The first race of the Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta started today off the Greek island of Skiathos, the fleet having left Volos yesterday afternoon. Because of the confined waters in the bay of Volos the race startline was set some 40 miles away.
This first race is divided into two legs. The first leg, starting off Skiathos finishes near the entrance to the Dardanelles (Canakkale Bogazi), where the fleet stops racing, can turn on their engines and make passage through the Sea of Marmara into the Black Sea. The second leg of the first race starts at the entrance to the Black Sea on 18 May and the fleet will finish in Varna, Bulgaria on 21 May.
Hotter than normal temperatures may have been ideal for the early season holiday makers but for the 17-strong fleet lining this morning more wind would have been welcome.
The race start was delayed which meant the scheduled 1000 local time start (0700 GMT/UTC) had to be postponed due to lack wind. However, a light easterly breeze of 6-7kts had built to allow a start to take place at 1400 local time.
There were two starts, Class A and B going off together followed by C and D.
Shabab Oman, Oman (Class A) and Alexander von Humboldt, Germany (Class A) mistimed their run-up to the start line and were over before the start gun. Shabab Oman opted to do a 360 degree turn while Alexander von Humboldt chose to accept a Standard Time Penalty of two hours and 14 minutes which will be added to her total elapsed time for the race leg.
The remaining Class A and B vessels crossed the startline without mishap. Aquarelle, France (Class B) was first over the startline followed by Kaliakra, Bulgaria (Class A) and Bodrum, Turkey (Class B).
Hansa, Spain (Class D) led the fleet across the line at the Class C and D start, followed by Christianna V, Greece (Class C) and Akela, Russia (Class D) third.
Winds are predicted to increase to a south-easterly Force 4-5 later, and to increase further over the next two days.
Because of the delayed start, the first waypoint was moved which has effectively shortened the course.
The first scheduled report will be published on the website by 1230 local time (0930 GMT/UTC) tomorrow Friday 14 May.
To view the current placings of the race click here
The Historical Seas Tall Ships Regatta is organised by Sail Training International.