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Maritimo 2023 M600 LEADERBOARD

Fast and furious start to the AEGEAN 600

by AEGEAN 600 7 Jul 11:21 PDT 7-13 July 2024
2024 AEGEAN 600 - Day 1 © Nikos Alevromytis / Alen Photography

Spectacular 15-25 knot conditions today helped get this year's fleet of the AEGEAN 600 off to a fast and furious start to their 605-mile tour of the beautiful Aegean islands.

These perfect conditions in this 4th edition of the race organized by the Hellenic Ocean Racing Club (HORC) are suitable to threaten course records in both the Monohull and Multihull divisions.

First off the start were five multihulls being scored under the MOCRA handicap system, including two MOD 70's - Jason Carroll's ARGO (US) and Erik Maris's ZOULOU (FRA) - who both are in contention to break the existing Multihull course record of 2D 5H 36M 2S set in 2022.

It is clear already these two are in a contentious fight: ZOULOU took the initial lead to round the windward mark first, but just an hour into the race ARGO was able to catch up and then take the lead on two short gybes on the first long downwind leg towards the island of Milos. With a boatspeed average of just over 20 knots, and burst of speed over 30 knots, these boats are about 10% faster than the average record pace needed for the overall course record.

Similarly, 50 miles into the race two of the fastest monohulls in the fleet - Byron Earhart's Juan K 88 LUCKY (USA) and Joern Larsen's VO 70 L4 (MLT) - are also locked in battle for the lead and are also on near-record pace. Surprisingly at this stage Stefan Jentzsch's Botin 56 BLACK PEARL (GER) is within just a few miles of the much larger leaders on almost the same pace - an amazing feat considering they are racing with their racing spinnaker but much smaller delivery sails and no water ballast because the ship carrying their racing sails did not arrive to Greece in time.

While these brisk conditions are helping to propel the fastest pro-level teams at near-record pace, they have also caused damage among some other teams who have been forced to retire. These include the Sun Fast 3300 MUNJEK RS (CRO), the First 47.7 SILHOA (BEL), the First 456 TRINITY (AUT), and the Carkeek 47 OPTIMUM S SAMOS STEAMSHIP with no injuries reported on any team.

By the end of daylight today the fastest teams will have transited the first gate on the course at the caldera of Santorini, an iconic backdrop for this race. Tonight, there will be a steady parade of running lights making this transit throughout the night, under a cloud of lights from the town situated on the cliffs above the caldera. It will be a spectacular sight.

The Meltemi wind is expected to continue at its current strength through tonight and tomorrow for most of the fleet on the first half of the course, then shift towards the west and increase on the approaches to the southernmost extent of the race course at Kassos to 25-30 knots and possibly more.

"This is an impressive and challenging race included in the 2024 IMA Maxi Offshore Challenge Trophy," said Rob Weiland, the technical and rules expert for the International Maxi Association (IMA). "This trophy will be awarded to the team with the best score from 3 of 7 races in the series, and this is Race 6 in the 2023-24 season."

Daily race analysis videos from Dobbs Davis of Seahorse Magazine will start this evening on the AEGEAN 600 YouTube channel

Follow the AEGEAN 600 fleet's progress in real time on the YB tracker website: cf.yb.tl/aegean6002024

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