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“John I. Karapetis Memorial Race” organized by the “Dolfinarium N.C.” was the first race of the year for for TEAM EXLence and MELX II. The race started at 11:00 on Sunday morning March 31, from Faliro to Cape Tourlos, NE of Aegina Island and back.

At the time of the start the wind was coming from E-SE direction at 6-10 knots. As MELX II is exceptionally fast in light weather conditions we had a good reason to feel positive about the race right from the start. With our destination Tourlos being at a bearing of 200 degrees it was obvious that we would sail this first leg of the race on port tack and very close to dead upwind. We decided taking the starboard side of the starting line, not willing to sacrifice even a single inch on a starboard tack. That was a very risky choice (because we were giving away our right of way that comes with the starboard tack) but it proved to be a risk worth taking.

Out tactic proved right from the start as MELX II bypassed ERYTOS on the leeward side and took the lead of the race, which was retained for many miles before the much larger and faster JINETERA eventually sailed into the lead, passing us on the windward side. At the Tourlos rounding mark, JINETERA tacked first followed by MELX II with ERYTOS and ARISTOFANI on our aft.

The return to Faliro was expected to be a tight spinnaker reach. We anticipated the wind to change towards 150 degrees, which would give us the opportunity to bear away soon. However, that did not happen soon enough, thus providing the heavier boats of the fleet with a significant advantage. MELX II was being pushed to the leeward side of the course, losing out to the rest of the fleet, let alone that if we were to continue like that we would soon risk running aground at the Chatzikyriakio rocks. As a result we prudently doused the spinnaker and sailed for quite some distance with only the genoa barber hauled, in an effort to maintain (actually to regain) our windward position. The much awaited change of wind direction came only too late for us, just four miles from the finish line.

At the end of the race ARISTOFANI crossed the finish line just in front of our bow by a mere 3 seconds bringing MELX II, 40 seconds ahead on corrected time.

All in all we came 1st in our class and 3rd Overall for ORCi. Not bad for the first race of the year.

Next event on our calendar is the “Elias Karonis Memorial Race” on Saturday, April the 13th.

Stay tuned for news and pictures from the race.

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