Introduction Plus an overall short description of 1995 regatta
by: Alkis Mangriotis IU
In June 1994 the Yacht Racing Club of Athens announced the organization of the first Round the Aegean Race.
This was to be a non
stop event of approximately 850 nautical miles. It was to be sailed in
the way the long offshore races were executed around the word having
as an example the Fastnet and the Sidney - Hobart.
The purpose of the race was to give to the Greek sailors a chance to participate in a long distance race, something that besides sailing knowledge would require a different type of organization, preparation and skills.
race was soon renamed by the Racing Officer of the
Yacht club of Greece
Mr. John Goulandris to "The Aegean Archipelago Race".
The Minster of Shipping Mr. George Katsifaras graciously accepted the position of Honorary President of the Organizing Committee and the Yacht Club of Greece became the sponsor of the event.
The basic interest of the Racing Club of Athens was to organize an exemplary race and towards this goal contacted several organizers of long offshore races and in particular the RORC in order to adapt their safety regulations to the needs of the race. The final arrangements were unique in Greece. The Club arranged for each boat to be equipped with an ARGOS beam, and secured the full cooperation of the Greek Navy which assigned a gunboat to escort the fleet, while the coast guard alerted all the intervening stations to give full priority to the needs of the fleet.
Finally, communications with the Club headquarters were secured by Hellas Radio the Greek Telephone Company's worldwide special ship to shore telecommunications. Hellas Radio undertook to give priority to the fleet and to establish contact with all participants at predefined times. At this time each yacht would give its position and weather conditions. The racer committee would also communicate the Argos positions of each yacht.
The distance of the race was finalized to 540 nautical miles , the route being the following. Athens , then the Island of Agios Efstratios in the North of the Aegean to be left starboard, then the Island of Astypalia in the South-East Aegean to be left again on starboard and finally the Island of Milos (south- central Aegean) again passed on starboard (see map). The final entries were twelve and were comprised of IMS racer cruisers. The largest entry was an X-512 and the smallest a 28 ft IOR design by Stephen Jones. The Yacht Racing Club of Athens specified that the results would be established through the IMS "Ocean Race" race configuration, accepted in advance by all competitors. DIESEL clothes manufacturing offered a $ 10,000 purse to be split by the first three winners.
The start was given on July 5th 1995 . The first day saw light winds and the fleet had some problems passing the cape "Cavo d'Oro" because of the unfavorable current and light winds. Thereafter the wind increased in strength and by the time the fleet had passed Agios Eftratios the "meltmi" was building. The ride south to Astypalia was a fantastic spinnaker slay ride with the wind building steadily to 35 kts. and the boats surfing 12 to 16 kt. The leaders clocked a 220 kt 24 ride averaging during the night 10 to 12 kts. The ride from Astipalea to Milos was with the wind abeam but at true wind speeds that reached 48 kts. Two yachts were obliged to take shelter (something provided in the sailing instructions) in order to repair damages and continues later. The "worse" part was the beat from Milos to Athens which was effected in 8 - 9 force wind and high seas.
Ten of the twelve yachts completed the race with Rosa Di Venti the X-512 taking line honors and Anything -X an X-342 winning on corrected time.
According to the comments of all the crews this was the best offshore race in their lives and ALL skippers pledged to participate in the next Archipelago race with the same route which is to take place in July 1997.
The The Yacht Racing Club of Athens invites inquiries by any interested group to participate in this race. It is a great experience, absolutely safe, and sailed in warm and friendly waters in spite of the hardships of the "meltemi". We consider these strong northerly winds a part of the fun. The Club can suggest well equipped racer cruisers.
Alkis Mangriotis is an International Umpire, Racing Officer of the
YRCA, and skipper of "Sidhartha" a X-412 which finished second in
elpased time and fourth in corrected time.
***Alkis is not with us any more, he was one of the inspirers of this race. Over all a great sailor.***