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The Hetman Cup Regatta

 

The 6th Kubok Vadyma Hetmana (Hetman Cup) Annual Cruising Yachts Regatta was held at the Kyiv Water Reservoir June 15 through 20 2005. This year, this most prestigious boat race in Ukraine had a new general sponsor, HARES Group, and the name of the race was somewhat changed  now it is Vadym Hetman Cup for HARES Group prizes. This regatta has also acquired some elements of an exhilarating show in addition to remaining an exciting race.

Maksym PROTSKIV was there and reports what he saw and heard.

 

This year, the journalists who witnessed the races thoroughly enjoying this thrilling show, were invited to join the crews during the races. I think I was particularly lucky because I was privileged to join the crew of the yacht Okean (Ocean).

Gliding at a great speed over the water gives me a very special feeling which is almost impossible to describe  I would compare it to going down a slope on skis or on a snowboard. The yachts movement is not steady though  it moves fast, plying the water, and then, losing the wind, it stands still, only to jump ahead a moment later. Cruising yachts require crews rather than just a couple of people to handle them and the success at a race depends a lot on the relations and team work of the crew. Everybody must know exactly what their functions are and follow the rigid rules. At first, watching the crew of my yacht at work I thought they made themselves sort of hostages of the confined space of the boat in order to experience to the full the excitement of struggling with the elements of water and wind, but later I realized that there was much more to it than met the eye at first. I realized that the crew members must be either ideal psychological matches or be excellent psychologists in order to understand perfectly well their partners and their own characters. The more I stayed on the yacht, the more I saw the crew looked and acted like a closely knit family or a group of conspirators united by a common though secret goal.

 

According to Serhiy Mashovets, Regattas director who has been in yachting for a long time, the Hetman Cup Regatta was more than just a yacht race conducted at a high, international level  it is at such races that the crews mettle is shown and their skills tested to the full; such a regatta, in his opinion, makes it possible to promote the socially important values such as professional skills, quality and fair play. These values were ones again the characteristic features of the Hetman Cup Regatta.

The first regatta named in honour of Vadym Hetman was held in June 2000. Vadym Hetman was a prominent financier who was instrumental in launching Ukraines monetary unit in 1996, hryvnya, which proved to be rather stable against major world currencies. Hetman was known for his honesty, fairness, dignity and high professional skills. President Victor Yushchenko, who used to be a banker, is considered to be one of the disciples of Vadym Hetman. However, Vadym Hetman, similarly to many other powerful figures in finance and politics, must have had enemies, and not only friends  in 1999 he was murdered, but the murderers have never been found.

This year, the Regatta organizers said in their public statements that the new Ukrainian governments three whales  professionalism quality and fair play  were the foundation on which the government based its new policies.

 

Five exciting days of the races passed so fast that when the final came, it seemed to me that the races had just started. Though the day was cloudy, it was windy and the wind is what the crews want. Journalists, me included, watched the final race from the top deck of a big motor boat. The wind was getting stronger by the minute and I had to keep my hat in place with one hand, holding fast to the railing with the other hand, lest I be blown off the deck altogether  or so it seemed to me that I might. The closer the yachts were getting to the finish, the greater was the excitement. It was my yacht, Okean, captained by Oleksandr Kaznodiy, that came out the winner. I felt as proud as though I myself was there at the winning moment. The yacht Enerhiya captained by Denys Khashchyna, was the runner-up, and Hetman, captained by Yury Semenko, was the third in the final race.

 

The final race was followed by the prizes presentation ceremony, a reception and a show, at which the rock band Beethoven entertained the guests and participants. Among the guests there were quite a few high-ranking officials, politicians and prominent athletes (I saw Serhiy Bubka, formerly famous pole-vaulter and now head of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine, and Viktor Penzenyk, finance minister, rubbing shoulders with the guests). Incidentally, it was Vitaly Klychko, the prize-winning Ukrainian boxer, who opened the competition.

I think it would be worth adding here that in addition to the grown-up crews, teenage crews of different ages also competed (winners in their age brackets were Artem Savchuk, Anastasiya Tyshchenko and Bohdan Semenyuk). The youngest participant, Nika Vlasenko, was awarded a special prize.

 

Short interviews with guests and participants of the Hetman Cup Regatta.

Mykola Katerynchuk, a guest; a member of parliament, Faction Nasha Ukrayina; Narodny Souz-Nasha Ukrayina Party.

What are your impressions of the regatta? Do you think yachting should be promoted in Ukraine as a sport?

By all means. Yachting is not a new sport in Ukraine, there were even Olympic champions, winners of international competitions. I used to live in the town of Cherkasy. There is a big artificial lake there and I did some of my own yachting as a member of the Kolos sport club. There are all the good reasons to develop yachting in Ukraine, and it is growing in popularity. Its too bad the mass media pays so little attention to it. I hope this years Hetman Regatta will be better covered in the media and yachting will get more of a state support. Yachting is a very good sport  I brought my son with me for him to see how beautiful and exciting it is. So many young people read about seafaring, geographical discoveries, about sail ships  and such races as todays regatta should popularize the idea that they cannot only read about sailing but do it themselves.

Will the new government support and encourage the development of yachting?

I personally know the Minister of Youth and Sports Mr Pavlenko, he is a very diligent and conscientious person and I do hope he will promote government support of yachting.

 

Oleksandr Kaznodiy, Okeans captain, head of the Yachting Federation of Kyiv Oblast, employee of the Central Sports Mastery School.

Was this Regatta more difficult to win than others?

All races held at such a high level are difficult to win. Intensive training for such a regatta lasts for at least a month. Our crew took it very seriously  in addition to regular training, we had everything checked very seriously, every little thing mattered. We showed a good teamwork. We joked and we swore, we were cheerful and fully concentrated. We did our best and we won, and every such victory means a lot.

How long have you been doing yachting?

Since my childhood. In our crew we have world champions, winners of championships in the former Soviet Union and in Ukraine, so I can tell you that its a pretty strong crew.

You are also a world champion, arent you?

Yes, I became a world champion two years ago, in the Solings class.

Which other competitions did your yacht Okean take part in?

Its our fifth competition in the Hetman Cup races, we won four times, and once we were the runners-up. We also took part in Ukrainian championships.

When and where was this yacht built?

In Italy, in 1991.

Do you do any other sports?

Yes, mountain skiing.

Are you married?

Ive been married for sixteen years, we have two children.

 

Ihor Mityukov, head of the Regatta Organizing Committee; Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

How long did it take to carry out all the preparatory work for this regatta?

Usually, such preparatory work takes about eight months to complete, but the participants themselves keep training all the year round in order to be in top form. This year we had new, state-of-the-art equipment, new sails that proved to be beautiful and very effective. Next week, we start preparations for next years competitions.

What are the criteria in choosing the participants?

The Organizing Committee bases its decisions upon the recommendations and advice of experts and coaches. But we also adhere to some principles which, I hope, will remain unchanged in the future as well. It is important for us that the participants share the guiding principles of our yacht club  professionalism, fair play and top quality. We are also planning to improve the material support of the participating crews.

The number of the Regatta sponsors seems to be growing.

Yes, you are right. I would divide the Regattas sponsors, of whom there were quite a few this year, into two groups for convenience of description. One group is made up of the people who either used to work with Vadym Hetman, or who consider themselves to be his disciples or followers. The other group is made up of those who, seeing how successful we were getting, offered their help. But we are very careful in accepting sponsors help  we want to be sure our principles are maintained.

Do you think it was a good idea to name this regatta after Vadym Hetman?

Absolutely. Vadym Hetman was a major figure in the history of Ukraine of the past years. He was a successful financier who was instrumental in building the financial system of independent Ukraine. At the same time he was a daring and powerful politician who during his term as member of parliament promoted the passage of important financial bills. All those who worked with him consider themselves to have been very lucky.

How do you assess the recreational and sports potential of Ukraine?

Very highly. I think that if the economic development will continue at the present pace, the services sector will become a priority. And the sector includes tourism, recreational facilities and sports. Ukraine does have a great potential that should be used. The government should promote and support the recreational sector, or, at least, it should avoid introducing measures which might hinder the development of sports and recreation.

Is there a place in Ukraine that you like particularly much?

Yes, but its not a place  its the Dnipro River.

 

Misbah Al Drubi, executive director of the HARES Group Company, general sponsor of the Hetman Cup Regatta.

Why did you decide to take part in financing this event?

I would say instead of financing this event  sponsoring this event. Because it is a beautiful event, because everything here is very good, because sports is one of the spinal cords of any society. And when it comes to racing or yachting, we love to do it. We have been asked to do that, we looked at that, we loved it and we did it.

How do you see the sports, tourism and recreational sector of Ukrainian economy on the whole?

My friend, tourism is a worldwide phenomenon, it is more important than oil. This industry can bring wealth to any country, more than oil. Ukraine is a beautiful country: highly cultured, of a long history, wonderful, highly educated people, beautiful weather. So, for this country, once it is opened for tourists, the sky is the limit. I truly believe that tourism in this country will become a major industry.

Could we expect any of your investments into this sector of Ukrainian economy in the future?

Tourism is not our main activity, but it could become one. Events happen in life and you just decide to enter that sector or the other one. All I can tell you today is that its not our main activity, though we put some investments in the tourism. But the future will show.

What part of Ukraine do you like most for recreational reasons?

As I told you, Ukraine is a beautiful and diversified country, and if you go west, you have beautiful places, you go east  beautiful places, anywhere you go in the south or north you find beautiful places I mean each place has its own attractions.

 

Photos by Oleksandr ZADYRAKA

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