Atalanta II, ITA, owner Carlo A. Puri Negri, wins Line honours at inaugural Aegean 600 offshore raceAthens, 8 July 2021
Congratulations to IMA member Carlo Alessandro Puri Negri and the crew of Atalanta II, who yesterday were first home in the latest of the international 600 mile offshore races, the Aegean 600.
Organised by the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club and co-organised by the Hellenic Republic Region of Attica, the Aegean 600 starts and finishes under the Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion at the southernmost tip of the Attica Peninsula. Competitors then follow an intricate anti-clockwise lap of the Aegean, passing islands such as Milos, Santorini, Kassos, Kos, Agathonissi and Mykonos.
The inaugural Aegean 600 set sail on Sunday, 4 July. Among the starter were 3 maxis: Italian Gregor Stimpfl's Scuderia 65 Hagar V, Borja Pella's Swan 65 Libelula from Spain; while the scratch yacht was the Farr/Felci designed 70 footer Atalanta II.
Despite light conditions, Atalanta II romped around the course at one point even leading the ORMA 60 trimaran Akron Aoton, once Frank Cammas’ all-conquering Groupama, and finally keying into the Meltemi later in the race. Despite her powered winches being inoperable for the duration of the race forcing her crew to trim and hoist sails manually,she was first home to Sounion, finishing in a time of 2 days, 23 hours and 54 minutes. This has established the race record to beat for future editions.
In addition to claiming line honours, Atalanta II is also currently leading the race under IRC corrected time, from Pericles Liva and Nikos Lazos’ hot Greek Farr 52 Optimum 3 (which, by coincidence, won the Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2004, the year before Atalanta II did). This may change as the slower boats arrive in more wind.
Tactician on board Atalanta II was former Luna Rossa America’s Cup skipper Francesco De Angelis. “This new race was fantastic, it has met my expectations,” he said. “I knew this would be a difficult course with many turns and many changes to keep us challenged. We saw everything from no wind to 28 knots, from drifting to reefing, and throughout we worked hard at keeping the boat moving at her best while also navigating carefully. The weather was close to the same as the forecast, but with lots of local effects that kept everyone busy.”
De Angelis continued: "We had a fantastic time. The route was wonderful. The navigator hardly slept at all in order to calculate the course changes from the turning points on each island. The images from the Greek landscape were also enchanting. Also, the finish under the Temple of Poseidon was something we will never forget. It really is an impressive match. We will come again next year.”
Carlo A. Puri Negri was enthusiastic about the race: “I must thank George Andreadis from the IMA board, who invited me to join this fantastic regatta. Since he told me about the event last year – the inaugural 2020 edition was unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID pandemic – I had promised I would be back in 2021. The crew was my usual one, with friends – among them was Claudio Recchi from Bembo, good sailors and family – my son Tazio and my son-in-law Matteo Marenghi joined me.
“It was a wonderful race course, very technical, where you are obliged to leave small islands on port or starboard. It was very interesting and enjoyable. Race course seemed to be perfect for Atalanta speed and we passed some amazing places - Santorini at sunrise one day, Mikonos at sunrise on another – both unforgettable moments.
“For sure the event could become a ‘classic’ among Mediterranean offshore races. It could for sure attract more maxis too. It is more than 600 miles, we sailed some 660 miles in total – and I stayed at the helm for some 70 hours.
“My compliments and thanks go to the organisers - everything was really well planned and also from the hospitality side and the COVID logistics – we felt we were in a safe bubble.”
(By James Boyd / International Maxi Association)
Event' website: www.aegean600.com