Aegean 600, So impressive!

Back to Optimum base, July 9, 2021
Photo: Fanis Dalezios, Bow Department

It was an experience beyond expectation, 600 times better.  We prepared OPTIMUM 3 to be unbreakable.  We put together an eager crew early enough and had time to sail and train together, work on the shifts, the cooking, the liquids on board, slept on the pipecots, blend it all together.  We studied the weather predictions, the wind stats, talked about all 26 turning points of the mythical course, did all the homework we could.  All 15 of us arrived at the start line under the Poseidon Temple in Cape Sounio relaxed and ready to enjoy being together and share the experience of the 1st Aegean 600. Three days and six and a half hours later, we reached the finish line in top spirit and in a magical atmosphere on board, exaggerated by the beauty of the sun setting exactly behind the Poseidon Temple, Just so unique, optimum moment.

“We went for a safe starboard tack start, nailed perfectly the layline which allowed us to get almost first in the upwind mark as the other two bigger entries did an overreach.  On the two sail reach to Poseidon mark we held our nerve and managed to round in second place behind the Italian Farr 70 ATALANTA II and still ahead from the magnificent Italian 65 footer HAGAR V,  From there we beat until Milos which we left on port at about 00:00 in a light breeze under 10 knots and turned our bow towards Santorini.  We entered the unique caldera at about 07:00 on Monday and it took us about two hours to exit and point towards Kasos.  The wind in the caldera was patchy and HAGAR V managed to pass us and get ahead.  On the long downwind leg to Kasos we called the wind shifts and pressure good enough to reach Kasos ahead of HAGAR V.  And there we got caught on a windless zone from the island shadow in the pitch black night without moon.  HAGAR V soon showed up on our stern, saw as parked and bear aggressively away to avoid parking too.  This move  didn’t work well for HAGAR V as the wind shadow proved wider the further away you were away from Kasos.  That costed HAGAR V dearly and never really recovered.  We handled passing the leeward side of Karpathos better than Kasos and then rounded Rhodes under bright daylight and super happy sailing conditions.  A tough beat followed towards  Kandelousa in up to 30 knots of fresh meltemi and then a broad reach turning to tight reach approaching the NE corner of Kos with gusts reaching 35 knots for the third peach black night.  From Kos we beat all night long all the way up to Agathonisi with the wind going from 5 to 20 knots and shifting up to 30 degrees within minutes.  At 07:00 on the fourth day we reached Agathonisi and turned west on a reach towards Mykonos through the Ikarian Sea.  The wind varied between 15 to 30 knots, gusting 35 and shifted a bit to tight reach along the way.  On the leeward side of Mykonos the gusts were severe and our grinders were in overdrive.  In the Mykonos-Delos gate short upwind stretch, the sea state demanded full attention by the helmsman who once clear from the windward side of Delos and Rinia islets, bear away to another reach towards Syros and Kea islands.  Once we cleared Kea we hoisted the 300sqm A2 spinnaker for a full blast to Makronisos(Long Island) where we dropped the spinnaker for the final dash on a two sail reach all the way to the finish line.  Exactly on sunset of day 4. Magical…”, shares rookie co-navigator, mediawoman Anna Agrafioti OLY in a full smiling phase after registering her first 600 mile offshore race.

All this well programmed plan and execution was based upon the great support we get from Samos Steamship Co of the Inglessis family, and delivering a 2nd place Overall in IRC and 1st place in the ORC category in this very succesfull 1st Aegean 600 allow us to feel proud and thankful.  Team OPTIMUM members duo of Gerasimos Petratos and Evi Delidou on AETHER scored a heroic 2nd place in the double handed category although they were the only mixed gender duo in the category. Bravo!!!

Stay tuned on out facebook page for a live of the prize giving ceremony on Saturday at 21:00 GMT (Greek Maybe Time).