Valletta, Malta, Thursday 18 October 2018.
OPTIMUM Yacht Racing Team crew for the 50th Anniversary of the ROLEX Middle Sea Race arrived today in Malta. Their trustworthy weapon yacht OPTIMUM 3 was delivered safe and sound from Athens a few days earlier by a competent delivery crew.
“The difference in this 7th participation of Team OPTIMUM in the RMSR is the crew mix. We wanted to give the chance to young and competent offshore sailors from all over Greece to race and experience a 600-mile classic and transfer our knowledge to the new generation. So we blended six newcomers mainly under 30 with Optimum core crew, prepared the boat, trained adequately and here we are ready to take on the Race starting on Saturday 20th”, says co-skipper/tactician Nikos Lazos.
As such the lineup is the following starting with the six newcomers.
- Vaggelis NIKOLOPOULOS, aged 27. He accepted the Optimum invitation as one of the driving forces behind CHIARA IASON’s win of this year’s AEGEAN Rally. He can cover effectively any position on board from bow to stern but his main task will be to trim the mainsail on his shift.
- Apostolos SERRAOS, aged 25. He forms the winning duo with Vaggelis from CHIARA IASON and accepted the invitation with great enthusiasm. Although he is capable to cover any position on board a racing yacht, he will be at the bow department and trimming the headsails on his shift.
- Athanasios GKIZAS, aged 28. He was invited to join us from Kalamata of South Greece after having acquired huge experience campaigning all over the world with the RAN Team from UK. He will be leading the bow department onboard Optimum enjoying racing and speaking his native language, Greek.
- James SWEETMAN, aged 30. He was invited to join from the Ionian Islands, Kefalonia. He is a skipper himself and campaigns successfully his own racing boat all over the world under charter. He accepted the invitation to enjoy competing one more time in Malta on a Greek speaking crew. On his shift he will mainly trim the headsails but can effectively cover any position.
- Simon SWEETMAN, aged 32. Brother to James, from Kefalonia too, forms the Sweetman duo that have stepped on most racing sailing ports in the northern hemisphere. Hugely enthusiastic and experienced skipper himself accepted our invitation in less than 30 seconds. He will be in charge of the bow department on his shift but will be speed trimming sails too.
- George PAPADOPOULOS, aged 45. He accepted our invitation and joins us from Thessaloniki. He is a hugely experienced sailor champion in Olympic classes and instructor/coach in offshore sailing teams for over 15 years. He could not resist the offer to be part of the Greek Dream Team and he will be mainly trimming the mainsail and sharing the helming on his shift.
- Athanasios BAXEVANIS, aged 55. He is part Team Optimum member as he joins for 5th time our team for the RMSR. He has his own private offshore sailing school in Thessaloniki and has a huge background from sailing Finns to coaching offshore sailing teams in many cases as a duo with George above. He is mainly helming on his shift and is part of the afterguard in the back of the boat.
- Nikos APOSTOLAKIS, aged 47. He has earned the crew boss position on Team Optimum working hard in the team for more than 10 years now. He holds pitman duties on his shift and always makes sure that boat and crew is in order down to how much food and liquids they have consumed. This will be his 3rd RMSR.
- Yorgos ELIOPOULOS, aged 45. Team Optimum member for more than 12 years is on for his 5th RMSR on OPTIMUM 3. He is responsible for electronics on board, he cooks, he will be pitman on his shift on this go, but most importantly he holds OBR duties on board producing and sharing media content of high value and quality.
- Kostas MAKRIDIS, aged 49. He has been with the team forever. He trims the headsails fast, accurately, and continuously and will hold on the sheets even without winches. He can fix everything on board under any circumstances with a hammer and a screwdriver. Just unbeatable.
- Manolis MARKOGIANNAKIS aged 45. He pushed us hard to enter RMSR this year so that he can enjoy the ride for 3rd time. He has been with the team for 8 years and earned his way as a headsail trimmer through hard work. He is a fantastic team player and keeps the Optimum spirit always at high levels.
- Patroklos TAXTATZIS, aged 32. He joined the team 7 years ago and never looked back. He designs our sails and produces them on Quantum Sails Greece loft as part of the Quantum Sails Group. He is considered one of the talented young designers in Quantum and his designs have won many international trophies. On board Optimum 3 is a pain in the a$$ trimmer setting continuously new boatspeed targets forcing never ending electronics updates.
- Charis MAVROGEORGIS, aged 23. He is the youngest on board, maybe the most competent and surely the most promising. He is an international champion in the Laser class and joined the Team in 2015. He is a great mainsail trimmer, driver and tactician but is working hard to develop as a first class navigator. He has mastered in no time the electronics on board and has upgraded the performance envelope of OPTIMUM 3 working alongside Patroklos. He is thrilled to compete in his 1st RMSR in a multi role position and surely the afterguard.
- Nikos LAZOS, aged 52. Team co-founder, co-skipper, co-owner with
- Periklis LIVAS, aged 54. They sail as a duo in offshore sailing yachts since 1981, that’s 38 years, from the age of 14 and 16 respectively. In 1994 they formed OPTIMUM Yacht Racing Team and this year they celebrate Team OPTIMUM’s 25th birthday by campaigning with this formidable team in the RMSR 50th Anniversary. They are determined to give back to the sport they love as much as possible.
Please stay tuned!