Saturday, 9 July 2011

A Modern Odyssey in the Aegean Sea

Image copyright Samo Vidic/Red Bull Extreme Sailing.

by Mario Schoby

Just like the first sailors in ancient history, the Tornado sailing athletes, Iordanis Paschalides and Kostas Trigonis, challenged their stamina managing to complete a unprecedented sea marathon. Navigating non-stop for 72 hours in the Aegean Archipelagos, using as guides the stars, a compass and the lighthouses characteristics, they managed to reach Chania Wednesday afternoon.

Sailing from Thessaloniki on July 4th, the two athletes covered, against all odds, the distance of 540 nautical miles. Not employing any modern technology navigation systems, the two athletes witnessed the unique experience of sailing like the first sailors in history observing the northern lights (aurora borealis), just as the great Greek philosopher Aristotle had witnessed thousands of years ago.

Image copyright Samo Vidic/Red Bull Extreme Sailing.

The conditions proved to be extremely difficult, since their worst fear, complete lack of wind, haunted their journey. During the three days and three nights of their adventure, the athletes were faced with the challenge to constantly revise their route, chasing the wind, with an average speed of only 7,5 nautical miles per hour. “We wouldn’t give up in any case. We had made this promise to ourselves”, Trigonis said.

Image copyright Samo Vidic/Red Bull Extreme Sailing.

The 2010 silver World Sailing Champions managed to overcome all adversities counting on their experience & technique, demonstrating high endurance & persistence. Their mind was set to reaching their destination. The tornado catamaran of Paschalides/Trigonis reached the final destination at the old town of Chania, Wednesday afternoon. “We are very proud & happy. Everybody knows that in Greece we are going through a critical phase in history. What we realized is that anything is possible, as long as you stay focused and try hard.”

Image copyright Samo Vidic/Red Bull Extreme Sailing.

Key facts:

Starting Date: Monday, 04 July 2011
Starting location: Thessaloniki/GR
Arrival Date: 07 July 2011
Arrival location: old port of Chania / Creta /GR
Route: Thessaloniki – Kyra Panagia – Evoia – Andros – Siros – Sifnos – Milos – Chania
Duration: 3 days (71 hrs, 45min)
Distance: 540 nautical miles
Average Wind: 2 beaufort
Average Speed: 7,5 nm (max speed: 22)
Navigation ‘tools’: Compass, Stars, Lighthouses characteristics and Matching points on Map.
Boat: Tornado catamaran with the ability to develop speed up to 37 nautical miles. Length of 6 meters, a total sail area of 49 square meters and weight less than 155kg.

Red Bull Extreme Sailing