Having won (with a difference!) St. George’s race, the 2013 Winter Trophy Heat #2, the challenge for TEAM EXLence was to stay at the top in the 2nd Heat of the Trophy, the offshore type “8” (OKTO = eight in Greek) race Faliro-Lagouses-Stachtoroi-Lagouses-Faliro of 35nm. The race has proven quite tricky in the past always with unpredictable weather on the west side of the Aegina island.
On Sunday, November 10, the race took start at 10:00 a.m. with the wind at near 0(!) knots, to the point that The Committee had to shorten the course (the fleet had to sail past the Lagouses complex of islands and return to Faliro). A faint NW breeze along the Peiraiki rocks gave the teams some hope while struggling to keep their spinnakers filled and pulling.
MELX II started at the head of the race along with the larger boats and after a while the fleet split with half of the boats sailing towards Hadjikyriakio and the rest to the south on a port tack. In not too long time the wind stabilized from NE direction at a speed of 5-8 knots and the boats made it to the larger Lagousa island close hauled to windward on port tack. Near the Lagouses complex the wind turned more from the East, the course opened up and the first spinnakers showed up.
In the Lagouses complex the course demanded expert sailing techniques and skilled maneuvering with consecutive tacks and jibes under low wind of 2,5-3 knots before the first boats turned around to Faliro through the Salamina strait.
On the return leg, approaching Piraeus the wind was coming from the East and we were looking good, the leading boats around us started hoisting their spinnakers, only MELX II was the last one to follow suit and… We ended up 3rd, four minutes on corrected time behind OPTIMUM III, the Winner. ARISTOFANI R came second.
Next on the Winter Trophy Calendar there are two more Sundays with windward-leeward races and… Will we be the Winners again?
We will fight our best!!