to the pier - they also rarely see a woman at the helm. They are as active as possible to help, give compliments. But this does not bother me: helping a neighbor is a good nautical habit, and if it is not required, then you can always say “no”.
MARIA OLEINIKOVA: Despite the fact that there are not so many female captains yet, I met with sexism much less often in yachting than in my work, although there are a lot of women designers and architects now. At the regatta in Greece for twenty-nine boats, there were only six female captains, and there were about four hundred participants in total, and many were surprised to learn that I was the captain. Sometimes guys indulgently ask if it’s hard for me. It's hard, of course, but a couple of tough sailors solve this problem.
SVETLANA KRAVCHENKO: A colossal number of people help me on yachting. Maybe because they are pleased that several girls will thank them (I usually have a female team), that they are stronger and can help, or maybe simply because helping others is normal, regardless of gender. But they probably help more often than men.In any case, I do not want to give up on this: I am glad that someone smiles and makes a few circles around our boat - it's just beautiful.
And at the reception of the boat, you can ask for an additional blanket or a can of gasoline for a brine (a light boat equipped with a motor and oars.-- Approx. ed.), while you smile at a satisfied charter employee who wonders where we can go on this boat if we have no men in our crew.
Typical and abnormal situations
ANNA PLANINA: The most memorable cases are related to emergency situations. For example, once we pumped water from a friend's yacht at the anchorage - it was annoying, but still fun. I remember very much the transition from Tenerife to Homera in the winter of 2018 (Canary Islands), then I helped the female captain. It was my first time in the ocean, there was a lot of wind, high waves and little experience for both. At first it was a little scary, but again there were only positive impressions. Fortunately, I haven’t gotten into really bad situations yet.
MARIA OLEINIKOVA: The first exit to the sea is a thrill, delight, nothing is clear, it is impossible to forget. The first night crossing is amazing. The first time to vomit from the stern and finally admit that you are no stronger than seasickness - awesome. These are all typical sailing situations.
SVETLANA KRAVCHENKO: When I started as a skipper, at one time something was constantly changing or breaking. The anchor fell out, the guys from the next boat helped to get it. Drowned outboarder (outboard motor.- Approx. ed) - they also helped to get it, they forgot the documents on a neighboring island - they had to return separately from the flotilla the next day. It seems that all this fit into one week. But most of all, I was upset when a cosmetic bag with all its contents drowned at the end of this week
Community, partnership and competition
ANNA PLANINA: The yachting community is the most friendly environment possible. The fact is that sailing on a yacht - and even more so a sailing race - is a risk-taking event. As a rule, all participants in the process understand this, there is simply no room for negativity in such conditions. An amateur regatta generally resembles a pioneer camp for thirty-year-olds. There is competition in the race, between competing teams - this is natural. And on a single yacht there is a subordination and with a competent distribution of roles, no competition arises.
MARIA OLEINIKOVA: The yachting community for me is first of all about an attentive attitude to each other, about respect, about mutual assistance and about a very special understanding of freedom. Competition? I do not know. And what is there to compete for? The sea is huge, take a boat, join.
SVETLANA KRAVCHENKO: It's hard for me to even call it a community. They are just friends, a successful company that has now become a full-fledged part of my life. We see each other, of course, not only at sea. At the same time, people change quickly, someone new comes, someone disappears, but almost everyone instantly becomes part of a close circle. I don’t know what is the matter here - in the common interests or in the fact that "strangers" are quickly cut off. Moreover, in my professional community, on the contrary, it is not so easy to join - but on yachting I communicate with very different people. Different professions, different income levels, different lifestyles - and I really like almost all of them.
I have not seen competition anywhere: neither at competitions, nor in races, nor on a cruise - in "my" yachting there is none at all. Even if this is a race, this is a race of friends who, after the finish, are happy to discuss: "Eh, he squeezed me from the sign!" I can always count on one hundred percent support. On one of the first trips, I made a mistake with the timing and went after sunset on a boat with a radio set. Nervous, looking at the map and thinking how to find a place to moor in such darkness. And then several boats from our flotilla came up from different sides and, despite their business, escorted us to the mooring.Surprisingly, these were not only boats of "friends" - one of them was carrying guys who for the first time in their lives were at our regatta.
PHOTOS: Natalia Butova