ASTA Commodore sails into Istanbul

27 May 2010

ASTA Commodore sails into Istanbul
A past chairman of the American Sail Training Association (ASTA), Nancy Richardson, sailed into Istanbul today on board the Bulgarian ship Kaliakra. Nancy has been involved in sail training ever since she was at school and has sailed many ships over the years, both in the US and Europe, but this is the first time she has ever sailed this far east. 

Nancy, who lives in Los Angeles, joined Kaliakra in Volos for the first race past Istanbul and into the Black Sea to Varna. She then continued on the second race back to Istanbul. Here she is leaving the fleet and going off for a tour of Turkey. 

"I have been involved in the ASTA races in North America for many years, with a variety of jobs ranging from selling t-shirts to organising girl scout groups to sail on ships," said Nancy. "I've also taken part in a few races myself but I found sailing on Kaliakra to be a wonderful experience. While the ship is not a military one, the majority of trainees are from the Military Academy in Varna and I thought it was quite delightful that while the crew have a sense of respect for the ship's officers, they have not lost their sense of learning."

Nancy had met Kaliakra a few times in the past, first in Boston for the Columbus Regatta and then again in 2000 so had expected that they were a good ship to sail with. "She is a nice size, big enough to have presence at sea but small enough to be like a family on board. I got to know all the trainees by name and they were so eager to practice their English which was delightful. I don't have any children but if I did I would hope that they would have grown up to be like these young people," said Nancy. "I just want to hug them all!"

As for the sailing, Nancy thoroughly enjoyed sailing up from Volos, particularly when they sailed through the Sea of Marmara and up through the Bosphorus into the Black Sea. "I thoroughly enjoyed Varna and because we were on their own national ship there was a sense of pride amongst the crew and great interest in the visitors to the fleet."

Having had some involvement with a Bulgarian author Miraslav Tsanov, Nancy took the opportunity of being in Varna to meet up with some of his family, which she said was a wonderful experience. "All in all, the highlight of the whole trip has been meeting the people, both on board and in Varna. It was very special and I will miss them all." 

To view the provisional results of the race, click here

To view the combined race results of Leg 1 and 2 of Race 1, click here.

To see more images from the Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta in Istanbul, click here.

The Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta is organised by Sail Training International.

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