After six years with the fleet Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika had their best season to date last year not only winning the World Championship title but also taking the fleet racing championship crown.
We caught up with Prosikhin at the RC44 Portsmouth Cup to find out a bit more about the defending series champion.
My first regatta with the RC44s I decided to take the helm in the match racing, that was really stupid idea. Against all of these professional sailors on Lake Traunsee in Austria I had no clue what was going on, I didn’t understand the game, I didn’t know the rules and I didn’t know how to steer the boat because I had just jumped on.
Unbelievable I won two matches out of four! one race I got lucky and Artemis Racing were too early on the start line, but the other race - I have no idea how - I just won.
After racing we had a press conference, it was Cameron Appleton, Paul Cayard and myself on stage. Paul had not such a good day - won two, lost two - where as I had the best day ever - I lost only two and I won two - everyone was laughing.
I started sailing at the age of 38, so I didn’t learn when I was young. One of the largest contributions to teaching me was David Von Flittner from Finland. I had a boat in Helsinki, and as the only sailor on board with my family - my five-year-old boy and wife who still can remember which is the direction the winch goes – I learnt at a good school in a very relaxing and supportive environment.
For me the racing is quite inspiring, I just like being on the RC44, it’s a sexy boat. One thing I have learnt over the last few seasons is that if I’m not relaxed we don’t do well. We had a very bad regatta in Sotogrande and after that I had to reflect on what I wanted from the racing. I decided I like the boat, the crew is nice, I know the guys well so why not just enjoy it. I have no specific goals or expectations, just do it for fun and that way both the team and I perform well.
I like my job so sailing is not so much of a switch off for me. Some days I’m at work until 7pm and I can still sail after work as my office is only a 30min drive from the yacht club, it’s nice to do both.
When I first started sailing in Finland I used to bring my laptop with me to try and work after a few days sailing, but I had trouble remembering passwords. The wind just blows all unnecessary information out of your mind, in one ear and out the other – it’s very nice.
On the RC44 tour Cascais has to be one of my favourite places to sail. I like big waves, I like the feeling of the ocean and the rush of catching a wave in these boats.
The most important thing racing has taught me is to learn to trust people and that racing is fair game, especially in this fleet. It’s a gentleman’s sport but still an incredibly tough competition, because everyone wants to win.
My core crew has been the same for the last 5 years. We have Iztok Knafelc from Slovenia, he is our grinder and now I have learnt to speak Italian with him. Our main trimmer is Tomaz Copi - three time Olympian, we are good friends but he gets the worst time with me because when something goes wrong he is the guy sat next to me.
Mitja Margon is our jib trimmer, he sailed with Tomaz in two Olympic Games, I know him and his family well. Then there is Darko Hajdinjak from Croatia, and from Slovinia Tosh Skrt-Golia who has been our boat captain from the beginning and Arsa Stevanov who is a very good and responsible man. New to the crew we have Greg Gendell, Ryan Godfrey and of course our tactician Ed Baird.