An impressive fleet from 13 nations is assembled at the Olympic Marina in final preparations for the second edition of the AEGEAN 600, the premier 600-mile ocean race of the eastern Mediterranean region.
The race starts on Sunday 10 July with first finishers expected within a few days while the rest of the fleet comes in throughout the remainder of the week.
The AEGEAN 600 is organized by the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club (HORC) and co-organized with Region of Attica and Olympic Marine.
The AEGEAN 600 is unique in having a fantastic start and finish venue: in Sounio under the ancient Temple of Poseidon. From here the fleet embarks on a challenging course designed by HORC to be “by sailors for sailors,” giving them a navigational and seamanship challenge designed to promote International Offshore Racing in Greece. Even from the start spectators can see the boats head southeast towards the horizon, passing Milos before going through the Caldera of Santorini. They then continue south to Kassos, and after leaving Karpathos to port they will pass Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos, Pharmakonissi, Agathonissi, Patmos and onwards will cross the Icarian Sea. Then they will sail between Mykonos and Delos and, after passing through Gyaros and Kea, they will finish back in Sounio. The total course distance is approximately 605 nautical miles.
This year’s fleet is incredibly diverse, with participation of Superyachts, trimarans, and catamarans, in addition to more conventional offshore-capable monohull designs. Their speed around the race course will be determined by more than just size: navigation, seamanship and boat handling are important as well.
Having said this, the largest boats will have an edge on elapsed time performance. Among these the largest monohull entry in the fleet includes ERATOSTENES from Malta, a Swan 112 skippered by noted Italian sailor Jacopo Ferrari-Bravo. Since the AEGEAN 600 was chosen by the International Maxi Association (IMA) to be on its circuit of races in the IMA Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge, ERATOSTENES will earn valuable points in this series.
Another large yacht entered in the race is the Holland 68 FOUR SEASONS IV from Australia, skippered by Tim Wilson, and the Italian Scuderia 65 HAGAR V, skippered by Gregor Stiefl, who participated in last year’s inaugural edition of this race. With a background of racing offshore in the Rolex Giraglia and Rolex Middle Sea races, the Vismara Mills 62 LEAPS AND BOUNDS 2 from Malta skippered by Jean-Philippe Blancpain is also a boat to watch.
There are a few multihulls also entered who will present a serious challenge to the monohulls around the race course. One is the Greek trimaran AKRON AOTON, an ORMA 60 skippered by Yannis Barkas who will be present again this year. And for the first time in the Aegean catamarans such as ALLEGRA from the Cayman Islands skippered by Adrian Keller, the Italian LYNX, an Outremer 4x skippered by Pietro Farilello, the British QUICK DECISION, another Outremer 4x skippered by Stuart Austin, and the all-carbon HH66 performance luxury catamaran R-SIX skippered by Robert Zustkowski of Poland could also be a strong contender.
In all there are 29 entries from all over the planet - Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Malta, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Cayman Islands and Greece - gathered now at the Olympic Marina in preparations for Sunday’s exciting start.
Organized activities also associated with the race include a Safety Training session held today, the Skipper’s Meeting held tomorrow, and an organized tour of the Temple of Poseidon on Saturday.
AEGEAN 600 is implemented with the institutional cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the General Secretariat of Sports. Sponsors are the Greek National Tourism Organization and D. KORONAKIS S.A. The event is supported by X-Yachting, ZAGORI, Nisos beer and Gregory’s. Suppliers of the race are Chicago shoes, Dole and Youth Lab. Communication sponsors are ALPHA, the newspaper KATHIMERINI, the sports newspaper SPORtime, the magazines ONDECK, SAILING WORLD, SEAHORSE and BOATS & YACHTING as well as the HELLENIC DAILY NEWS NY.