The SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 drew to a close today (Tuesday 4 October) with a weather-delayed Parade of Sail along the coast of Varna. Heavy on-shore winds meant that many of the ships required assistance by tugs to take them off the quay.
Despite the weather, many people turned out to see them leave, most on the sea walls and beaches, but some on the water in local yachts and pleasure craft. The procession of ships each passed a saluting vessel, before heading off to their next destination. Some have only short passages to make, others will be sailing hundreds of miles. Amid the dark and stormy skies, the sun broke through dramatically just as Mir (Russia), winner of Class A in all three races, approached the saluting vessel.
It is now time to reflect on the events of the last four weeks. The experience of the four host ports, all so different and all managed by hard working teams of professionals with an army of volunteers, without which, these events could not run.
Hot, sunny weather, torrential rain and thunder storms, light winds, heavy winds, no winds, we had everything!
The ships, of course, again all so different but all with the sail training spirit at their heart. The trainees and crews have had incredible, and in some cases life changing, experiences they will never forget. And so have the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the ports, who have walked around the decks, taken selfies at the wheel, rung the ships’ bells, and perhaps gone away inspired to try a voyage themselves.
A final word from Race Chairman Robin Snouck Hurgronje:
“I want to thank all the ships for their contribution to the Regatta. They were the beating heart of the SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016. Fair winds and following seas!”
So why does Sail Training International run these events?
STI has as its mission, the development and education of young people through the sail training experience, regardless of nationality, culture, religion, gender, or social background. We asked some trainees and crew members on each ship how they feel about their time on board, about leaving at the end of the Regatta, and how this experience has affected their lives. This is what they told us:
Niki, 19, trainee:
“I go back to school tomorrow. I can’t wait to tell my schoolmates about the Regatta. I’m very happy that I was able to take part for the second time, after Black Sea Tall Ships 2014.
It’s much more interesting here, in a working environment one can really learn. I prefer this way of studying. There is good team work and mutual understanding, if you need there is always someone to show you and tell you how things should be done. It is great place to have your training.”
Ioana, 21 years old, trainee
“It was a great experience with great people! At first time I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to go on that trip but now I really don’t want it to end.”
Dimitrii, 21, crew member:
“I’m really glad to have participated in Tall Ships, it was very unusual experience. We had such strong pressure in the sails and it took courage and strength but we managed to win and I feel very proud and satisfied to have been part of the crew.
This voyage has changed my entire mindset. It gave me a lot of sailing experience, but also new knowledge about new cities and countries.”
Artiom, 22, trainee:
“My feelings are very mixed. I love this port and I really want to have more time and to stay longer. This is our last destination; we are heading home in Sochi. It’s my last trip with my friends on board.
I’ll keep many beautiful memories.”
Ania, 20 years old, trainee
“All of my friends at home say that they want to be in my place on the ship! The Regatta definitely made me a better and happier person.”
Petr, 19, trainee:
“I’m very sad that I have to leave such a beautiful town as Varna, and its pity that the Regatta is over. I loved to be with the guys on board and with the other trainees from the fleet.
It’s very interesting to sail when there is stimulus to compete. We are much better team as we work more with the sails and we grow up more as sailors.”
Sergei, 20 years old, trainee
“As this was the first time I’ve been on the Regatta, I found out really interesting thing about the ship. I don’t feel sad about the ending of the competition – I think I already took all the best from it.”
“We like it all a lot, we have further plans to sail to neighboring harbors and sea around a bit longer.
I have only positive thoughts and emotions. We have met old friends, from the Black Sea Tall Ships 2014 Regatta and have made many more new ones. If there will be another Tall Ships Regatta we will come again for sure.”
Mila, 25, trainee:
“It would have been nice if the Regatta actually was starting from tomorrow, but I’m in a way glad that it is over, because it is quite overwhelming. There are so many emotions, sailing, new friends, that I really need some break. There are so many events gong at the same time, in every moment something is happening.
I had very high expectations, and being a woman on board may not always be so easy, at least on the Bulgarian ships, I think. So it was quite grounding experience, in a way. Nevertheless, it is a great chance to practice teamwork, loyalty and propriety. It is great personal experience. It was really good that the STI are always around, keeping close eye on us, and picking up the ones who have or don’t have potential. I have received already many invitations and proposals for future work and sails. Such events like Tall Ships Regattas should happen more often, we must have them more in the Black sea, again and again. The people here deserve that.”
Rodrigo, 30, trainee, Spain:
“I feel some melancholy about leaving tomorrow; I want it to continue more…
It has brought to me a lot of experience – of sailing; I met a lot of people in the world of sailing. I would love to sail on another Regatta or just to sail around.”
Liva, 30, trainee, Latvia:
“My adventure only starts now, as I have arrived yesterday, to sail for the next 7 days on board of Atyla. I feel glad. I’ve joined the boat here to see the tall ships and the end of the Regatta and the boats, to get a taste of the event.
It was very nice day yesterday: the crew parade, the award giving, and the crew party. Being there, you can tell the difference between the ships organization in a day only; not only the different size and shape, but the different organization on board, the different goals and spirit. It is so curious. I would love to make a Regatta sail in a year or two.”
Sebastian, 26 years old, watch leader
“I could never imagine that I would come all the way from Uruguay to here, sailing with such a multicultural crew. We’ve got people on board from eight different nationalities. You can learn a lot from all these great people and their experiences. It was such an honor for me to be part of this amazing competition with all the greatest people.”
Denis, 19, trainee:
“I’ll miss all the cities we have visited. It was so interesting to see new places and countries. Everything was interesting for me: the Regatta itself, the training. I feel really bad about our broken mast and that we couldn’t show the best we can do in the competition. I love Varna, It is such warm city, and people here have received as so warm and hospitable. Of course, all cities have something distinguished and nice, but I would like to spend more time here.
The Regatta left many impressions in me. That was my first time sailing and I already took part in a Regatta. That was true honor for me. It was excellent!”
Petr, 24, crew member:
“I wanted it to continue more, it was too short. I only have good, warm feelings and impressions. That is my first Regatta and first duty on board. So many new encounters and acquaintances here.
It has left the desire to be part of it again.”
Karina, 19, crew
“I’m sad. There are so many impressions, acquaintances… It was so interesting to be able to experience new towns and countries, people. It is sad that it is over.
That was a great life experience. You can test your own abilities, both moral and physical, there have been such challenges that you can’t experience anywhere else.”
Evgeniya, 18, crew:
“After the Regatta we will leave the boat here and go back home on plane. I really miss my home, but I have become so close to my crew that I really don’t want to part from them.
It has really given me love to the sea and sailing, and it was very romantic experience. I’ll keep on sailing and take part in Tall Ships Regattas. I hope there will be such Regattas here in Black Sea again.”
Sergei, 31, crew
“I feel so upset realising that is at its end. It was the best thing ever happened to me. I’ll miss the ships, the sea, the communication between all of us… It was unforgettable!”
Andrei, 48, second captain
“I’m not the happiest person now because it is the very end of this wonderful competition. However, we, the crew, decided to stay here, in Varna, during the winter because we enjoy the weather and love the port.”
Petre, 26, deck officer
“I will definitely miss the crew and the time we enjoyed together.”
Kris, 40, deck officer
“I’m so sorry that we are leaving. I wanted to stay longer with all the new friends, enjoying this perfect weather.”
Joro, 20, trainee
“I’m so sad, knowing that as the regatta is finishing, I have to go back to school.”
Aleksandar, 21, trainee
“I’ve got mixed feeling – at the one hand I’m so upset about the end of the trip with all the amazing parties and experiences, but one the other hand I want to come back to my old way of life. But one thing is for sure, staying such long time in the sea really changed my world view and build up my character.”
Ivan, 19, trainee
“During the time I spend on the board I had great physical and mental training. The captain of the ship is very kind and I really respect him. If I have the chance, I will definitely come back.”
Mowcin, 15, trainee
“I really like Varna with its beautiful port and lovely people. The sports programme was great fun and for our team it was amazing to go and win some prizes. For me, it was the first time sailing and I really enjoyed it.”
Veronica, 15, trainee
“I like that people in Varna are so sympathetic and kind. The sports were quite fun. We enjoyed competing with the other teams and being on first place is quite pleasant. I’ll remember the Regatta as a new, interesting adventure and a place where you can always find a friend from different nationality.”
To all of the SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 fleet, both ships and trainees, we hope to see you all again very soon!
To catch up on what’s been happening during the SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016 visit our event page.
PAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group) is one of the world’s leading shipping companies, specialising in the transportation of crude oil, petroleum products, and liquefied gas, as well as servicing offshore upstream oil and gas installations and equipment.
The Group’s fleet comprises 148 vessels with a total deadweight of over 12.8 million tonnes. The company is registered in St Petersburg with offices in Moscow, Novorossiysk, Murmansk, Vladivostok, Yuzhno Sakhalinsk, London, Limassol, and Dubai.
The Group offers a wide range of vessels in the market segments most demanded by major Russian oil and gas companies. With its own technical development and unique approach to advanced technologies, Sovcomflot has the ability to meet the most demanding customer requirements, providing effective transportation for oil and gas companies.
The Group is the title sponsor of SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta 2016. Previously, it was also the title sponsor of the similar event held in 2014, as well as a presenting partner of the Tall Ships Races 2009.