The second last weekend in March was already the first warm and sunny one with a nice wind. Therefore it was the perfect date and preconditions for the Aegean Sailing Championship 2015 in Chios.
Apart from being too old for participating in those races anyway, our sailing skills were also by far not good enough yet. So we volunteered to help out a little bit in the organization of this big event for 400 people (including athletes, escorts and parents) from 15 sailing clubs from the Aegean islands and Crete.
We arrived late in the morning of Saturday, about an hour before the start and had some time to walk around, get to know the location and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. We met some sailors and watched them prepare their boats and sails.
Then things got serious. The welcoming parade was about to begin which means that all the participants were trying to get out of the small port of the local sailing club at the same time to sail towards the main port of Chios. Our job was to clear away the trailers of the people who already entered the water with their boats and sort them by sailing team as well and of course as fast as in any way possible. Confusion and little mistakes in the beginning were bound to occur since we had never done anything like this before and did not know who belonged to which sailing club but we worked our way into it as a team. We got better and faster and actually had a lot of fun.
When all the boats were in the water and finally all the trailers tucked away some locals took us for a short ride in a speedboat which was really fun and exciting for us. Then we had time for a little break which we spent having a nice lunch and some interesting talks in the sun with our project supervisor Dimitris.
About one hour later the first sailors already came back. We helped them find their trailers and pull their boats safely out of the water. After that our work for the day was done and we left tired but satisfied from a nice and interesting day.
On Sunday the races were supposed to start, but the beginning was postponed further and further back because the direction of the wind was changing all the time. Then the participants went out on the sea (and we continued sorting the trailers) but came back about one hour later because the wind had disappeared almost completely. Everyone was waiting and waiting and finally got the sign for going out in the sea again. After our work was done one of the trainers took us in his speedboat to see the race from up close.
It was a really unlucky day for the sailors. Planned were around six races but the wind kept changing all the time, so the start line had to be transferred from pillar to post and the participants were freezing in their boats. In the end they managed to only hold one race and after three and a half hours on the sea everyone was happy to come back to the port and warm up a little bit.
That day not everything that was planned could be finished, but the Aegean Sailing Championship would continue for two more days so no worries, Monday is a new day.
For us the Aegean Championship experience was finished after Sunday and we continued our normal work the next day, but still keep many precious memories about these two days in the sun, helping in such a great event, looking behind the scenes of a big sailing race and getting to know the local community better.
To see all pictures go into our gallery!