Sunday, March 05, 2017

WISSA 2017 - Mission Accomplished!

Hello Friends,

back home again from Russia feels sooo good.  Having been there feels even better!  Conversely, not having gone there would probably have haunted me for the rest of my life ... with nagging regrets.

WISSA-2017 in combination with the Russian National Festival of Outdoor Activities in Tolyatti turned out to be a highly successful event, not only for the organizers but also for WISSA and the unusually large numbers of competitors (except for the three Wing sailors).

For me this was a "must do" mission.  A year ago in Estonia, Alexey Razhev, longtime WISSA member and chief organizer of the Tolyatti event had reminded me quite pointedly that he had made the long trip to North-America four times, including twice to Ontario (when I was the organizer).  He also could have mentioned (but did not) his 5,000 km trip with team Tyumen in two cars from Siberia to Lago di Resia in 2002.  How could I have continued living in peace with myself by ignoring his invitation to the Volga River?

The event was really well organized and obviously also well sponsored.  For many years in the past the competition site had been used for numerous winter sailing events (mainly kites).  Their infrastructure for accommodation, food supply, transportation, race course setup, judging, emergency responses, media coverage was well established.  However, the event ranked very low in international content.  This, of course, made it difficult for non-Russian speaking competitors like me.  Regrettably, having no access to the internet throughout my time in Russia also added to the dilemma of being a foreigner.

Sailing conditions throughout the week were far from ideal.  Unusually mild temperatures resulted in mushy, wet snow.  Winds on the first day of competition were too strong (gusts in excess of 15 m/sec) and made sailing on a heavy snow surface difficult.  In the following days winds were ok for Kites, but too low for Sleds and clearly insufficient (shitty) for Wings.  Kite sailors, gliding on long and wide skis or snowboards could handle the soft snow quite well.

Short track slalom races turned also into contests in bravery, with spectacular sliding and spinouts on wet ice, even a few catapults into surrounding snow banks.  The usable race area was too small.  However, STS was probably still the most observed and most photographed WISSA race venue.

While writing this summary I can't help thinking of having been lucky again, and this time I mean it collectively, with WISSA.  Lucky to have Richards and Feodor there.  Without the two of you the event with respect to WISSA would have been a big flop.  Thank you for being there and for all your support on and off the ice, including handling the official WISSA stuff.  Looking back now it seems truly amazing how we pulled it off.

With best regards from Lake Ontario,

No comments:

Post a Comment