Anastasia Zolotareva, Russian crew member

The contest in Jakobstad will remain the most exciting sailing experience for me regardless of whether I will take part in the Atlantic Challenge contest again or not. It was my first time to participate in the international gig race and moreover my country managed to win the AC Trophy for the first time in the history of this competition.

A lot of factors contributed to our victory. We trained hard and planned every step of our participation in advance. But on top of our efforts the perfect organization of the event and thoughtful approach of the hosting party helped us to feel confident about the technical side of the contest and to concentrate on the training and the events.

First of all I would like to emphasise the perfect arrangements made for accommodation and food. The school building was available beforehand. This allowed the crews and especially the international teams to establish good relations between it’s members, get familiar with new boats and to investigate the waters. We had no problems with reaching the gigs, finding a place to work or to do sports. Besides, our supporters found an enclosed space of the school patio and this was an ideal place for putting up their tents. Having our supporters next to us and feeling their encouragement meant a lot for our daily routine training.

Food was also of a very good standard and kitchen facilities provided space for quiet (and not quiet) parties and ‘international’ tea gatherings.

The Finish organizers also helped with the transportation of the international gig and actually it was real fun to have two international crews this year. All Russian “reserve” participants got a chance to try themselves as members of multilingual crews and to access their own gigs from a different angle.

‘Das Boot’ became another ‘peculiarity’ of the contest. This small museum boat added some flavour to those who were not content with places for spectators on a fire boat and wanted to challenge themselves with something special.

I would also like to mention that Jakobstad treated us very warmly and friendly. Though English was the working language of the contest the hosts organized a special Russian tour for our crew. For those who did not want to leave the yacht club where all the gigs were moored there were chances to enjoy disco music right on the spot.

I want to say thank you to Jakobstad, to the Finish hosts and to all AC teams for a demanding experience of good seamanship and fair play. Competitions like the Atlantic Challenge not only test your sailing skills but also give a chance to exchange experience and to meet new people who you are eager to see at the next contest!