16:00, Tuesday 4th October 2022, Alimos, Greece.
The “3rd Double Handed Greek National Cup” organised brilliantly by SEANATK Nautical Club concluded this past weekend. A demanding 142 mile course around islands all over the Saronic Gulf including 6 Legs and a midway scoring gate, tested to the limit the 15 competing boats and the 30 mighty sailors. All three Optimum Sailing Academy Dehler 30ods AETHER, LAVORO III and OPTIMUM 4 made the start and the midpoint scoring gate, but only OPTIMUM 4 managed to cross the finish line. The predicted 30+ knots westerly winds that swept the fleet from sunrise on Sunday forced 10 out of the 15 entries to retire mostly during the tough upwind Leg 5. LAVORO III retired since they could not run the engine to charge the battery to keep using the autopilot and electronics due to faulty engine impeller. AETHER had a broken halyard staysail top swivel following a couple other gear failures and decided to abandon too. The OPTIMUM 4 crew experienced how the boat sails with a twin reefed mainsail and staysail for first time during the upwind Leg 5, followed by a frenzy downwind Leg 6 with one reef in the main, the staysail and the heavy spinnaker all the way to the finish. When all was done and dusted and the ORCi Time on Time handicap applied, OPTIMUM 4 won the silver medal.
I feel very tired after a battle royal for almost 24 hours! It was the first time racing Double-Handed a Dehler 30od and first time as a pair with Periklis. Key to our success was that we had a comprehensive 5-hour training session last Sunday focusing on boat handling and all sorts of manoeuvring. We have both raced as part of a full crew team on an OSA Dehler 30od before so we adapted fast to the DH culture. The start was at 13:00 and by 23:00 we had passed through the midpoint gate mainly in light to moderate conditions that allowed us to follow our shift script and stay sharp. Leg 4 was tricky trying to avoid plenty of wind holes in a pitch black night so not much rest there. Then, Leg 5 was long and proved tough to cope with under force 7 conditions and we did not even think to go down below to keep up with our shift schedule. It was impossible as the boat was banging and cutting through some serious waves. Rounding Lagussa island signalled the start of the ultimate Leg 6 and it felt like a revelation. We took out the second reef, hoisted our red heavy spinnaker and flew straight to the finish line, surfing down like crazy all those waves that hindered our progress in Leg 5. I wasn’t feeling tired anymore and enjoyed helming down continuous mountainous waves discussing the spinnaker takedown manoeuvre. Before we know it, we passed Mermigia reef and executed the critical spinnaker drop successfully and crossed the finish in second for line honours. It was a hell of a ride this last leg and very rewarding…”, commented 30-year old Team OPTIMUM co-skipper Vaggelis Nikolopoulos.
For the record, AETHER was crewed by the mixed gender duo of Evi Dellidou and Gerasimos Petratos, LAVORO III by Meletis Paterakis and Tasos Kardasis and OPTIMUM 4 by Vaggelis Nikolopoulos and Periklis Livas. OPTIMUM Sailing Academy is supported by LALIZAS, and all three O.S.A. Dehler 30ods are fully equipped with LALIZAS life saving equipment from radar reflectors all the way to Kappa inflatable life jackets equipped with Ocean Signal personal AIS and Arimar life rafts. Team OPTIMUM and O.S.A. consider safety at sea of paramount importance and the LALIZAS partnership is a standing proof.
Next weekend you may find an OSA Dehler 30od at METHANA Race, so we may see you there…!