Rising to the Top, … Yet Again!

Kalamaki, Athens, Greece.  Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

Team OPTIMUM-Samos Steamship added a 1st and a 2nd place on race 3 and 4 of the 57th Aegean Rally and by doing so ended up with a scoreline of 1,4,1,2 and on equal points with Team Velos of Rio bronze Medalist duo of Mantis-Kagialis with a scoreline of 3,1,3,1.  According to the Rules of World Sailing in such situations, one counts who has more firsts, seconds, thirds, etc. until the tie is broken.  As such,  Team OPTIMUM-Samos Steamship was named the winner of the 57th edition of the top offshore sailing event in Greece and one of the oldest in the Med area.  Therefore, Team OPTIMUM extend its record of 26 Aegean Rally participations with 21 podium finishes, 10 times first, 7 times  second and 4 times third.  That proves a lot of “depth” within the team and was efficiently used by the new and young co-skippers Mavrogeorgis-Nikolopoulos to win in their  inaugural regatta on their new roles.  

“Winning is sweet but it doesn’t happen always.  I entered Team OPTIMUM in 2016 as navigator, watch helmsman and watch tactician and soon became the Team’s electronics expert too at the age of 21.  At the time I have never sailed with crew or hoisted a spinnaker on a sailing boat as my sailing background was on optimists and Lasers. It was a whole new world for me but it was the OPTIMUM Team spirit that got my interest and kept sailing after my decision to abort my Laser campaign for Olympics 2020 selection and focus on graduating as a Naval Architect and Marine Engineer from NTUA. The spirit is that we prepare boat and crew as best as we know for a yearly schedule of races and then we go out to have fun and enjoy, win or lose.  At the OPTIMUM debriefings central point is how much we enjoyed and how we performed as a team and what can we do better next time.  The actual result is of secondary importance as is often affected from other parameters that we cannot control.  When we crossed the finish line in Cape Sounio we were very happy we pushed hard all the way for almost 23 hours non stop, day and night and we were happy thinking we managed 2nd place overall.  We had enjoyed a good atmosphere on board although the conditions were tough for the crew both physically and mentally with the wind varying constantly in strength and direction, demanding full concentration. My mates that unanimously elevated me and Vaggelis Nikolopoulos as the new OPTIMUM co-skippers made sure the boat was sailed close to 100% most of the time and that made our work of where to position OPTIMUM 3 against the next wind shift and the competition, much easier.  We were in motoring mode for 2-3 hours on the way back to our Nautical Club Kalamaki base in Alimos from Sounio when we realised that depending on the finish time of PEGA, last year’s winner, we stand a chance for rising to the top of the podium, and it happened, and that was the cherry in the cake which we dedicate to our fantastic partner and patron Samos Steamship and all its associates,” declares Charis Mavrogeorgis, Team OPTIMUM-Samos Steamship new co-skipper.

“I am a Samos Steamship associate working on the Technical Department and I enjoy a great working environment for 3 years now.  I love the sea and working on a shipping company keeps the sea in centre stage.  Last November the company gave all its associates the opportunity to attend a presentation by Team OPTIMUM and have an insight of the goals set for the newly created Team OPTIMUM- Samos Steamship.  I did go and my imagination was seriously triggered.  Fast forward, I attended and graduated N.C. Kalamaki offshore sailing school in February and March, trained on board OPTIMUM 3 and competed as a member of the winning Team of the 57th Aegean Rally!  I love sports, healthy life and outdoor activities so I jumped on the opportunity.  But the experience I went through sailing the Aegean Sea on a thoroughbred carbon racing yacht along a highly competitive team as an active member doing my best as a grinder and responsible for the runners, has exceeded by far my expectations.  It is probably my most exciting and emotional full blown A to Z experience in my 28 years. The guys were very supportive, boosted my confidence and made me feel welcome and necessary team member.  My relation with my  colleagues from work on board OPTIMUM 3 just exploded after sharing Aegean Sea sunsets and sunrises at the same time we were working hard on our crew roles fighting for victory.  Last but not least I feel I met a great bunch of true and passionate people of all ages and backgrounds that I feel comfortable,  safe and friendly with.  Can’t wait for more!” enthusiastically says Vanessa Zorgia, the only female crew member onboard in this regatta.

Team OPTIMUM in partnership with Samos Steamship not only won the 57th Aegean Rally but proved right on promoting the young generation to take on the challenge and lead the team successfully in the future.  At the same time, it has an open door to all Team OPTIMUM members from the past 27 years of existence that have the will to get back in action as presented by the return of Costis Afentakis and Yannis Kapos after years of other commitments.  Crew boss Nikos Apostolakis formed a nicely balanced crew lineup from the  long list of loyal Team OPTIMUM members who managed to win the overall trophy and included also Fanis Dalezios, Vassilis Livas, George Papadopoulos-Kouklakis, Costas Makridis, Patroklos Tachtatzis, Manolis Markogiannakis, Nikos Lazos and Periklis Livas together with Samos associates Alexandros Venetsanos, Vassilis Milionis, Alexandros Triantogiannis, Stefanos Patsikas and Vanessa Zorgia. 

Next planned regatta for Team OPTIMUM-Samos Steamship is the usually windy Andros Race 53rd edition in the last long weekend of August organised by Yacht Club Andros and Yacht Club Greece.  Looking forward to see you all there. Please stay safe and covid-19 free.