They leave home and relatives for a long time, with no guarantee to see them again. Storms, fatigue, chronic financial difficulties and officials' indifference are overcoming. They want the word "Ukraine" to become known in the world and to be associated with achievements in sailing.
Race race: "Hetman Sagaidachny" - Ukrainian yacht in the most prestigious team sailing regatta Whitbread Round the World Race 1993-94.
Why don't they live in peace, what do they need more than anyone else? Perhaps they simply cannot do otherwise.
2019 is a kind of anniversary year for Ukrainian sport yachting. This year marks 30 years since the start "Fazisi" and 25 - from the finish line "Hetman Sagaidachny" in the most prestigious round-the-world sailing regatta Whitbread round the world race (she later - Volvo Ocean Race and The ocean race). Companion Interparus - Evgeny Platon, participant of both races, officer of the watch "Fazisi" and skipper "Hetman Sagaidachny" (the second chief of watch was from Odessa Anatoly Verba, later - project organizer and skipper "Odessa 200", and herself "Fazisi" participated in the same race as another legendary yacht, Maiden we wrote about last month)... We meet in Kiev, in Podil - it turns out people-legends live very close to us.
Ukrainian boat Hetman Sagaidachny in Southampton, England
Part one: "Fazisi"
Boat "Fazisi", on which the first and only team the USSR participated in Whitbread round the world race, was a 25 meter sloop created at a shipyard in Poti, Georgia. Russia likes to call "Fazisi" their own, but of the 29 crew members, eleven were Ukrainians, three were Americans, two were Georgians, Latvians, French and New Zealanders, one Kazakh and one British and 5 Russians.
Evgeny Platon says that "Fazisi" Is a yacht built by Ukrainians with Georgian money. The project, however, was developed by the Leningrad group "Mobile"aiming to make a long ultralight boat. An aluminum-magnesium alloy was chosen as the material. The idea was good in theory - the output was supposed to be a fast 17-ton sloop, planing on the water. But the reality turned out to be different. It quickly became clear that the thin aluminum of the skin deforms during welding, and the projected deck of 1.5-2 mm thickness does not even withstand the training fall of the mast, and must be thickened. The addition of a millimeter and a half immediately dragged the change in other characteristics. The further the construction proceeded, the more the boat departed from the original plan, resulting in 22 tons of displacement at the finish.
Fazisi, the first and only boat in the USSR in the Whitbread Round the World Race, was built by enthusiasts at the shipyard in Poti, Georgia
The initial design of the boat, developed by the Leningrad bureau Mobile, turned out to be unrealistic - changes had to be made already during construction
In addition, although the plant helped as much as it could, it was “as much as it could” in the Soviet-style ascetic. Poti gave a place, slipways and the most basic tools - the rest was done by a team of enthusiasts who flocked to this construction from all over the Union - in order to at least touch the legendary race, which the citizens of the USSR learned about from rare TV shows and sports magazines. A team of enthusiasts with drills and hammers compete with the best yacht shipyards in the world ...
On July 4, 1989 "Fazisi" was launched in Poti. No keel, mast, winches, rigging or equipment. And on September 2 from Southampton, England, the race has already started. The boat did not have time to get to Southampton on time under its own power, so that the boat did not have time to pass the measurement. And then a crazy, but the only real decision in this situation was made - to transport the yacht to Britain ... by plane. There were only two aircraft in the world capable of this. And both were in the USSR - Ruslan and Mriya... Kievite Alexey Grishchenko, skipper "Fazisi" went to the Antonov plant, Kiev, where, by some miracle, agreed to use the Ruslan. Another small miracle: the boat goes right next to it - the cross-section of the cargo hatch of the transporter turns out to be only 10 centimeters larger than the midship of the yacht!
"Fazisi" was delivered by an AN-124 "Ruslan" transport aircraft
The Fazisi was delivered to Britain by the AN-124 Ruslan transport aircraft
The Reds Are Coming!
On "Ruslan" the boat is brought to London, where the next stage of the struggle for participation in the race begins. First official measurement shows the erroneousness of the initial stability calculations. To get into the class, you need to change the keel - there is one week left before the race. There is no other keel, in addition, the company departs from the financing of the team. Pepsico, which was the only sponsor. These are the realities of the Cold War: the American public is outraged that their manufacturer is financing the Reds. The attractiveness of the Soviet market cannot be compared with the company's share in the United States, and Pepsico leaves the game to avoid image losses.
As a souvenir from the sponsor who left the game, only the logo on the team's uniform remained.
By good fortune, Evgeny Platon discovers the team keel lying around Rothmans, which abandoned it in favor of a more streamlined one. They negotiate with Rothmans and take it at the scrap price - the renowned yacht designer promptly agreed to make the necessary recalculations. Tony Castro... The work is in full swing almost around the clock and the day before the start "Fazisi" joins the rest of the race at Southampton Harbor.
Contradictions grow in the ocean between two Ukrainian groups - "Kiev" and "Odessa". The leaders of both groups have different views on how to keep the course, which prevents the team from working out optimal tactics.
Launching "Fazisi" on the water in Humble
At the captain, Alexey Grishchenko, there is an obsessive thought that the body can not withstand constant blows against the waves, he gets nervous and feverishly checks the welds.
However, in the first stage in Uruguay "Fazisi" breaks out into the lead - becoming the sensation of the race. However, the doctor strongly recommends the exhausted and sick skipper Alexey Grishchenko skip the second step. That, together with the rest of the endless problems, fatally affects the psychological state of Alexei. One evening, he asks the team to complete the work begun. Everyone, of course, promises to do this, without attaching any exceptional importance to the request. Two days later, Alexei Grishchenko is found hanged in the forest ...
Surprising the world, "Fazisi" at the first stage becomes the leader of the race
Race race: Ukraine in the most prestigious round-the-world regatta
The team is suppressed, and in the USSR, instead of supporting their own people in this situation, the media and the “outraged public” are calling to ban the team "Fazisi" use the country flag .. Now the yacht is commanded by a former second skipper, an American Skip Novak... Despite constant difficulties, lack of money and equipment "Fazisi" going forward. On the way to Australia a boom breaks down, the Soviet team finishes tenth.
November 11 in the Southern Ocean by an unexpected blow of a wave he puts the yacht into broching, and Evgeny Platon washes overboard - just at the moment when he unfastened the insurance, turning over the watch. He manages to grab the boom-sheet washed away by the same wave in the water and climb aboard. Eugene spends about 5 minutes in ice water. In total, at this stage, 8 yachtsmen went overboard in different teams, the 32-year-old Briton died from hypothermia.
The history of "Fazisi" turned out to be a constant struggle against unfavorable circumstances - not only natural, but also social
"Nondescript rock" behind the team - the legendary Cape Horn
Fazisi in the Southern Ocean
On the way to Auckland, New Zealand
Generally, the whole story of "Fazisi" is a story of constant struggle with circumstances... And, no matter how trite, the search for money to continue the race. At the penultimate stage, due to intrigue and internal contradictions, the project management excludes three key-persons of the team from participation - Skip Novak, Anatoly Verbu and Eugene Platon. The boat ends the race Whitbread round the world race, taking 11th place. In a year Soviet Union will disappear from the world map, and will take part in the next regatta already independent Ukraine... These will be two boats: "Hetman Sagaidachny" under the command of Yevgeny Platon, and "Odessa 200" under the command of Anatoly Verba.
Part two: "Hetman Sagaidachny"
Have Evgeniya Platon earring in the left ear. Among sailors, it's kind of "Order", which can be worn by the one who walked around Cape Horn... Evgeniy passed it twice - the second time as a skipper "Hetman Sagaidachny".
Hetman Sagaidachny is one of two Ukrainian boats in the Whitbread Round the World Race 1993-94.
This time there is no amateurism in creating a boat. - a project worth 120 thousand dollars (in modern money it is about 210 thousand) is being developed by a world-famous bureau Bruce Farr... The previous two years have been spent finding and persuading sponsors. And now, before the start of the actual ocean race, you still need to win the race against time: build and equip a yacht, recruit and train a team. Financing of this image project is undertaken by Gradobank. The construction of "Hetman Sagaidachny" is underway at the Kharkov Aviation Plant and fits into not only record, but simply impossible five weeks. The boat was transported to Zaporizhzhia and launched on August 13, 1993 - 42 days before the start of the race. For the remaining time it was necessary to get to Southampton and pass the measurement.
The construction of "Hetman Sagaidachny" is underway at the Kharkov Aviation Plant
"Getman Sagaidachny": transportation from Kharkov to Zaporozhye for launching
September 25, in the usual cloudy weather for Britain, "Hetman Sagaidachny" starts in the Whitbread Round the World Race 1993-94. Ahead - 33 thousand miles of the World Ocean, which have to go with an incompletely prepared team, in conditions of a constant lack of money. So, before the start, you even have to sell part of the spare rigging in order to pay for the yacht's insurance.
The day before the start in Southampton, England
The day before the start in Southampton, England
The lack of team coherence is felt almost immediately. Each maneuver takes slightly longer than that of the opponents, calculations show that the boat goes 7-8% slowerthan I could. In addition, due to the not quite professional actions of the team, the sails are constantly torn, which are already in short supply - the sewing machine on board does not stop scribbling. Extra seconds and minutes spent on maneuvers add up to hours, and then to days ...
V Punta del Este, Uruguay, near the building of the local yacht club, on the stele, the team installs a memorial plaque - in memory of Alexei Grishchenko, skipper of Fazisi.
On a string to the world
We often imagine ocean regattas as something romantic. Reality, meanwhile, looks different. On one and a half dozen square meters, 12 men live a month, among spare sails, equipment and food supplies. In the Southern Ocean the temperature inside the boat does not rise above +5 degrees, condensation drips from everywhere. Wet clothes dry only on the body. The soul is not. Money too.
In Australia, after the completion of the second stage, the skipper is overtaken by the news: the sponsor informs that due to the problems that have arisen, he can no longer fund the team's participation in the race. And so the difficult financial situation becomes completely hopeless. 7 people leave the team - five from the racing team and two from the coastal team.
Finish of the second stage in Australia
The Australian friends and acquaintances of Eugene Platon are involved in the case. They provide the team with food, pay some bills, produce and sell promotional T-shirts. "Hetman Sagaidachny" and generally help as much as they can. On patched sails and with new crew members on board, the Ukrainian crew continues the race. In New Zealand an attractive woman, a citizen of Canada, who prefers to spend time in the sunny kiwi country, comes to visit the yacht. Her name is Carol Sagaidak, she is from the Ukrainian Canadian diaspora. And besides, she is a distant relative…. hetman Sagaidachny! Supporting the Ukrainians on the "family" yacht turns out to be something of a matter of honor for her, and she persuades her father, a wealthy lawyer, to pay the crew's new bills.
Keel refurbishment in Auckland, New Zealand
The financial problems of a team are like a fire - if it is extinguished in one place, it immediately appears in another. In Punta del Este, Urguay, where the fourth stage of the race ends in front of the team, even a debt prison looms. This time, Providence manifests itself in the form of leadership Zaporizhzhya Automobile Building Plant, which instructs its Argentine partners to close debts "Hetman Sagaidachny" on account of future deliveries - it turns out Zaporizhzhia, where the yacht was launched, closely follows and cares for the fate of "his" boat!
On June 5, 1994, after 135 days 23 hours 17 minutes and 52 seconds of pure racing time, the team of "Getman Sagaidachny" completed participation in the Whitbread Round the World Race. The yacht covered a longer, than Fazisi, round-the-world distance three days faster. Despite the fact that "Fazisi" was 6 meters longer, and, accordingly, had the best speed potential.
The race is over!
Unfortunately, the volume of the material does not give us the opportunity to tell the story. "Odessa 200"... V Whitbread Round the World Race 1993-1994, in boat class Whitbread 60 "Getman Sagaidachny" took 7th place, "Odessa 200" - the last 10th.
Yacht "Fazisi" was acquired by the Polish Yachting Association of America for training purposes and was hit by Hurricane Irma in 2017. She is currently located in Key West, USA. Now it is owned by a Belarusian yachtsman living in America. Yuri Raulushkowho plans to rebuild the boat.
Party at Whitbread Headquarters after the regatta. Left - Eugene Platon, center - Tony Castro
After the race, the sponsors sold the yacht "Getman Sagaidachny" for almost nothing - today it belongs to the Italian owner. For many years Eugene Platon leads a crowdfunding project, aimed at returning the yacht home and creating a maritime museum in Kiev.
"Odessa 200" was sold to Turkey and used for entertainment purposes.
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