By Greg Thijsse
As 3 O Clock approached the nerves escalated and escalated. The worlds biggest dash is about to start on Home Soil. A Horn was fired at 3 sending the first fleet off prematurely due to some confusion about the start sequence. I was one of the 20+ kitesurfers that went off on the first horn. I ran flat out towards the first mark, and after about a Km or so I realized that majority of the fleet hadn’t started. Noticing there was confusion I tacked straight back upwind to the start. It took some time to get back up to the start. I must have had about 45sec on the beach before the correct start happened sending me already tired back onto the coarse at full time. This little warm up motivated me even more. I got a good clean start sending me ahead from the start.
The first leg was the fasted, strong legs, nice angles and flat water made the ride fast. Whilst rounding the first mark I managed to catch a glimpse of the 100’s of competitors behind me. I had managed to gain a comfortable lead of at least 100m. What a sight to be going as fast as you can and having so many competitors chasing you let alone the fastest men in the world. The feeling is a combination of excitement, pain(legs), fear(falling/loosing), and so much adrenalin! This race has got to be the funnest event I’ve ever attended and its on home turf.
Just before the first mark 2 windsurfers past me. The 2nd leg to club Mykonos was getting choppier by the minute making it hard to maintain your balance and stance. I chased the windsurfers as hard as I could they were about 50m ahead by the rounding of the 2nd mark. The 3rd leg is the toughest, it’s the longest and the angle is quite downwind. Being on a directional means no giving your back leg a rest. You can win or loose the race on this leg. If you tire you slow and generally fall. If this happens then you going to lose positions. Still being ahead and smelling gold for kiters motivated me to bite my teeth and give it 110%
The entire fleet behind me weren’t catching me and I was slowly catching the windsurfers. As I rounded the last mark and the final stretch home, my legs started to tire and I slowed down a tad. This meant the guys behind me gained a bit of ground and the 2 windsurfers gained a little on me as well. My lead however was too big to close for the competitors behind me and as I approached the beach I new I had done it. The feeling when you hit that beach is amazing. Theres your friends and spectators to cheer you in, welcome you with a cold Hunters and turn around and just see hundreds of colored kites scattering the entire lagoon! What a site and rewarding race for anyone! It has got to be one of the best Sailing events in the world.