Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats 728x90 TOP

Lucky claims Aegean 600 monohull line honours as MODs match race to new record

by James Boyd / International Maxi Association 9 Jul 11:16 PDT 9 July 2024
Bryon Ehrhart's Lucky approaching the Sounion finish in the brisk conditions typical of this year's Aegean 600 © Alen Photography / Nikos Alevromytis

MOD70s may now be flying machines, well outside of their original one design configuration, but you would not have known that, given the multiple lead changes and tightness of their racing in this year's Aegean 600. Organised by the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club, the race was supported by Olympic Marine and with Rolex as 'official timepiece'.

Frenchman Erik Maris' Zoulou arrived back at Sounion in the early hours this morning, just 1 minutes 21 seconds ahead of American Jason Carroll's Argo after their 605 mile long anti-clockwise lap of the Aegean Sea. This had taken place in dramatically varied conditions from flat calms to 45+ knots negotiating the narrow gate between Mykonos and Delos last night.

As a result, the Aegean 600 got the International Maxi Association's inaugural Mediterranean Multihull Challenge off to the strongest start: Aside from the closeness, Zoulou also established a new race record of 37 hours 18 minutes and 52 seconds, demolishing the previous 45 hours 5 minutes 25 seconds record set last year by the 100ft maxi monohull Leopard 3.

Essentially Argo led for the first half of the race and Zoulou the second. "We had a small speed deficit initially downwind," commented Zoulou's English crewman Ned Collier Wakefield. "We were on the back foot by the time we got to the bottom, but the nice thing about having such changeable conditions is that there are a load of park-ups and opportunities to reshuffle the pack."

But such varied conditions meant endless changing of gears. "The holes were not really forecastable, so you have 30+ knots landing on you and the next minute you have nothing. We did about 125 sail changes - it was bonkers! Reef 1; reef 2; reef 3; full main; repeat...I don't think we have ever wound the pedestals so much..."

The experience was similar on Argo. "It was incredibly hard," commented Chad Corning. "Everyone on board - and we have all been around the block - said it one of the toughest races we've ever done. It was blowing 35 knots and then it was blowing 3 knots. You never seemed to have the right set-up - trying to transition out of a light spot or riding depowered because you knew it was about to blow 40. And it blew 40 a lot...in that it becomes a matter of surviving, not racing..."

While Zoulou held a good lead out of the Mykonos gate, the split around the island of Giaros delivered a last roll of the dice. Zoulou went north around Giaros' windward side while Argo split south. "On the windward side you'd expect there to be breeze, but there was nothing while there was 30 knots behind it - so Argo made a huge gain on us. But that made it fun - for the last hour we were neck and neck at 30+ knots," recounted Collier Wakefield. Corning agreed: "For the last 30 miles, we were both pushing full main and J1 WAY out of the range. No one could blink to reef or change a sail because that would have lost them the race. It was 'hair on fire' stuff!"

While the race may have left their crews slightly broken, both MOD70s were fine. "There is not a dent in a fender on either," continued Corning. "And the abuse we were hurling at them was amazing." While Zoulou claimed the all-important line honours, in fact the lower rated Argo won under MOCRA corrected time, giving her an early lead in the IMA Mediterranean Multihull Challenge.

Finishing at 14:01 local time this afternoon, Bryon Ehrhart's 88ft Lucky claimed monohull line honours but her elapsed time of 47 hours 31 minutes and 6 seconds was 2 hours 26 minutes outside of Leopard 3's 2023 record. For the former Rambler 88, the winds were equally erratic, but the ride less hair-raising.

"It was a very tough race both on the crew and on the boat," recounted Lucky's Brazilian tactician Joca Signorini. "It was windy at times and not windy at all at others and very unpredictable. It very complicated passing to the lee of some islands with their big shadows. The wind would change strength often and dramatically, so it was hard to find the right set-up for the boat and sometimes you'd have to take it easy if you didn't want to get caught with the wrong set-up."

Lucky's main competition came from Signorini's former Volvo Ocean Race winner L4 (ex-Ericsson 4 - although much turboed since). It wasn't until they were meandering their way north up the course's eastern part that Lucky was finally able to extend away. However her substantial lead was rapidly eroded as Lucky was becalmed in the lee of Icaria (the large island due east of Mykonos). Signorini explained: "We were ahead of the record for most of the race, but in the end we found ourselves in completely no wind [off Icaria] and there we easily lost four hours just drifting in a very bad sea state with the waves completely against us. So we missed the record, but we are very happy getting line honours."

L4 finished at 16:42: 38 this afternoon putting her ahead under IRC corrected time.

The Aegean 600 was Lucky's first race after losing her rig in last autumn's Rolex Middle Sea Race. The race provided a vigorous shakedown for the new spar and sails but was less traumatic than it was for the more nimble MODs, with Lucky only seeing winds in the high 30s and never getting down to her ultimate J6 and triple reefed mainsail combination. Nonetheless, the conditions did allow her to see peak speeds of 30 knots and sustained speeds of 26-27 knots.

The race for maxi yacht IRC corrected time honours will be resolved tonight bringing with it further points for the IMA's 2023-24 Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge.

More information on the Aegean 600 here.

Related Articles

Greek first timers claim Aegean 600 Maxi victory
In the process Aiolos also receives maximum points for this event in the IMA Maxi Offshore Challenge In a race as tough as the Aegean 600 you would not expect first timers to collect much silverware - however Greece's George Procopiou, aboard his newly acquired VO70 Aiolos, defied the odds to win the race's Maxi class. Posted on 11 Jul
Maxi fleet may cause Aegean 600 records to fall
A stronger than ever maxi yacht entry within record-sized overall fleet of 69 Rapidly becoming a classic among the world's 600 mile offshore races, the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club's Aegean 600 supported by Olympic Marine and with Rolex as official timepiece for the very first time attracted a stronger than ever maxi yacht entry. Posted on 4 Jul
Spirit of Lorina crowned top IRC maxi
Loro Piana Giraglia's offshore finale from Saint-Tropez into Genoa Jean-Pierre Barjon has already enjoyed much success with his Botin 65 Spirit of Lorina having won the International Maxi Association's Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge in 2021-22. Posted on 14 Jun
Black Jack first home in Loro Piana Giraglia
Finishing 15 minutes outside the race record After Wednesday's ultra-light start on the Golfe de Saint-Tropez to relatively benign conditions following a thunderstorm before arriving into Genoa, it was hard to believe that thanks to a big breeze sleigh-ride in between - to the Giraglia rock & beyond Posted on 13 Jun
Jethou and Wallyño reign supreme
In Loro Piana Giraglia inshore races, offshore race starts Wednesday A second 20 mile coastal race, this time from Saint-Tropez down to a turning mark off L'Escalet and back, rounded off the inshore series for the maxis competing in Loro Piana Giraglia. Posted on 11 Jun
Loro Piana Giraglia Day 3
Spectacular conditions for day three of maxi coastal racing After two days of windward-leewards on the Bay of Pampelonne, day three of inshore racing at Loro Piana Giraglia saw a change with 19 of the 24 strong maxi fleet racing a single coastal course, starting and finishing in the Golfe de Saint-Tropez. Posted on 10 Jun
Loro Piana Giraglia Day 2
Lumpy conditions on the second day of inshore racing in Saint-Tropez While conditions at this time of year in Saint-Tropez are renowned for being light and thermal, today competitors at Loro Piana Giraglia were treated to easterlies into the high teens combined with a short violent chop. Posted on 9 Jun
Loro Piana Giraglia Day 1
Early maxi class leads for Jolt and Wallyño The first of four days of inshore racing at Loro Piana Giraglia got under way today on the Bay of Pampelonne, close to Saint-Tropez. Posted on 8 Jun
New look Giraglia attracts record maxi entry
The first of four days of inshore racing start on Saturday Loro Piana Giraglia 2024 sets sail tomorrow with the first of four days of inshore racing on the Golfe de Saint-Tropez, prior to Wednesday's traditional offshore race from Saint-Tropez to Genoa via the famous rock off north Corsica. Posted on 7 Jun
Honours for Atalanta II and ARCA SGR
In shortened 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar After last year's ultra-light 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar, this year's race from Livorno to Punta Ala saw the organisers forced to make not one but two pre-race course changes Posted on 31 May
Allen Dynamic 40 FooterDoyle_SailWorld_728X90px-01 BOTTOMNorth Sails Performance 2023 - FOOTER