George Sakellaris with trophy is congratulated by his wife, Cathy.
George Sakellaris and Team Proteus were the winners of the 2017 Corfu Challenge, which ran from July 3 to 8. The event was exceptional because of the challenging sailing conditions for both the coastal race and windward leeward courses; racing in between Corfu and Albania was a photographer’s dream.
“What has made the Corfu Challenge different than any other regatta is the heart, passion, and warm generosity of everyone who came together,” said Cathy Sakellaris, who thanked everyone involved and especially mentioned the organizing committee. “From day one, committee members continued to give and asked for nothing other than to promote the sport we are all passionate about,” she said. George and Cathy Sakellaris are longtime members of Leadership 100. Cathy is a member of the Board of Trustees.
Awards were given at the Museum of Asian Art at the beautiful Palace of St. Michael and St. George in the heart of Corfu. Along with the hand crafted first-place trophy, a perpetual trophy was introduced in honor of George Coumantaros. This year it was given to all Corfu Challenge Maxi 72 owners to signify the high level international racing showcased throughout the week. The world’s top, state-of-the-art Maxi 72 class racing yachts vied for victory in the inaugural Corfu Challenge.
The concept of the race was inspired by a group of Maxi owners searching for a way to bring new challenges to the sport—new experiences that would at the same time reconnect sailing to its oldest historical roots. The key was finding the right location—one that would deliver an experience of new waters, good winds, new challenges, and a new discovery of sailing’s ancient mythology. “What about Corfu?” suggested Sakellaris, pointing out Corfu’s scenic setting as a new adventure for sailing with its high mountains and unpredictable and challenging wind patterns.
The 2017 Corfu Challenge was organized by the Marina Gouvia Sailing Club, with the cooperation of the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Maxi 72 Class. As an officially sanctioned event, the Corfu Challenge not only inspired the sport to explore its historical grounding in the ancient Hellenic spirit and traditions of sailing, but at the same time helped to bring Greece into the future as a key new host of top class yacht racing.