At the end of May, five Russian sailors from Nizhniy Novgorod arrived in Philadelphia on Memorial Day. The Corinthian Yacht Club hosted the annual Spring Regatta.
During three days Vladimir Diyakov, Aleksandr Tabachnikov, Aleksandr Beyl, Pavel Sivukhin and Larisa Repina participated in the regatta in Chesapeake Bay. They’ve been included in yacht crews, who competed near Annapolis, MD, and went 10-15 miles.
Nizhniy Novgorod (former city of Gorkiy) is the fourth biggest city in Russia. During the “Cold War” it’s been classified as a secret city and closed to any foreigners, as atomic submarines were produced there. In 1992, while Rendell’s administration, the relationship between USA and Russia got warmer, and Nizhniy Novgorod became a sister-city of Philadelphia.
That’s how a friendship between yachtsmen of two countries started.
The Corinthian Yacht Club, established in 1892, is the one of the oldest and most prestigious yacht clubs in America. Its sailing vessels, comfortable and hospitable, are furrowing rivers, seas and oceans, trying to throw bridges of friendship and love across them.
– The level of experience of Russian sailors, who are acknowledged among international professionals as great yachtsmen, is extremely high, – said a member of “Corinthian” and the organizer of the event Ned Dunham. – It took our yachtsmen some time to get accustomed to their new tactics.
However he warned his crew to not even try to compete with Russians in drinking vodka! Although there was such opportunity, everyone preferred wide cultural program.
There were tours and meetings with Philadelphians and festive diners, arranged by volunteers of Philadelphia Sister Cities Program.
The visit of Russian yachtsmen was sponsored by Philadelphia Sister Cities Program and the IVC (International Visitors Council). Their mission is to build “informal diplomacy” connecting people from different countries and improving their understanding of each other.
– It is hard to believe that 20 years ago Americans and Russians couldn’t even talk to each other, – said the President of IVC Nancy Gilboy. – It is a real pleasure nowadays to see how they compete, help each other and enjoy their meetings. This event will be unforgettable for us. I know that Russians are planning to reciprocate and invite Ned and his friends to Volga next year…
Well, that could be one more step forward on the way of informal diplomacy. Who knows, if politicians started new intrigues, the guys from Philadelphia and Nizhniy Novgorod would not swallow the bait of propaganda, they would make their white sails and go towards each other, because no one and nothing already could prevent their friendship.