Sunday, August 9, 2015


The 2015 Aegean Rally was a bust... After preparing for the event, booking rooms at the Islands that would be visited, arranging for crew transportation... the organizing body HORC cancelled the event 10 days before the start gun.... so that now all our deposits on rooms,etc where lost... The resultant cost loss was extreme, had the HORC cancelled 15 days before the start gun then deposits could have been saved, and we would not have lost so much money.

This was how my Aegean rally started... I had invited fellow crew members to come and race with us in the 52 Aegean Rally. I had gathered 10 of some of the better sailors that have come though the sailing school and offered them a chance to go and race with the big boys. Full on, no holds, a professional operation, Rooms in all the ports of call to stay in, meals on board when racing meals ashore at venues, supplied by the organizer.. a very professional event.. Crew uniforms, plus training before the event so that the crew would become one ...

What Happened ..
Well once the cancellation was issued,  we went into a bit of a daze... in the following days the HORC was bombarded with complaints ... the economic crisis should not effect sailing, the bank closures would not stop racing, similar rhetoric was forth coming. So finally they conceded and offered to run 2 weekend courses and call this the Aegean Rally. The first weekend race would take place on the original start date and the second weekend race would follow a week later... what happened in between was up to the individual boat..
I was committed, I had 8 individuals coming to Europe from all over the world, and had to some how provide them with entertainment , sailing big winds and competition..
Crew arrived and we went though training, including the tricky dip pole gybe on the spinnaker.. actually it went very well .. at the dock... and when we went out that first day if went just as well. Mind you it was not blowing the 20-30 knots it would on the race but it went well... Second and third days training went along with out a hitch with crew member getting to know each other and confidence was building in the crew.. the day arrived for our trip to Athens and final race inspection.. as well as the skippers meeting.
The HORC had convinced the Greek Navy to loan the Battleship Averof for the skippers meeting and cocktail party, it was a nice event with plenty of food and drink as well as a well presented outline of the courses.  The next day loomed on us and we had a few issues still to take care of on board least of all was a mainsail that had blown the first reef... all was at hand and was being repaired as the crew was enjoying itself. The following morning the crew replaced the main back on to the boom and we where ready to race.

The First Race...
It was blowing, when I say blowing, wind speeds at the start line hit 30 knots just for openers , the RC laid a long start line with a windward mark to turn around before we went down wind to the North tip of Hydra island. The start was off Falrio Marina with the windward mark close to the the retaining quay off Flisvos. To say that these where survival conditions would not be wrong we opted for a no3 and one reef, which made us over powered in the gusts but otherwise where OK. The start was a bit of a joke, the RC basically sent off everyone together with no class separation. We had a decent start 3 over the line and 4th around the windward mark. It was at this point we had to decide spinnaker or no spinnaker, it was a solid 35 knots true down wind Apparent wind was hit 27 knots, and we where already surfing with just the main and jib up...

I had promised the crew a ride and so we did it, hoisted the 2.2 storm chute and went for it... blew the reef out and off we went like a bat out of hell !! Boat speed jumped from 9 knots under main and Jib, to over 13, 14 knots with the chute up... and we where flying...  we quickly caught up the yachts who opted for white sails passed them and then set out to catch the only 3 other yachts who set chutes... this is where things got interesting as we did finally catch up with them by the windward mark (some 35NM down course), how ever there consistent high boat speeds finally beat us on corrected time... (more about how that works later ).
Needless to say K3 performed extremely well, she is stable at high speeds and does not roll excessively, we surfed waves and manged not to wipe out at all... off Aegina Island wind speeds became very gusty, with recorded gusts hitting 47 knots, and still the chute hung in there... actually it became and issue the chute is up, and the only way it was coming down again was for some one to cut it down,(which was not going to happen!!)....
We reached the North tip of Hydra and where in a solid second place with the IRC yachts still not in site, a very successful gybe in heavy air ( all those practices we did guys), took us around the corner of Hydra and in to BIG seas and gusty wind conditions, steering was getting tough and we did almost wipe out several times, but thanks to a rudder that goes down 2.60meters and some luck we manged to stay on our feet...
All this action and it was still only 5 pm in the afternoon, we had sailed some 38 nm in less than 4.5 hours... not bad all in all.. however the pay back was about to begin...

The spinnaker take down was a little rugged, .... yes it went in the water and was almost a shrimp net but through some quick thinking by the fore deck crew most of it ended up on deck.  We turned the mark and started the chase for first place.... we had up a No 3 and a reefed main, boat speed was in the high 7's low 8's, how ever the seas conditions made for a very square and rough ride.
The return back to the finish was shaping up to be long slog up hill... dusk fell and we where still on the heals of the lead boat, he was easily in sight and closing the time it got dark we had lost him to view, but still had him on the web site transponder, he went further west than we wanted to go, we hung on to a more rhumb line course in the hope of closing distance. 

The finish line was set off the point of Voulagemei, and we hit the coast west of the line which meant that we still had to tack up to the line in order to cross. I had been following the lead boat, and going west more had paid off as he had pulled away somewhat, but was still insight, however a second yacht had creeped ahead of us and was some minutes ahead... we crossed the line 12.45 minutes behind the leader and 3 minutes behind second place, which made us third across the line.

The Final Results

In most international races world wide the handicap system is based on a time over distance correction, based on the size of yacht. There are other factors also to consider but essentially these are the criteria. The race was run under the IMS/ORC handicap system, (which as far as a handicap system goes, is truly mystifying). The K3 was second from the bottom in our class as far as handicap was concerned, with all the other yachts (12) owing us time.

The race course was over 45 miles long... the yachts that crossed in front of us owed us a considerable amount of time, and when corrected out we should have them and finish on top. Unfortunately the Greek interruption of the handicap system has alot to be desired... it seems that the greeks take a few more calculations in to effect when they calculate the final handicap, amongst them is the average wind speed that the yacht sailed in (how they guess that is a mystery), guessing the wind speed for each yacht over a 45 mile course is a good trick, almost impossible...
Koralia 3 corrected out 4th in class, which quite honestly is ridiculous given the distance/time we finished behind the leaders. 

Greek racing is reserved for those upper class greeks that have joined a yacht club and found a yacht that they can race on. The cross section of competitors and questionable yacht owners reflect the state of private yachting in Greece. 
Until such time when clubs openly encourage outside competitors, and the handicap system comes in to line with accepted international practices, racing a foreign yacht in the Aegean Rally will make it impossible to win against the Greek system. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

AEGEAN RALLY 2015 JULY 15-25....


JULY 15 - 25..


Yacht racing has for a long time been a sport that has challenged the masses. For many years it has been the sport of the rich and famous. However, today it is possible to charter a fully equipped race yacht and go racing. That's assuming you know all about the racing rules and racing sail techniques , such as spinnaker trimming and head sail changes.
This summer we will be offering the chance to learn all about racing and then to compete in a one week races series around the Greek islands. The Aegean Rally has for many years been the pinnacle of Greek Offshore racing. In 2015 the route of the Rally will comprise two islands, Andros and Skyros with particular emphasis on safe harbour mooring conditions and comfortable accommodation facilities. Local transportation will ensure plenty of oppurtunites to explore the islands after racing.
The organizing committee recognized the problem of uneven racing  of the many different types of vessels participating in the Aegean Rally, so this year classes will take different paths for three categories of vessel( PERFORMANCE , RACING & CRUISER/ RACER ).

 The race schedule includes 3 distance races of 80, 60 and 70 miles plus a day of inshore around the buoys races on Sykros island. On each island there will be opportunities to explore the island as well as attend local events sponsored by the community. 

The A.S.A along with the Athens Sailing School is offering the opportunity to participate in the event. 10 days, 3 days of training on the race yacht on Poros Island and then 7 days of racing in the Aegean Rally. The berth rate will included, the above plus accommodation ashore when not sailing, all meals on board the yacht while sailing, entry fee, crew uniforms and  Crew passes all Race events. 
If you would like to join the crew please contact us for details and berth rate, advanced booking is required so that we can secure advanced accommodation on the islands.
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Hi, We like to send our Customers News about next seasons Sailing course Dates and new 'Sailing Adventure Opportunities ", we look forward to seeing you sail with us in the Greek Islands next summer.

Our mailing address is:
Athens Sailing Academy
Kallifrona St 60-62
Athens, Attica 11364

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