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4 Aug, 2007 15:49

Russia-China Naval Academies' Festival sets challenges

A hundred students and instructors from China have come to the port of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East to take part in the Festival of Naval Academies. It included a learning exchange, tours of ships of the fleet and a yacht regatta.

The national anthems of the two countries kicked off a festival of naval academies – a two-day event organised to bring together the two traditions and compare seafaring skills.
The Chinese surprised their Russian peers from the outset. There were many girls in uniforms – a rare occurrence in the Russian fleet.    
“The girls perform all the duties just like the boys,” said Aleksey Tarasenko, Russian-Chinese crew Commander.
In a joint exercise on the sailing ship Nadezhda, the crews from China and Russia showed their skills at manoeuvering the square-rigged schooner.
“I suggested that we select six Russians and six Chinese and make mixed teams,” explained Evgeny Zhukov, competition judge.
The first test was about communication. A Russian cadet who doesn't speak Chinese was given the task of explaining to a Chinese crew what had happened to his boat.

For this, sailors have their marine signal code.
The Russian crew, which had the advantage of knowing the boat, showed how a seemingly difficult procedure can be made to look simple. The captain gave the command 'Full Sail' – and within seconds all sails were set on the masts.  
The captain's assistant gave tips on how to tilt the steering wheel, especially in stormy weather.
By the end of the day, the cadets' curiosity had extended beyond the seas.
“I've learned several Russian words, how to use a fork instead of chopsticks, and sing a folk song, Katyusha,” said Sie Lee, a cadet.
The voyage came to an end and the guests showed they were happy with their stay by singing folk songs and showing off their acrobatic feats.