April 26, 2019
Zaretsky will continue the race!
Before you is Vladimir Snegirev's material in today's issue of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Anyone who has watched Golden Globe Race is a must-read!
© Vladimir Snegirev
Russian yachtsman went to the world race straight from the hospital ward
Text: Vladimir Snegirev (Le Sable-d'Olonne)
On the coast of the Bay of Biscay, in a cozy French town, which long ago gained fame as the capital of yacht racing around the world, a ceremony honoring the winners and participants of the unique Golden Globe supermarathon was held.
Four reached the finish
It was here on July 1 last year that this regatta was launched, perhaps the most extraordinary, most risky and unpredictable in the history of yachting. Eighteen brave souls expressed their desire to go around the globe on conditions that accompanied the first “globe” exactly fifty years ago: that is, without stopping, on old-built boats, without using digital means of communication and navigation. In 1969, the only participant who reached the finish line was the Briton Robin Knox-Johnston, who was awarded with all possible honors for this feat and became a legend in his lifetime. It was he who shot from an old cannon from the board of his yacht "Suhaili" sent participants to the ocean GGR-2018. And it was he who, giving an interview to “RG”, said that it would be good if at least half of the starters get to the finish line.
The main prize was the participation in the race, in this extraordinary family, participation in the greatest adventure, the willingness to risk themselves in order to save others
Looks like the old skipper knew what he was saying. Only four yachtsmen managed to cope with all the trials and close the Around the World here in Le Sables d'Olon on time.
First to the delight of the locals, the boat of their 73-year-old compatriot of outstanding French racer Jean-Luc van den Heed arrived at the marina 211 days later. After him, three days later, the two-meter giant from Holland, Mark Slats, who previously differed in the fighting without rules, finished and, six months before the start of the Around the World, he won the rowing Transatlantic regatta. And the third, presenting a surprise to the most sophisticated experts, became an Estonian Uku Randmaa, who modestly called himself a “lover” before the start. And finally, the fourth position was taken by the American with Hungarian roots Istvan Kopar.
And the last three had to slap across the edge. Mark's boat hurricane winds in the Southern Ocean overturned several times. An Estonian in the middle of the Atlantic had run out of food on the way back, and he was forced, without slowing down, to go fishing. Two huge marlins caught by him helped, but Uku still lost more than twenty kilos in weight. Istvan's yacht also patted so that most of the way he had to follow without contact with the ground, his shortwave transmitter was flooded with water and went out of order.
Finally, the fifth participant, Finn Tapio Lehtinen, also has a chance to reach the French coast, but his boat is so overgrown with shells that if he finishes, then not before the end of May.
For all that, all these riders can still be considered lucky. For the fate of the rest was much worse. Four boats are irretrievably lost in the abyss, and their skippers had to be evacuated from remote areas of the oceans with the involvement of aircraft and ships. Moreover, rescue operations, strange as it may seem to someone, can also be included in the GGR asset, because the coordinated actions of sailors, pilots and coastal services of different countries clearly showed: people in distress can help people in any part of our planet, and literally in a matter of hours .
And this is just one of the lessons of the Golden Globe regatta. Now is the time to talk about something else – it was taught by the only Russian participant Igor Zaretsky.
Diagnosis: courage and resilience
The fact is that this 67-year-old athlete, according to the logic that almost all ordinary people are guided by, could not participate in such a cannibalistic competition. However, in any other competition too. Because six months before the start, during a routine medical examination, doctors discovered that Zaretsky had oncology of a kidney with metastases in the stomach. In January 2018, he had an operation to remove a kidney, and in March he lay down again under the knife – now there was a resection of the stomach.
No need to explain how serious these two surgeries were and what the consequences were. But Igor Zaretsky, barely standing up from a hospital bed, immediately went to the Spanish city of Alicante, where the shipyard was preparing for the round-the-world tour of his Esmeralda, and in April he went out to sea on it: the boat after its overhaul had to be thoroughly broken.
By itself, this fact was amazing, and yet Igor’s coastal team was plagued by doubts: can a person go to a race for a distance of thirty thousand miles after everything he has experienced? The last word was for Zaretsky himself. And on July 1, he went to the start.
For a long time, Igor successfully coped with all ocean adversities, confidently held a position in the middle of the GGR fleet. But already in the southern part of the Atlantic, the hull of his boat below the waterline became catastrophically quickly overgrown with clams, which immediately affected the speed. Alas, on the approach to Australia, this problem became so serious that Igor decided to enter the port in order to save Esmerald from ballast. This automatically transferred him to the Chichester class, which is intended just for the participants who once used the assistance of the coastal services. But he had no choice.
However, as it turned out already in Australia, clams were not the only misfortune. While the hull of the boat was being cleaned, Igor decided to repeat the medical examination at the local clinic, after which the doctors recommended the yachtsman to stop participating in the race, to return to Russia to continue treatment. A month ago, he had another operation. Now doctors are optimistic about his health.
What next? Arriving in Les Sables-d'Ollon, Zaretsky answered this question like this: "In the fall I will continue round-the-clock in the classroom" Chichester "and will surely close it here." The organizers of GGR recognized such a decision worthy of respect.
Yes, this man did not win in the Golden Globe. But he won another victory, perhaps much more important. He became an example for many people affected by the disease. Do not humbly surrender under the onslaught of the disease, but go against her!
I don’t call on all polls for such an exotic treatment method as non-stop round-the-world yacht races. Everyone chooses their own way. But another thing is quite obvious: participation in extreme adventures always mobilizes all the resources of the human body, aims us at the struggle.
There were no losers
Incidentally, in this connection, we can recall another participant in the race – the much thinner Uku Randmaa. When they asked him after the finish, how the yachtsman changed during the eight months of exhausting battle with the elements, this typical "hot Estonian guy" answered with a soft smile: "Ask this question to my wife better." And then he added: “Judging by blood tests taken before the race and after the race, now they are much better. Apparently, the fresh air has helped.”
One of the most popular people during the awards ceremony was, of course, the naval aviation pilot from India, Abilash Tomi. It was for his rescue in the Indian Ocean that the whole world was anxiously watching: the Abilash boat, having completed an overkill, lost the mast, and the driver himself suffered a serious spinal injury and for three days lay motionless in his cabin defeated by a typhoon. To help him hurried Irish Gregor MakGakin, who at that time was closest to the Indian. But his boat was almost destroyed by the same hurricane.
At home, the pilot had a serious operation, securing his spine with two titanium plates. He says that he will soon begin flying, and then to participate in new yachting adventures.
In general, an amazing thing: in the town on the shores of the Bay of Biscay, almost all GGR participants arrived at the award ceremony. There was not only Tapio Lehtinen, who is still in the ocean, and the Australian Kevin Fahrenbraser — he, having left the round-the-world distance, almost immediately set off to conquer Everest. It was very touching – to see so many cool men together, plus one lady from Britain, Susie Goodall. Suzi enjoyed a particularly tender attention, she also got in the Southern Ocean: her yacht overturned, it was a real crash, a horrible risk.
It seemed to me that all of them – and who reached the finish line, and those who crashed – are winners. And, perhaps, the most important achievement of this race was precisely such a human unity. Alas, the organizers could not find rich sponsors, even the winner of GGR Frenchman Jean-Luc van den Heed received for his triumph a modest check for five thousand pounds – that's all. But in this case, the prize was precisely the participation itself – in the race, in this extraordinary family, participation in the greatest adventure, the willingness to risk themselves in order to save others. It was all said to me – some with tears in their eyes. Because, by God, they did not want to say goodbye. But everything ever ends.
True, it should be noted here: the start of the next Around the World in GGR format will take place in 2022. And two dozen new brave souls have already expressed their desire to participate in it.
223 April 26, 2019 # 8967