Spetses – The Island
Spetses is a picturesque, historic island within the Argosaronikos gulf about 54 nm from the south shore of the Attica peninsula. Rich in heritage and naval tradition, and with a distinctive culture of its own, it welcomes visitors all year round.
The island played an integral part in the Greek 1821 revolution against the Ottoman Empire, being the first of the Greek islands to raise the revolution flag, in the patron saint church of St. Nicholas, located in the old harbour.
The Spetses Classic Yacht Race is a unique 4 day event organized by the Yacht Club of Greece.
Now in its fifth year, attracts more than fifty of the most beautiful classic sailing boats from all over Greece and abroad. Large schooners, classic sailing yachts, and traditional caiques, lateens and dragons compete over 20 nm, between the 18th and 21st of June, in the “Bogazi” straits of the Island.
After 5 years of actively contributing to sailing, the 2015 Anniversary Race proves the success of the event, which is highlighted by a temporal extension of the race with the gradual incorporation of new categories. The renaming of the race to “Spetses Classic Yacht Regatta 2015” has set new goals and opened a new chapter for the race, which remains true to the values of sportsmanship, ‘fair play’ and competition, while it continues to offer significant benefits to the national sport and maritime tourism industry through the attraction of an ever-increasing number of foreign boats and participants.
TEAM EXLence came together on “S/Y ALEXANDRA I”, a boat totally foreign to us, but we still performed. Even when mishaps came into play The TEAM was able to overcome while still racing the boat to the top. All as One, with Stavros at the helm, we managed to stay ahead of a very tight competition from much better off rivals.
We TEAM EXLence members reaffirmed ourselves and our place in competitive sailing, known for approaching every new challenge with enthusiasm, vigour, professionalism and the strong will to Win.
S/Y “ALEXANDRA I” – A 1966 Ketch type sailboat, designed by Sparkman & Stephens (S&S).
Sparkman & Stephens is a U.S. yacht design, naval architecture, and marine engineering firm established in 1926 by the Sparkman and the Stephens brothers. Since their establishment the firm has successfully completed over 2700 designs for pleasure, commercial, and military use.
These designs have won countless races and international acclaim around the world. Most of the major international yacht races such as the America’s Cup, for several decades, including a string of victories in the Fastnet and Sydney to Hobart as well as Whitbread Round the World Race.
S&S has a number of custom yacht design projects as well as being designers for boat builders such as Nautor’s Swan, Grand Banks Yachts, and Morris Yachts. Since 1929, S&S designers have been responsible for numerous revered and beloved racing and cruising yachts ranging from club one-designs to America’s Cup winners to sail and power superyachts.
On Day 2 of the Event– Friday June 19, we had our first racing opportunity taking part in the long Offshore Race, under the “Spirit of Tradition” (SOT) category. The first way point was the island of Trikeri, hence, with the wind from south-southeast we were on an upwind leg. We started with 7-10kts winds that very soon dropped even further. The second way point was set in front of the impressive Poseidonion Hotel.
On this downwind leg “ALEXANDRA I” proved to be very fast, despite the very light wind conditions, finishing the race ahead of much larger yachts. Winning first place on this first race of the SCYR 2015 was the best reward for The TEAM, after a long and hard worked day out on the water.
On Day 3 the wind was again from southerly directions, only this time it was much stronger, 15-19 kts. The Race Committee decided to opt for two Windward/Leeward races. Facing strong competition from determined sailors we had to push “ALEXANDRA I” hard in order to get a good result. That caused some equipment failure, but not having suffered any injuries for the crew, we were happy to having achieved second place on both races of the day.
On the last day (Day 4) being only 0.5 penalty points behind the much acclaimed in the global sailing circuits; “SAVANNAH”, our strategy was very clear. If the wind was below 10kts we would push to the limit for victory, if the wind was above 10kts, we felt “ALEXANDRA I” would not be able to cope with any “hard pushing” and we would aim for a conservative race in an effort to secure second place from the world class team of “BACCARA”.
The wind was well above 10kts, hence our defense; “save the boat and the gear” strategy, came into play. Alas, Poseidon the god of the sea, decided to add drama to the race on this very last Day. Our main rivals “SAVANNAH” and “BACCARA” were pushed to a premature start. What a gift we thought. It immediately changed our race mood and we started pushing the boat aiming for victory, in an one-on-one rivalry with “SAVANNAH”. But not for long, as a brokern outhaul of our main cost us precious time.
The end result for Day 4 was a tie with “SAVANNAH”, which got us right behind them on Overall Results. Although disappointed with the way the Day’s results turned out, being 2nd to the world renown “SAVANNAH” and ahead of “BACCARA” (which has set several time records for the Atlantic crossing), makes us proud and eager to come back next year stronger.