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The 2021 Champion of Arkas Aegean Link Regatta: Comet A

The annually celebrated sailing competition Arkas Aegean Link Regatta, organized in collaboration among EAYK (Aegean Open Sea Yacht Club), Cesme Marina and Arkas, was held between September 17-19 this year. The organization was home to 44 boats in IRC and Support classes this year, in which Arkas Mat Sailing Team with their Comet A boat came first in overall, followed by Corendon Cheese and Lemon, respectively.

Organized with the collaboration of EAYK (Aegean Open Sea Yacht Club), Cesme Marina and Arkas and with support from the Turkish Sailing Federation and Cesme Municipality, Arkas Aegean Link Regatta continues to be held with the goal of becoming a sustainable race. Organized following the rules set out by the Turkish Sailing Federation and the pandemic measures taken by the Ministry of Health, the race witnessed colourful scenes again this year on the sea.

Adorning the offshores of Cesme with sailboats from September 17 to 19, 44 boats and around 400 competitors participated in the race this year. The teams competed in IRC A 0-1-2-3-4, IRC B 1-2 and Support 1-2 categories, taking to the wind for three days in five races in the route of Cesme Marina, the Chios Strait, Kara Ada, and the Ilica Bay.

Five races were run for three days and in the final, the winners, runner-ups and third places in each category, together with top three teams in the Overall category, received their trophies. According to the race results, the overall winner was Arkas Mat Sailing Team and the runner-up was Corendon Cheese while Lemon came in third.

Due to the measures of physical distancing and hygiene, the trophies were individually delivered in Cesme Marina to the respective boats. The Overall trophy was presented to its winners by Ekrem Oran, the Cesme Mayor, Ozlem Akdurak, the President of the Turkish Sailing Federation, and Bernard Arkas, Arkas Holding Executive Vice President.

Ekrem Oran commented, “Cesme is very lucky in terms of sailing sports as the President of the Turkish Sailing Federation, Ozlem Akdurak is a Cesme native. And of course, Arkas, too, has its roots in Cesme and it is one of the keystones of sailing in Turkey. I hope that Cesme will host many European and World Championships in the future.”

Ozlem Akdurak added: “I’d like to extend my thanks to all the sailors who have participated in Arkas Aegean Link Regatta, to Arkas for initiating and maintaining this beautiful race, to our Esteemed Mayor for attending to every single detail of this race and of course to our marina. I also would like to congratulate all the competitors.”

Bernard Arkas added: “We have been organizing the race in adherence to the rules associated with the pandemic for the last two years. Having learnt from the natural disasters that we, as a country, went through this year, we wanted to raise awareness through the motto of our race, ‘We Will Re-green’ and ‘We Will Clean Up’ for the protection of natural and life resources. As Arkas, we have been collaborating with Turmepa for the last 15 years to keep Cesme’s bays clean. Arkas Turmepa II boat collects liquid and solid wastes from the boats with the main goal of protecting the seas before they get polluted.  Moreover, remembering the fires that ravaged our country in the last months, we have donated one seedling for each participant to the Aegean Forest Foundation in order to help re-green our forests that have burnt down. I’d like to thank all the sailors, see you next year.”

Boats that could analyse the wind well and took actions placed in the top three

Esref Uzun, the head referee of the race, briefed the participants every morning in an online WhatsApp conference. On the first day of Arkas Aegean Link Regatta, the duration of the race was increased to five hours from three and a half hours as the wind speed reduced to zero from time to time. During this time, the only team that reached the finish line was the Arkas Mat Sailing Team with their Comet A boat.  Light weather requires extra concentration. Tolga Yagli commented that light weather required extra concentration and Serhat Altay, steersman of Comet A, knew this very well. The team followed the squalls and manoeuvred successfully that led them to the finish line as first.

There were three races in the offshores of Cesme on the second day. In Overall, the Arkas Mat Sailing Team and Eshquia-WMG Yelken came in top three. On the third day of the race, there was only one race that started off in the offshores of Cesme Marina and ended in Ilica. The weather was calm for three days but Cesme, the Chios Strait, and the Ilica Bay did not shy away from showing the racers their usual wind blow. The weather prevailed in the North initially but as it turned its path to the West and the Southwest, the wind blow repleted itself despite temporary breaks and continued so. However, the boats that could analyse the wind well and took actions placed in the top three.

A Cesme tradition since 2011, the Aegean Link Cup has recently been run under the name Arkas Aegean Link Regatta since 2017. The race, which was home to 44 boats this year, witnessed a total of 195 boats in the last four years with approximately 1800 racers having competed in the IRC and Support categories.

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