Fedor Konyukhov’s Trip to Chelyabinsk Region and Lake Turgoyak
Upon completing his solo rowing across the Pacific Ocean, Fedor didn’t linger in Australia for too long. He had an important event to attend back home in Russia. He was expected as an honorable and long awaited guest at the annual children’s sailing regatta “Fedor Konyukhov Optimist Cup 2014”.
The regatta takes place on Lake Turgoyak since 2012 and gathers about 100 young racers across the country. The Optimist is a dinghy that teaches the basics of sailing. After mastering the dinghy a person could move on to more advanced sailing boats. Almost everyone in the sailing sport from the Olympics, international regattas and circumnavigations started from sailing on a dinghy. This year, the weather has graced the participants with perfect conditions and the children raced in 9 competitions (you need at least 5 to call it a championship). Fedor Konyukhov arrived just in time to watch the finals.
Fedor personally congratulated winners and participants of the championship handing out prizes and celebratory medals with diplomas. The “Fedor Konyukhov Optimist Cup” regatta has become so popular that it was decided to allow a larger number of children for the next year. At the meeting with the governor of the Chelyabinsk region, Fedor Konyukhov together with the administration of the “Golden Beach” and the sponsors of the regatta have proposed a purchase of additional 40 dinghies which would allow 40 more children to join the Cup next year. During the sailing season the fleet of dinghy could be used by many other sailing schools in the region. For the “Fedor Konyukhov Optimist Cup” however, the boats would be chartered by the administration of the regatta. Fedor and the facilitators of the sailing sport in the Chelyabinsk region are very encouraged by this deal and the hosting facilities of the “Golden Beach" will be working at full capacity next year. The “Fedor Konyukhov Optimist Cup 2015” regatta will be held during the week of June 1-6, 2015.
While Lake Turgyak is the perfect place for young sailors to learn the sport, there is one fact that can’t be overlooked. The lake is located in the Urals where the cold winter weather keeps the lake in ice for a good portion of the winter. This year the “Fedor Konyukhov Optimist Cup” regatta was supported by the international sailing center Sail First in Cyprus. Thanks to the collaboration between Sail First and Fedor Konyukhov’s School for Explorers it will become possible for the young and talented to continue practicing and developing sailing skills in the warm waters of Cyprus during the winter.
Before attending the children’s regatta at Lake Turgoyak Fedor Konyukhov spend a few days in Chelyabinsk. Arriving on June 12th, which is a national holiday called Russia Day, Fedor was greeted by the governor of Chelyabinsk region, Boris Dubrovskiy. “We are pleased to have you here on such an occasion as Russia Day. You are a legendary person,” – said Mr. Dubrovskiy. “You are famous across the world but you are loved here, in Chelyabinsk region.”
In Chelyabinsk, Fedor Konyukhov had visited Seyho Motors, one of the main sponsors of the transpacific expedition from Chile to Australia. The company organized a meeting for the employees to meet and greet the famous explorer. At the meeting Fedor was surprised by an array of children’s arts and crafts portraying the Tourgoyak row boat.
The employees’ children were hard at work creating mini copies of the row boat out of paper, clay, and other materials. Fedor was invited to be the judge on who did the best job at representing his row boat. However, Fedor quickly saw that it would be hard to pick only one winner, and in the end, he announced that every young artist was the winner. For a prize, the children lined up to get the explorer’s autograph.
In a few months Seyho Motors will be receiving a real boat that has crossed the Pacific Ocean in just 160 days. The Tourgoyak row boat, scheduled to arrive sometime this summer, will be set up inside the Seyho Motors pavilion as a reminder to all that behind one man’s dream there are many people who are willing to help and see that the dream becomes a reality.
Fedor Konyukhov’s other ocean row boat URALAZ is also located in Chelyabinsk region at the “Golden Beach” resort on Lake Turgoyak. On that boat, back in 2002, Fedor had crossed the Atlantic Ocean in just 46 days.
It is no wonder that for Fedor, returning from the rowing expedition across the Pacific Ocean, the first order of business was to visit Chelyabinsk region of Russia where so many people have contributed to the success of his expeditions.
Translated by Tatiana Koreski