Aegean Sea, Astypalaia island, Tuesday 23 July 2019.
Race 3 out of six of the 56th AEGEAN RALLY took place as scheduled today in perfect sailing conditions. The 15-mile coastal race around marks and rocky little islands in south Astypalaia area in 20-25 knots of wind and flat seas was a costly day for OPTIMUM Yacht Racing Team. Although OPTIMUM 3 ended up in 3rd in today’s scoreboard and elevated in 5th overall in equal points with 4th placed COCOBILL II after 3 races, we had two costly breakages that might affect our performance from now on. Our masthead A3 spinnaker and mainsail exploded to two pieces and we had to limp to the finish line only with the jib.
“It was a great day for us today, we were on fire to win, that was clearly the mood today. We rounded the upwind mark a couple of boat lengths behind BULLET and set our A3 spinnaker that exploded in two pieces as soon as it filled. We hoisted back the jib, took down the broken spinnaker and fast enough hoisted our fractional A5 spinnaker. We jibed at mark 2 and settled for a five mile tight spinnaker reach recording 15 knots+ boatspeed in 20-22 knots of breeze. BULLET could not hold upright with their masthead spinnaker and put back the jib up. We caught up with them pretty soon and at the next rock rounding we were 150 meters behind but surely on top of them on handicap. Five minutes later and going upwind in 20 knots true the head of the mainsail exploded and seemed our race was over. Not so. Our skippers asked us to lower the main fast and secure it on the boom and guided the OPTIMUM 3 all the way to the finish like nothing have happened sailing only with the Jib. I have to say that all the crew was impressed by the calmness that persisted in both sail breakages and happy to get on the podium and improve in the overall standings. We have a spare mainsail that will arrive in Astypalaia from Athens an hour before the start of Leg 2 to Milos tomorrow.
Although the misfortunes of the day, we are in high spirits and will fight all the way to the finish line in Cape Sounio”, commented loyal OPTIMUM trimmer Manolis Markogiannakis.