RE: Gata / AFR Beginner Skipper Race

    In August we launch a contest in Habré, the details of which will be revealed later, but now we can say that it will be fun and interesting. The prize for the first place is participation in the AFR sailing regatta (Another F * cking Race) , which will be held from 3 to 10 November in the Saronic Gulf (Greece) together with the team of RUVDS and Habra. This race for novice skippers is a cross between a regatta and a party. AFR was created by Alexander Babitsky, a traveler and yachting instructor who traveled more than 25,000 nautical miles on his own boat, trained dozens of licensed skippers and inspired hundreds of people to love the sea. We talked with Alexander and asked him to tell not only about the regatta itself, but also about technical IT moments. After all, a yacht is not only sails and ropes, although there are plenty of them on it.

    Perhaps you are wondering what this name is - Another F * cking Race. It was invented, first of all, to laugh at a huge number of approximately the same yacht activities. But later the name was reduced to a simple (and more correct for potential sponsors and partners) AFR.  

    According to Alexander, the majority of people who passed the exams and received skipper licenses return to normal land life and do not go to sea. The reason is almost always the same - fear. And he invented his regatta just so that novice sailors could debut in the company of their own kind. So it is easier not to abandon the sea.


    In the regatta used charter yachts, on which there is little electronics. The main tool is a multifunctional computer, the so-called chartplotter. He is responsible for collecting data from all other devices. The chartplotter displays a map with GPS navigation, compass and echo sounder data (depth gauge), wind direction and strength (an anemometer is responsible for this data), as well as vessels traveling nearby.

    In addition, each device that sends data to a chartplotter has its own display, so a sudden computer crash is no reason to despair.

    Of course, the autopilot is on yachts, although it is more logical to call it “autopilot”. In addition to driving at a given course, the autopilot can steer, depending on the navigational hazards or the direction of the wind, to bypass the shoals.

    Team members use tablets, and it doesn't matter what operating system is installed there. You can connect to any modern chartplotter from a tablet via Wi-Fi, that is, almost all functions can be controlled remotely.

    On the plates of the skippers, a navigation system is also installed, which greatly simplifies the management of the yacht.


    During cruise trips, almost all the time, you can use mobile communications, since the distance from the coast is very small - 10-15 nautical miles (20-25 kilometers).

    But the main means of communication remains the radio, all communication is conducted on several channels. Some are used to communicate the yachts with the ports, others - to communicate between the yachts in the regatta, the third - to request assistance, and so on. The range of yacht radio stations is within 50 nautical miles, which is more than enough for such regattas.

    Skippers traveling across the seas and oceans use satellite phones, for example, by well-known operators such as Iridium or Inmarsat. C using this phone, you can even download maps while in the ocean, but the download speed is low. For example, to download one image with a minimum resolution, it will take 20 minutes.

    There are also paper maps on yachts, but they are used, first of all, during difficult passages, when there are rocky shoals along the route. That is, paper maps - not a backup option in case of failure of electronics, but a more accurate means of navigation, when it is better to be safe than to get a hole. Of course, there are separate skippers who do not recognize electronic means of navigation, but they, on occasion, do not disdain GPS. In general, quoting a British saying “cruising yachting is a search for a way to repair a yacht in exotic places,” Alexander says that a skipper needs to be inventive and attentive, because something constantly happens in the technical management of a yacht.

    And yet, when crossing the maritime borders of the states, the yellow flag Quebec is regularly raised on yachts .

    Sea and Internet

    There is a widespread opinion that regatta is a great way of digital detoxification. Sea, pitching, lack of internet. But Alexander says that the participants have time to go through dangerous sections, simultaneously uploading the video to Instagram. 95% of the places where the AFR, is perfectly covered with mobile Internet.

    But here it is something else: when there are so many impressions, adventures, live communication and everything that you don’t see in the land life, the Internet is easily blocked by the lack of desire to hang on it.


    Saronic Gulf - the mecca of cruise yachtsmen, especially beginners. There is simple navigation, strong winds are rare and there are almost no big waves. An ideal place for those taking their first steps under sail. Next to it is delicious food, cozy islands and small towns, and a beautiful sea. And since the Alexander regatta has become very large-scale, the participants choose places where 50 yachts can moor at the same time.

    In the evenings, the regatta turns into a big party, so Alexander dispelled our assumptions about 1000 liters of drunk rum, saying that this is an understatement of reality. Sometimes you even have to struggle with the desire to hang a pirate flag and board the ship sailing past.

    Land life captain

    Alexander is the captain of the sea vessel and the head of the company. Many people think that the captain's experience perfectly helps in the land life (and vice versa), but Alexander does not agree with this: "I witnessed many times when absolutely wonderful captains were not able to lead a team in the land life."

    The sea changes people, so ingenuity and attentiveness unexpectedly emerge from those who are not at all like that in office life. Although changing the sea, of course, not all.

    "Woman on board - to be in trouble"

    Most girls find it difficult to study at the sailing school due to the complete lack of gender indulgence to which they are accustomed at home, at school and at work. On the yacht, they perform the same functions as men, without concessions and concessions. But those girls who successfully reached the final and passed the exams are not inferior to the guys, or even surpass them.

    For example, Alexandra’s wife won a regatta for advanced yachtsmen Seanation, which took place during the May holidays in England.

    * * *

    We hope we have kindled a desire to feel like a sea wolf, to feel the salty wind filling the sails. Subscribe to our blog, so as not to miss the invitation to participate in the contest, and let the best go to sea!

    Last year, RUVDS also held an event for its partners, the main prize was a place in our boat in a sailing regatta in Moscow, you can see the photo report here .

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