Saturday, 24 May 2014
by Cailah Leask
The Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge has announced final selections for the Russian Youth Sailing Team which will be competing on the 2014 Gazprom Swan 60 Class Circuit. Launched in 2013 by Saint Petersburg Yacht Club Russia, the Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge is a unique programme which works to support young talented sailors from Russia reach an international level in sport. The Swan 60 youths now face their first test as a team with the start of the Nord Stream Race on the 30th May.
Over seventy applicants applied and thirty were selected to take part in selection trials at Saint Petersburg during April and May of this year. As well as daily boat handling afloat the candidates had to pass a series of psychological suitability and English tests to qualify for the official Russian Youth Sailing Team.
This is the first initiative of its kind to be developed in Russia, providing youngsters with the ability to live their global yacht racing dreams. Mentor and skipper for the 18-30 year olds afloat will be Sergey Borodinov (RUS) who has competed in the Whitbread Round the World Race, Olympic Games and is also a World Cup Champion. “All of the candidates have shown a high level of training and motivation which made our final selection difficult, I am confident that the sailors whom we have invited deserve to be part of the Russian Youth Sailing Team and I look forward to racing with them”. As well as fresh faces to the racing world, Sergey will have the support of Vitaly Rozhkov (RUS) and Alexander Bozhko (RUS) both currently racing on the highly competitive RC44 circuit as Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge.
Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge is a long term initiative likened to the success of the Artemis Offshore Academy and British Keelboat Academy. The sporting talent discovered during this selection process will be developed carefully. After their initial season of Swan 60 yacht racing the youths will be guided by Saint Petersburg Yacht Club in order that they all achieve their sporting ambitions as part of one of the yacht club’s professional teams.
After a start on the home waters of the Baltic the team will head to the Mediterranean in order to compete in the Gazprom Swan 60 World Championship and other events.
The team’s success can be tracked at https://www.facebook.com/youthsailingchallenge