Overall corrected time winners emerge at the AEGEAN 600.

It’s been over 3 days now of hard racing at this 4th edition of the annual AEGEAN 600, organized by the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club (HORC) with support from Olympic Marine. The race course with its 605 miles and 13 legs is intrinsically challenging, made more so by the Meltemi winds that vary widely from 0 to 40 knots depending on location on the course.

The very fastest boats in the fleet finished yesterday and the next fastest tier have finished throughout today, some with enough margins in time that they can claim overall victory in the three rating systems used in this event: IRC and ORC for Monohulls and MOCRA for the Multihulls.

In IRC scoring, First Overall is BLACK PEARL (GER), Stefan Jentzsch’s Botin 56, a remarkable result considering they raced without their racing sails. Crew boss Paul Standbridge reckoned this was actually a blessing in disguise.

“This race was fantastic, but chaotic,” he said, “with wild changes in wind speed and sometimes direction that keep us always shifting gears. Had we had our race mainsail up with all the reefing and unreefing we did, we’d likely have to toss it in the bin now from all the wear and tear.”

The team used their second-string headsails and spinnakers and a delivery mainsail because their container with their race sails did not make it to Greece from their last event in Italy.

Second in IRC scoring about 38 minutes back in corrected time was Lee Satariano’s Reichel/Pugh-designed HH 42 ARTIE III (MLT), and in third Sascha Schroeder and Manuel Polo’s Neo 430 Roma NEOMIND (GER), about another 2.6 hours behind in corrected time. The in turn were only 4 minutes ahead of George Procopiou’s Volvo 70 AIOLOS.

In overall ORC scoring the winner is NEOMIND (GER), but in an extremely tight corrected time margin with ARTIE III in second: by 1M 16S. “After some 70 hours of racing to have the outcome this close is amazing” said Schroeder. “We knew it was going to be close so we pushed ourselves, especially in the last few miles.

Schroeder had the same view of this race as Standbridge by confirming they had many unexpected periods of calm in some area while in others getting blasted with exceptionally strong winds. “Sometimes were we in survival mode just to keep from breaking anything,” he said. Crewman Maurizio Loberto – a multiple ORC World Champion – explained “We had a small tear in the mainsail track from the headboard car but this held up OK and may have even made it easier with all the reefing and unreefing we did. This was a tough race.”

The remaining team on the podium in overall ORC results was Francois Bopp’s Farr 52 CHOCOLATE 3 (SUI), about 1.5 hours behind ARTIE III in corrected time and about 5.7 hours ahead of BLACK PEARL in fourth.

This race was very challenging yet very different to the Middle Sea Race,” said Christian Ricard, co-skipper of ARTIE III, who is from Malta and very familiar with this other 600-mile classic offshore race in the Mediterranean region. “The short legs [on the second half of the course] and constant changes to the wind [speed and direction] make it hard to get rest, so the team has to be on all the time.”

There are still many teams left to make the long transit from the east side of the course where the wind is much lighter toward the finish at Cape Sounio on the breezy west side. For many it will be another difficult night ahead for them to keep their boats moving through the islands and get on the fast track towards the finish.

Results as they arrive can be found at www.AEGEAN600.com, as well as many other resources of photos, videos and information on the race and the teams.

Follow the AEGEAN 600 fleet’s progress in real time on the YB tracker website: https://cf.yb.tl/aegean6002024

Race analysis videos made by Dobbs Davis of Seahorse Magazine are on the event’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/@aegean600

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