May 4, 2020 - Sailing is one of the first sports coming back to normal. If it could be normal, as we considered normal before the COVID-19 pandemic, but here we are, and let's see what we can do to help ourselves. YC Delfin did a lot. Kids are back to the sea, the European Championship in Tivat is delayed but not canceled. And, in the meantime, there was one great corona-sailing solution- Virtual Tivat regatta was held last weekend and brought together a big part of Bokelian sailing community.
The sports community is the first to face a new lifestyle dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Already in early March, all mass gatherings were suspended, and as a result of the fight for public health, sporting events were postponed for some better times.
In Montenegro, which is quite prepared to deal with the pandemic, individual sports are beginning to restart training. As we might expect, sailing is one of the first sports for which personal training has been approved. In the year when it is scheduled to host the Laser European Championship, YC Delfin of Tivat barely received a green card to go out to sea.
"Sailing is an individual sport; we are all at sea in our boats alone. Because of this, we have sought the approval of the competent services and obtained it. Finally, after almost two months, we are back at sea, "says Montenegrin sailing team member in the Laser Standard class, Ilija Markovic.
Ilija explains that sailing training is approved, but with the requirement that the sailors be divided into smaller groups and that on land, they strictly observe the obligation to keep physical distance, they come to training with masks and gloves and follow the rules of personal hygiene. YC Delfin divided the competitors into two groups, so training sessions for the Optimist class in the morning and the Laser class in the afternoon.
"We are delighted to be able to go to the sea again. After such a break, our training went down well, we can't wait for a new day and a new departure for the sea, "Ilija told TMN. He was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in intensive training for the World Championship, Olympic qualifications, and the upcoming European Laser Championship in Tivat.
YC Delfin President, physician Frano Tripovic, is pleased that sailors have been approved to continue their training.
"Considering the general epidemiological situation in Montenegro, which is quite favorable, and because sailing in the Optimist and Laser classes is an individual sport, we are pleased by the decision of the National Infectious Diseases Coordination Body to approve the resumption of sailing. The children are thrilled, they train daily, returning to the healthy life they are used to," says Dr. Tripovic.
European Laser Class Championship in Tivat to be held in October
Although according to the calendar of the European Sailing Federation, this competition was scheduled for June, the YC Delfin Administration hopes that the European Laser Class Championship in Tivat will be held in October. Delfin is preparing to host this competition in collaboration with Lustica Development, which has recognized its interest in supporting and developing sailing, relying on a local club with 70 years of tradition, explains Frano Tripovic.
"In agreement with the European Laser Federation for the Laser-EurILCA class, the competition was postponed to October, because it is a massive international sporting event, so we will certainly not have the conditions in June. Of course, the holding of the regatta will be conditioned by the global epidemiological situation in October, but we hope that good winds will await us and that the championship will be organized in Tivat. That would be really nice and significant. After the Balkan Championship, held last year with the participation of 14 nations and a lot of ships that were with us for the first time, I do not think there is need to speak all potential benefits to the European Championship for the club, the city, the region, and Montenegro. "
Balkan Championship in Tivat, Photo by Antonela Stjepčević
In line with these efforts, YC Delfin has already begun to use the hospitality of the Lustica Bay marina. Competitors in the Laser class start training there.
"We have started a partnership with Lustica Development, which has opened up that part of our coastline that was previously unfathomable by building mounds and surrounding infrastructure. In the Austro-Hungarian period they called it Otetovo, abducted from the sea. Now technology and huge finances have made the conditions in which that coast becomes accessible, and it is almost perfect from a sailing perspective. We have the conditions of the high seas, big waves and thermals, which creates excellent conditions here every day with adequate currents and winds. It was these winds that prompted the collaboration of YC Delfin and Lustica Development, bringing a combination of tradition and something new. The company has recognized our traditions and perspectives, and realized that it could incorporate them into its facilities so that we can develop sailing on this part of our coast together for mutual pleasure," says JK Delfin, Frano Tripovic, the President of Delfin.
The training on Lustica gives the Delfin sailors the opportunity for a fully-rounded training, as they depart by bicycle to Lustica Bay from Tivat, riding across Solila.
They've packed their equipment on Tuesday and moved to Luštica Bay for at least one month.
Virtual Tivat Regatta UNA Montenegro Cup Brought Excellent Pandemic Sailing Conditions
JK Delfin did not allow the COVID-19 pandemic to affect the competitive spirit of Bokelian sailors. The 14th Tivat Regatta UNA Montenegro Cup, from April 24th to 26th, in cooperation with Kotor sailor Filip Franovic, hosted the Virtual Tivat Regatta UNA Montenegro Cup with the participation of 32 contestants of all sailing clubs in Boka Bay.
Virtual Tivat Regatta, Screenshot
For the regatta, Filip created the Boka Kotorska regatta field at the VirtualSkipper5 platform, so the race was sailed on a course where the real Tivat regatta is held. The two days of qualifications and the final racing day of fighting along the entire route - from Ponta Seljanova, around Sveti Marko Island through the Ralo Passage to the Perast Islands and back to Ponta Seljanova - brought excitement comparable to the real regatta, points out the president of YC Lahor from Kotor, Filip Petričević.
"It's a great idea put forward by our colleagues at YC Delfin. We gathered around an old VirtualSkipper5 game we've been playing for about 15 years. It is an excellent simulation of sailing. For younger sailors, this competition, although virtual, is an opportunity to get acquainted with the rules of sailing. Although it is a game, the excitement in the racing field is not far behind the real atmosphere of the race. Still, we can't wait to get back to the sea. "
The first three positions in the Virtual Tivat Regatta UNA Montenegro Cup were taken by sailors of MM Shinning, from Kotor. Therefore, the first prize - going with this crew to the next edition of the largest regatta in the world Barcolana in Trieste- went to the best-ranked small-class sailor, Danilo Dončić from YC Delfin.