Imagine that: one week, over 100 sailing boats and 4 sailing races from island to island. What I am talking about? The Aegean Regatta 2014, one of the biggest annual sailing races in Greece! And the best part is that we, the European volunteers from Chios, were a part of it!
The Regatta was divided into four races from island to island in the Dodecanese part of the Aegean sea: The initial race was from Leros to Kos, then we raced from Kos to Tilos and after that from there to Rhodes. And at Rhodes was the last short race along the island and back to the port.
On the way to our first race in Leros we spend one night in the really small but beautiful Island Fourni, where we even got to see the celebration of the name day of the Virgin Mary. The local community celebrated that with traditional live music and dances, which was located in the amazing promenade next to the sea.
The next day we arrived with our sailing boat ‘Olympia’ at the marina of Leros, where the official opening ceremony on Sunday evening took place. And it was not disappointing at all: there was food, live music, dances and even a firework! Here we also met the other sailing crews and participated in the skippers meeting where the rules were explained.
Then on Monday our big day arrived: the first race of the Aegean regatta 2014 from Leros to Kos. It was the first really long and important race for the most of our crew and we discovered what a really hard sport sailing can be. Especially because the waves were about two meters high and the wind was really strong! In this race we proved that with teamwork, cooperation and giving our best we can achieve a very good placement: we got 4th of the 18 boats in our division and 14th of our general category which contains 53 boats!
We spend the next day in Kos maintaining the boat, discovering this nice island and recharging our batteries before we started the second race from Kos to Tilos at Wednesday. This time we got stuck in a zone without even the slightest breeze of wind for about an hour but after that we managed to run really fast the rest of the way to Tilos and guess what, we got the first ones in both category and division!
This was a huge success and a really nice experience to see that with hard work and the right crew everything is possible. We spent the next day enjoying this really charming island with its nice little streets and beautiful beaches and took the cup for being first in our category at the award celebration in the evening. And again we got entertained very well with dances, music and a buffet.
The third race from Tilos to Rhodes was the longest and the most challenging one. It took us about 10 hours to finally arrive at the marina in Rhodes. But with the right mixture of cooperation, trust and strength we finally made it to the last island of the race. Like at the Islands before we had one day to see the different facets of Rhodes.
At Saturday evening was the final closing ceremony where the winners of the last two races as well as the general winners of all races, counted together, got their trophies. It was located in the medieval castle which provided an amazing and very impressive atmosphere.
With this ceremony the Aegean Regatta 2014 officially ended. In the final placements which contain the results of all races we made the 8th place out of the 18 boats of our division and the 21 place of the 53 sailing boats in our general category. Seeing that these were our first long and important races this is a really impressive result and we are very proud of this huge achievement.
On our way back to Chios we stopped once again in Kos also in Samos which turns out to be one of the most beautiful Islands we saw so far.
Because despite trying to be sailors we are still EVS volunteers, we took this opportunity to explain this European program and promote our EVS in Chios.
After exactly 10 days of sailing with our sailing boat Olympia we learned so much about sailing and racing in a practical and cooperative way but also got to see six really beautiful islands. Despite that we met the best sailing crews from all over Greece, got to know each other better and experienced how really important trust, understanding and support for a team sport like sailing is.
We earned the fruits of these many different experiences because now we can pronounce ourselves proudly the winner of the second race of the Aegean Regatta 2014. The cup will always remember us about that glorious achievement so we will never forget what our international crew can make possible if we work hand in hand and share our knowledge!
To see all pictures go into our gallery!