As we went to China

Have you heard about the island of Xiamen (Xiamen)? This Chinese island in the Taiwan Strait can be called “the City of yachts”. And all thanks to conducted there since 2008, yacht exhibition, as well as water natural Harbor with a wide entrance and sufficient depth and extensive coastline.

Compared to the Northern coast of Qingdao, Xiamen is not cold in winter and very hot in summer the average temperature is 21°C.

In Xiamen active Association of sailing. Among its members an important place is taken by IRON ROCK Sailing Club. In November 2019 sailing club IRON ROCK and “Nizhny Novgorod children’s river shipping company” has held the first Russian-Chinese children’s sailing regatta “Cup of the White Herons”. (According to the ancient name of Xiamen, the “Island of egrets”).

“The history of this regatta began with a paper boat business cards that I handed out in 2013 at the yacht exhibition in Xiamen, – said the co-organizer of the regatta, a researcher of Chinese art and yachtswoman of Moscow Alexander Burov. – Thanks to them I met with coach Liu Minciuna, officially a Deputy Director, responsible for nursery school in IRON ROCK Sailing Club. However, the decision to carry out some joint event was realized only four years later.

In 2017, “Nizhny Novgorod children’s river shipping company” invited the Chinese team to participate in the “Cup of the Governor of Nizhny Novgorod region” in the class “Optimist”. The Chinese team IRON ROCK came in July of this year. The Chinese party – children and parents – Nizhny Novgorod regatta very much. They were placed, and provided boats, and parents, I organized a tour program. So in August, the Chinese side expressed the desire to hold a regatta in Xiamen and was invited to the Russian team. The conditions are great – the kids are all free, we just have to pay for flights, accommodation and parents tour”.

About the regatta in Xiamen we, Muscovites, learnt from Darya Storchevoy, coach, escort Nizhny Novgorod team and, of course, wanted to see this “Chinese yachting Paradise.” To change the November cold in the heat of a tropical island decided to five children (plus two parents) from Moscow, four children (plus two adults) of N. Novgorod and the boy and his mother from Sevastopol. Older and advanced guys were carrying sail, Junior high school students travel light. Even wetsuits are not needed – the heat!

We arrived on the eve of the regatta on Friday was appointed as the acceptance and arming of ships and the training of the Russian team. Put us at the yacht club Feng Shui Sailing Club in the North-West of the island. Yacht club lives up to its name of “Feng Shui” – “wind-water”. There is a large natural harbour, on the one hand that stretch of the beach and Park with bike path, and on the other hand is a large Wuyuanwan Marina where the weekend took place the boat show and where the children were brought to the opening/closing of the regatta. The hotel itself is very cozy with a large wardroom and dining room and beautiful rooms with sea views. At the yacht club kayaks, Windsurfing and SAP-Burgundy.

The Chinese generously gave first choice of boats to our team. Guys with Dasha and Sasha, good speaking in Chinese, took and armed the ten “Optimists”, which was located there, not far from the hotel. Interestingly, the mast and sails of a Chinese store in an abandoned mansion on the embankment among the ancient wagons and rickshaws, antique carved chairs and other curiosities, whose place in the Museum and not subject to demolition house.

On the Board, the position on the ladder, the guys moved the boat to the beach and as the tide was quickly pulled them into the water. Interestingly, in many ways, the life of the local sailing school depends on the time of the tide, because the water level difference at the beginning of November is about 5 m, and to take boats through mud dozens of meters of the lander.

While the young sailors were used to the sea conditions: the sea currents and waves under the supervision of Dashi, coach Liu and Sasha took the parents to the city center in a supermarket and a Bank. In China you can go alone exotic fruits – mango and dragons (or pitaya fruit cactus), and a variety of local food.

Familiarity with the Chinese team took place on Saturday, when all armed boat, and then waited for the tide, followed by lunch (sacred to every Chinese). Finally, all moved to the other side in Wuyuanwan Marina, listened to the oration of Mr. Wei Tsuna, Director of the Association of sailing to Xiamen and part-time judges “Cup of the white Heron”. Darkens in China before, after 17 h, prior to that time to carry out two of the race and in the harbour and the open sea. Our guys couldn’t adjust to the flow. The wind was strong, the hardware broke, boat maintenance regularly to somebody rushed to help. Andrew Lopatkin from Moscow managed to change the guy, but Grisha Petrov with the second race came because of the problems with the materiel.

On the second day – probably thanks to Casinoa scrutiny of past races, the guys have already calmer feel on the water. Although acclimatization and lack of sleep (and the difference with Moscow 5 hours), of course, affected. Held four races on the open water.

And while the children chased the parents could visit China(Xiamen) International Boat Show, held on the water and on the Bank of Wuyuanwan Marina. This year the exhibition was organized for the 12th time and, according to the Chinese, was slightly below that shows some economic downturn in the country due to the difficult international relations. Of course, the biggest exhibition of motor yachts on the water was Azimut. Impressed by the American motor 145-foot catamaran with a submarine on Board. According to the crew, he performs research for the US and after the exhibition will travel to Japan to explore the wrecks. In addition to the foreign brands were represented on the exhibition and the Taiwanese China shipbuilding: engine 45-foot yacht from Montefino Yachts and unfinished racing sailing yacht Yachts H930 from Huayi – Chinese version of a J80 and a funny round Topper – a local analogue of the Laser Dinghy. The latter is very popular in China, they regularly holds competitions. Another of the sailboats was a Hobbie Cat and used Beneteau Oceanis. Of course, there were a lot of different services, marine and other goods, hotels, house balls and racing cars. But the Charter service and sailing school was presented poorly.

The evening was again a “debriefing” and the video with the starts. Dasha gave the job to record your observations relative to the wind, an advantageous position at the start, the flow rate, where were you at the start and at the finish, and why. For some children this was a very difficult task – to remember and record something. And so it was especially enjoyable after theory to pasupuleti snake, or to dig in the sand on the beach. Won just gadgets or table football, in which recklessly fought all the children.

On Monday, the third and final day of the regatta, brought a very strong wind, so the distance set in the Bay. Conducted four races at the conclusion of which the wind near the shore so soured that chose this way, eaten kept within control time. As the race began unusually early, the boat delivered in the water at the shallows, and they ended in the afternoon. Our guys quickly removed materiel from the beach, changed into my uniform and t-shirts with the regatta and went along with all the bus to the award ceremony in Wuyuanwan Marina.

Best of all, made our girls Lera and Lera Mitina from Bespalova N. Novgorod – they have first and second place. The entire podium boys went to the Chinese team. I must say that the five Chinese, who finished first every time, differed from the other part of the team with their materiel, they have exhibited a blockage of the mast and sails look newer. The top ten Russians entered Lopatkin Andrew, the Concept of Ivan Panin, and Nikita – they have 6,7 and 8 respectively. In the twenty – Komarov, Vladimir, Petrov, Grigory and Sukhomlin Michael (12,13 and 14 places respectively).

The present fraternization of Russian and Chinese guys started over lunch and afterwards. Most attention went to Grisha and Chen the Best who became friends in N. Novgorod. And they knew English and therefore spoke calmly. Most of the children did not know anything but their native language, slightly hampered communication. Although sign language and interpreters in phones, of course, rescued. Everyone signed each other on the visors, and exchanged gifts. By the way, our team was handed a real Chinese painted samovar, dolls and chocolates. The Chinese also did not remain in debt, especially lucky for those guys, who started to teach the Chinese language – they gave me musical alphabet and flashcards.

However, all surpassed the mother Chen Nana – Juan Guifan, she twice a week was brought to a Russian team treats (fruits and sweets) and gave everyone at the end of the gifts. Interestingly, Chen Nan is the second child in their family. For a long time existed in China the policy of “one family – one child”, a second child could have only informally. It’s not about ethnic minorities and residents of rural areas. January 1, 2016, the law of one child was cancelled. Now allowed to have two children, and ethnic minorities even three.

If the question arises – why the regatta lasted three days, it is necessary to take into account that to study in a school in China very seriously, so the guys were able to miss only one day – Monday. The remaining three days before departure we were devoted to excursions. And I must say that it was amazing and unlike anything the tour! Many thanks to the organizers and Sasha, which always accompanied us and were constantly being transferred and told!

The first day we visited the island-Museum Island is a tropical Paradise with mountains, beaches and old houses. A feature of the island is coconuts, mangoes, cut flowers and an abundance of brides on all the main streets and beaches. There we managed to get lost, but in the age of Wi-Fi and wotsap, which is unlike social networks in China works more or less fine, we are easily found.

As Gulangyu island round house Tulou to which we were taken the next day, also a UNESCO world heritage site. This old house-fortress, within which the area held the whole life of the Chinese of the time. Right now there is active trade of tea, dried persimmon, red inside Pamela and different Souvenirs. Home located in the mountains, from one to another it is necessary to travel by bus along a beautiful road lined with tea and rice plantations and fruit trees. At sunset, on the long ride back, we even got a real ocean waves, looked like the Chinese ride on serff, dined on surf station and dive in the waves. And once again convinced that the idea of the Chinese as poor people, is wrong. On average, the Chinese are now live richer Russians. So order many products as before in China are unprofitable – the prices are higher. This is especially true of certain types of electronics.

The last day we explored the beaches and the old centre of Xiamen. Passing by Xiamen University (another local attraction), we were on the endless, flowing into each other with picturesque beaches, like the pictures, round stones. We swam, ate a mango and the fried calamari, they gave me a treat in one temple, made a donation to the other, visited the shopping street, ate local delicacies and bought Souvenirs. And in the evening as usual was sitting in the wardroom, drinking tea with dried mango and talked for life. Good sailing in Xiamen!

And together with the organizer of the regatta, Mr. Liu Minciuna we hope that the “Cup of the white herons” will become an annual event, will attract children from many Russian and Chinese cities, and will continue to develop Russian-Chinese friendship on the sailing level.

Olga Efimova-Sokolov

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