Aegean 600, sailor falls overboard and dies. What happened

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The fourth edition of the Aegean 600, a 605-mile nonstop race among the islands of Greece, was marred by a serious accident. A crew member of the Pogo 44 “Heaven” died as a result of an overboard fall.

Aegean 600 – The Tragedy

Tragic accident at Aegean 600, non-stop regatta among Greek islands. A sailor died after falling overboard and probably being struck by the rudder of the boat, the Ukrainian Pogo 44 “Heaven” under the command of skipper Andrii Prokopenko.

On the leg between Santorini and Kassos, “Heaven” had spinnaker problems and the skipper sent two crew members to the bow. Both, however, in the excitement of the maneuver fell overboard. The skipper himself immediately activated the man-overboard recovery procedure, but once the sailors were recovered, the condition of one of them immediately appeared desperate. Probably struck by the rudder blade, he in fact had obvious wounds and was bleeding profusely.

The crew of the Pogo 44 immediately alerted the Hellenic Coast Guard, but unfortunately the sailor passed away during the transfer to the port of Kassos, where the same “Heaven” is at berth today.

AEGEAN 600 – The Regatta

The fleet of 64 crews entered in this fourth edition of the Aegean 600 divided between monohulls and multihulls had set off on Sunday, July 7, in winds between 15 and 25 knots to complete the 605-mile course on a counterclockwise circumnavigation of the Aegean Sea. But the Meltemi during the race exceeded peaks of 45 knots, especially in the passage between Mykonos and Delos.

Immediately taking the lead were the two trimarans of the MOD70 class: “Argo” of American Jason Carroll, a two-time Melges 32 world champion, and “Zoulou” led by Frenchman Erik Maris, former Mumm 30 world champion and European Swan 45 champion. Both multihulls with new foil sets engaged in a relentless battle with constant overtaking and backtracking.

Read also: Why the Aegean-600 is the coolest regatta of the moment

Aegean 600

MOD70 “Zoulou” breaks regatta record

In the end to prevail and cross the finish line in Sounion first in the early morning hours of Tuesday, July 9, was “Zoulou,” with a lead of just 1 minute and 21 seconds over “Argo.” “Zoulou” also set a new regatta record with a time of 37 hours and 18 minutes, demolishing the previous record of 45 hours and 5 minutes set in 2023 by the 100-foot maxi monohull “Leopard 3.”

“The nice thing about having such strong winds, but also unstable winds, is that there are a lot of opportunities to shuffle the cards-said upon arrival Ned Collier Wakefield embarked on “Zoulou”-In the beginning we were behind ‘Argo’ because we had a small speed deficit in the downwind gaits. But the conditions so varied that they involved a constant shifting of gears. The wind shifts were unpredictable, so you’d have 30-plus knots on you and the next minute you had nothing. Suffice it to say that we made 125 sail changes. But that made it fun, and even for the last hour we were neck and neck at more than 30 knots-it was crazy!”

While “Zoulou” took the all-important win in real time, however, “Argo” won in MOCRA compensated time, thus taking a first place in the Mediterranean Multihull Challenge (IMA).

Aegean 600

Among monohulls to “Lucky” victory in real time

Even on the monohull front, the battle in this Aegean 600 was tough and compelling. Among the fastest were Byron Earhart’s Juan K 88 “Lucky” (USA), Joern Larsen’s VO 70 “L4” (Mlt) and Stefan Jentzsch’s Botin 56 Black Pearl (Ger). With a 2 p.m. finish on Tuesday, July 9, “Lucky” took the win in real time. For former Rambler 88, the winds were equally erratic, but the path was less harrowing. “It was a very tough race for both crew and boat,” said the boat’s Brazilian tactician, Joca Signorini, “The wind changed strength often and dramatically, so it was difficult to find the right trim for the boat.”

“Lucky’s” main opponent was the former Volvo Ocean Race winner “L4,” which finished the race at 16:42, placing it at the top of the IRC standings on corrected time.

Among the Italians competing was also the innovative sailing multihull Rapido 53 XS (eXtra Space) “Picomole” by Aldo Fumagalli, an Italian engineer and former owner of the home appliance brand Candy who finished in third place in the MOCRA class.

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