by Simon Morgan
Vassiliki Watersports Festival 2011 took place at Vassiliki Lefkas, Greece. The event this year was scheduled for 28th June to 3rd July.
Rob Spencer on the downwind leg! - Vassiliki Watersports Festival 2011
While Greece may be experiencing difficult times at present the Gods surely shone on the small village of Vassiliki on the island of Lefkas with the best possible conditions for all sorts of racing at one of Europe’s premier sailing and windsurfing locations.
After an excellent beach BBQ and live performance from UK band ‘Wizard Sleeve’at the main sponsor’s party (Wildwind Holidays) the competition really kicked off with the windsurfing slalom event held with wind speeds between 25 and 35 kts, perfect conditions to get the best out of the 38 entrants from 11 different countries.
Three races were held with EFPT regular Colin Dixon taking three bullets ahead of veteran Andy Barnes and Alastair Nichol in third. First non British result was Nikos Kavadias of Greece in fifth, having broken his boom in the first race and ruined his chances.
Thursday was the Long Distance catamaran race, a 20 mile course around the uninhabited island of Arkoudi and back into Vassiliki bay. 16 cats entered the race which started with a Force 2-3 beat out of the bay and into an ever increasing Maistrali first downwind to Arkoudi and increasing to a Force five for the upwind track home.
Catamaran racing in strong winds - Vassiliki Watersports Festival 2011
Joe Bennett and Marko Reynolds (GBR) on a Tornado with Stratos Kosmoglou and Stella Theofanidi on a Hobie 16(GRE) were the first to find the new breeze and got away from the rest of the fleet, the Tiger finally taking just under two hours to complete the course with Stratos’ Hobie 16,22 minutes behind narrowly missing out on first place on handicap. In third place came Edoardo Zandri (IT) and Jon Thalen (SWE) on a Tiger.
Stratos Kosmoglou & Stella Theofanidi GRE 3rd Catamaran - Vassiliki Watersports Festival 2011
Friday was the final day of racing at the Festival with four races sailed across five classes (Laser, Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, Open Catamaran and Yacht) in beautiful Vassiliki bay, again with perfect conditions; two races sailed in an on-shore Force two before the famous Vassiliki cross-shore cut in at about 2pm as normal and gave the competitors a real blast around the bay with two more races in Force 5-6.
The Bennett/Reynolds team finished first again, albeit by a smaller margin than anticipated to former RYA Youth team sailor Drew Tayler crewed by Claire Hindley (GBR) and in third the excellent and consistent Kosmoglou/ Theofanidi team from Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki.
Joe Bennett & Marko Reynolds UK 1st 1st Catamaran Class - Vassiliki Watersports Festival 2011
As National Greek Sport Radio had been broadcasting live twice a day from Vassiliki’s town hall for the previous three days it was no surprise that the harbour was full in the evening for the prize-giving presentation which was preceded by a dancing group from the town of Karya, formerly the capital of the island and renowned for its traditional lace-making and pursuits.
What was a massive surprise to everybody in the audience was the appearance at the prize-giving ceremony of the most famous Greek athlete, Olympic Gold medallist Nikos Kaklamanakis, on the video screen with a live broadcast from his home in Crete where his wife very recently gave birth to a baby daughter.
After the live audience ‘shouted’ Na sas zeisei to moro’, (May your baby live long for you!) Nikos Kaklamanakis gave his regards to the organisers of the event and shared his memories of his time in Vassiliki some years ago.
Then the results of the final days sailing races were announced as shown below and prizes awarded by local dignatories and Festival organisers – followed by the very excellent UK funk/rock band ‘Wizard Sleeve’ playing on stage until the early hours.
While the winners of most of the classes were from Great Britain (unsurprising given Britain’s success at recent Olympic and World Championship competitions and the level of support offered by the UK’s Royal Yachting Association there were some excellent Greek results as well particularly with; Nikos Kavadias (Lefkas) finishing fifth in the windsurf slalom having broken his boom in the first race otherwise he would have been second overall.
Stratos Kosmoglou (Navtikos Omilou Akti Thermaikou) and Stella Thermaikou (I.O.Kavalas - Dimou Pangeou) finishing second on catamaran Long Distance Race and third overall in the course racing.
Leo Clark Lens – (Navtikos Omilos Lefkados) First Youth in the Laser 4.7 competition and fifth overall on handicap.
Leo Clark Lens Naftiko Omilos Lefkados - Vassiliki Watersports Festival 2011
At the conclusion of the event main organiser Simon Morgan (who has lived in Lefkas for 24 years now) said:
'Despite the obvious difficulties in Greece at this moment in time the fact that we have been able to run such an excellent Festival this year is evidence of the results that can be achieved even in adversity if a number of dedicated people are committed to achieving great results.
Windsurfing - Vassiliki Watersports Festival 2011
This year the Festival has received support from the new island council, from the Regional Council of the Ionian islands, the local Chamber of Commerce, and from many too many sponsors to be mentioned but as anyone knows who has ever organised such an event the real work is done by the volunteers who give their time to make sure everything happens and I would like to wish everyone who helped in any way my sincere thanks. And, of course, we are already planning the sixth annual Vassiliki Watersports Festival for next year'
Full results as follows:
FRIDAY 1 JULY
Catamaran Class – 20 entries from UK, Greece, Italy, Germany, Holland, Austria, Sweden, Australia, Eire
1. Joe Bennett and Marko Reynolds GBR 4
2 Drew Tayler and Clare Hindley GBR 6
3 Stratos Kosmogou and Stella Theofanidi GRE 8
4 Andy Barnes and Rachel Fryer GBR 10
5. Simon Barker and Mark Down GBR 13
18 entries from UK, Greece, Australia, Italy, Eire, Germany, Sweden
1. Rob Spencer GBR 4
2. Rob Partridge GBR 7
3. John Randal GBR 9
4. Ali Nichol GBR 9
5. Leo Clark Lens GRE 12
1 Woman Laser Radial - Claire Bryan Australia
1 Youth laser 4.7 Leo Clark Lens Greece
1. Touareg SB3 Stefano Locci Italy
2. Jungle J24 Mike Jones GBR
3 DJ J24 Les Carvall GBR
Thursday 30 June
Catamaran Long Distance Race
16 Catamarans from UK, Greece, Italy, Germany, Holland, Austria, Sweden, Australia
1. Joe Bennett and Marko Reynolds (GBR)
2. Stratos Kosmoglou and Stella Theofanidi (GRE)
3. Eduardo Zandri (ITALY) and Jon Thalen (SWE)
4. Horst Hermann (GER) and Marcus Pichler (AUS)
5. Steve and Andrew Westerm (GBR)
Weds 29 JUNE
38 entries from - UK, Greece, France, Canada, Australia, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Sweden, Eire
1 Colin Dixon GBR
2 Andy Barnes GBR
3. Alastair Nichol GBR
4. Rob Spencer GBR
5. Nikos Kavadias GRE
1 Woman Kirsty O’Callaghan - GBR
Claire Bryan AUSTRALIA winner Laser Radial - Vassiliki Watersports Festival 2011
Stefano Locci ITALY winner Yacht Race - Vassiliki Watersports Festival 2011
Vassiliki Watersports Festival website