After a beautiful sunny start and a glorious moonlit night of downwind sailing, the fleet in the second edition of the Hellenic Ocean Racing Club’s (HORC) AEGEAN 600 is flying around the race course with the fleet leaders passing the halfway point of the race at the northeast end of Rhodos (Rhodes). The bulk of the fleet in the late afternoon were still on their final downwind approach to round Kasos, where they head up to a port tack reach to cross east then northeast through the lee of Karpathos before heading up further towards Rhodos.
Like last night, the weather forecast is for a slight lightening in the northwest Meltemi for those approaching and rounding Rhodos to start their way due west to Kandelousa, while it remains at full strength in the straits between Karpathos and Rhodos for the slower members of the fleet. The longer term forecast continues to look favorable for the same pattern of full strength Meltemi to continue in the daylight hours through the end of the week.
The conditions last night could only be described as “champagne sailing”: 12-15 knots of wind, 1-2 meter seas and a clear moonlit sky. Those approaching and crossing through the legendary caldera at Santorini were greeted by an almost volcanic-looking sight: the dark waters and unlit protrusion of the caldera’s islets ringed by bright fire-like light at the top elevations of the island – there could be few more spectacular scenes in offshore sailing.
Class leaders at 18:00 local time include Phillip Kadelbach’s Elliot 52 (GER) RAFALE in ORC and IRC scoring and who appeared to be having a spirited match with Jean-Philippe Blancpain’s (ITA) Vismara Mills 62 LEAPS AND BOUNDS 2 (ITA) until this team fell into a wind hole close into the lee side of Rhodos. Meanwhile RAFALE seemed to avoid this by choosing a track that swung wide of the island’s lee with 6.7 knots of progress compared to 1.2 knots for LEAPS AND BOUNDS.
In the Maxi class, Gregor Stimpfl’s (ITA) Scuderia 65 HAGAR V has the lead, but not by much: only 12 minutes in corrected time over LEAPS AND BOUNDS. And in the ORC and IRC DH classes, the couple team of Gerasimos Petrados and Evi Delidou sailing their Dehler 30 AETHER (GRE) hold an impressive 7-hour corrected time lead on PNEUMA (POL), Andrejz Rozycki and Adam Skomski’s JPK 10.30.
And among the MOCRA Multihull’s, Adrian Keller’s 78-foot Nigel Irons-designed catamaran ALLEGRA (SUI) continues to leg out well out ahead of both her rivals and the fleet, with less than 300 miles to the finish having past Rhodos.
However, now that she’s headed 80 miles upwind, her extension relative to the faster large monohulls will stop until she gets around Kandelousa sometime tonight.
So, while there is tremendous progress in the first day of the race, challenges still lie ahead for much of the AEGEAN 600 fleet: for example, in the lee on the east side of Rhodos where going in too close may land you in a hole, or go too wide in search of more wind and your rivals may get by inside. Some will make it through and look brilliant while others will get stuck.
It may not be champagne sailing like last night, but it will be warm and the moon will shine bright on the Aegean Sea.
Today’s race analysis video with SEAHORSE Magazine’s Dobbs Davis provides insight on the race based on weather patterns and position data of the fleet from YB trackers. This is available at https://youtu.be/c6hIOiExAPE
The link for the YB tracker system is at https://aegean600.com/tracking.
Text Credits: Dobbs Davis
Photo Credits: HORC / George Alevromytis
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