Thanks to its famous Meltemi, the third edition of the Aegean 600 this week galvanised its reputation as one of the windiest of the world’s 600 mile offshore races.
Particularly over the first night (Sunday) as the 11 maxis, at the head of the fleet of 46, competitors were regularly seeing 30-35 knots, some reporting gale force gusts of 40+.
Leopard 3 crossed the line at 11:05 on Tuesday 11th with an elapsed time of 45 hours 5 minutes 25 seconds, demolishing the previous record of 63 hours 2 hours 20 minutes set last year by the Elliott 52 Rafale.
With line honours and a course record bagged, Leopard 3 is also in good shape to score ‘the triple’ winning IRC corrected time honours as well, not just in the Maxi class but across the entire IRC fleet, where it seems that no other boats will challenge the corrected times of the two leaders.
After yesterday’s record-breaking speed for the first two finishers of the AEGEAN 600, the strong Meltemi wind conditions that propelled them around the race course has abated to make the final approach into the finish a light-air challenge for most of the rest of the fleet.
There are only 5 entries that have finished in ORC scoring and 9 in the Maxi class, leaving the bulk of the fleet still out on the course making their way west towards the finish at Cape Sounion.
The current leaders in IRC scoring are the two Maxis – LEOPARD 100 and I LOVE POLAND – whereas in ORC scoring the current leader is Perikles Livas & Vaggelis Nikolopoulos’s Carkeek 47 OPTIMUM S SAMOS STEAMSHIP who is 3 hours ahead in corrected time of runner-up Alexandros Raftopoulos’s Swan 112 ERATOSTHENES.
The wind forecast for Wensday night and Thuesday is improving slightly for the western course area, which should help get more fleet members finished at Cape Sounion and returned to their berths at Olympic Marine.
On Leaps & Bounds 2, tactician Michele Regolo said that they found themselves tackling all conditions and every point of sail.
“Downwind to Kassos [on the first evening] we had amazing surfing and hit 28 knots. It is a beautiful, fantastic, incredible race but it is also hard because it is tough sea and strong winds. It is not a game, but a pleasure for sure.” On board the wind exceeded 40 knots at which point they were under three reefs and J4.
The 2022-23 IMA Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge will conclude in August with the Palermo-Montecarlo.