09:00, Sunday 16th July, 2023, Lavrio, Greece.
The 3rd edition of the AEGEAN 600 concluded with a memorable prize giving ceremony with Team OPTIMUM-Samos Steamship collecting a good share of real silverware after managing 3rd place overall and in class 1 in IRC and 1st place overall and in class 1 in ORCi standings. in addition OPTIMUM S was awarded the cup for 1st place among the 8 entries that represented Greece in this international sailing marathon with entries from Monaco, Polland, Malta, Italy, Netherland, Germany, Bulgaria, Australia, Montenegro, Austria, Great Brittain, Roumania, Israel, and USA. This repeated achievement from Team OPTIMUM-Samos Steamship in yet another 600-mile race comes after long and tiring boat preparations and crew trainings, and serious commitment not only from the thirteen Team OPTIMUM members that actually did the race but the whole team. After last year’s disaster that OPTIMUM S had to abandon the 2nd edition of the Aegean 600 soon after the start due to complete electronics failure, OPTIMUM Team laid down Plan Bs for various situations. So when just the day before the start this year, a health issue arose in co-skipper’s Nikos Lazos family and had to be replaced in order for the rest of the Team to stay focused and determined, Vaggelis Nikolopoulos stepped up as co-skipper and alternate Evangelos Nikolaidis stepped in, both well prepared to perform their tasks. This is a testament of the depth that Team OPTIMUM has achieved over 30 years of existence and is recognised and supported to flourish further by Samos Steamship.
“Imagine my shock and worry to learn of a scary health situation to the family of like brother to me Nikos that we established together, co-own and run Team OPTIMUM. In the 43 years that we race together offshore, it has been no more than 5-6 times that one of us had to race alone for various reasons but never a 600 mile race. We are complementary to each other and sharing good and bad times has resulted in a very strong and productive duo. Fortunately, our strong belief and support in the young generation has promoted in the OPTIMUM skipper role Vaggelis Nikolopoulos and Charis Mavrogeorgis since 2020. However, for 2023 both of them due to advancements in their real life day jobs could not commit to lead Team OPTIMUM and me and Nick got back in business. So Vaggelis who had committed as regular crew in few races for 2023 including the AEGEAN 600, was up and ready and actually performed as co-skipper stronger than ever. As such, missing Nikos was certainly a setback but at the same time the whole team was hungry to finally sail a 600 mile race on our fast and promising Carkeek 47 Grand Prix. Actually too hungry and me unbalanced without Nikos, we tried an aggressive pin end port tack start failing to judge the speed of a handful of incoming maxis on starboard. We took a 360 turn penalty, got our act together and from then on we put up a good fight digging in the potential of our board and crew who performed nicely and in great OPTIMUM spirit. Our OPTIMUM crew shift pattern worked well, kept the team in good shape for the four days and 3 nights and in all kind of conditions from 0 to 45+ knots of wind and speeds up to 25+ knots. We did have technical issues along the way that we managed to solve, we broached violently and broke a spinnaker on our way to round Kasos, plus lost the aft end navigator’s starboard cockpit bag with the handheld compass, the runners double winch handle and other important equipment which was washed off by serious amounts of water passing over the deck. AEGEAN 600 is a demanding course with 26 turning points/islands, that present changes in wind speed and direction, demanding sail changes and advanced tactical choices. Not easy, very tiring but very rewarding when you cross the finish line at the world known landmark of Cape Sounio with the ancient Temple of Poseidon atop. Seriously proud of what we achieved and the enjoyable way we did so”, says Team OPTIMUM co-skipper/owner Periklis Livas
In the inaugural edition in 2021 we finished 2nd in IRC and 1st in ORC standings which sounds the same successful as this year. But one must understand that the level of competition was much higher caliber this year, the weather conditions were much more demanding plus the fact that it was the first 600 mile race we actually completed with OPTIMUM S, comparing with seven demanding 600 mile races already completed with OPTIMUM 3 before 2021. So, we value this year’s success considerably higher and dedicate it to our great patron Samos Steamship of the Inglessis family for their unparalleled support and commitment, on the rightly named since 2019, Team OPTIMUM-Samos Steamship.
Stay tuned and follow our progress in the 60th Anniversary of AEGEAN RALLY that starts next week!!!