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17 August 2005, 11:30 am
Olympic Champion Attracts Match Racing Gods To Greece
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Dream Race 2005
Mykonos, Greece

Since winning Olympic Gold in home waters a year ago, Greek sailing star Sofia BEKATOROU has been working hard to launch a new match racing event, the ISAF Grade 3 Dream Race Mykonos. BEKATOROU has attracted four top America's Cup teams to the event, along with four Greek teams, one of which she is the skipper.
The first day's racing took place on Sunday 14 August in light winds, and not surprisingly the big names from match racing dominated the day's proceedings. BMW Oracle Racing's (USA) Chris DICKSON (NZL) and legend-without-a-cause, Russell COUTTS (NZL), won all their matches in the Beneteau 25 one-design yachts, with Luna Rossa's (ITA) Francesco BRUNI and Desafio Espanol's Santiago LOPEZ-VAZQUEZ (ESP) prevailing in all but one of their matches. Of the Greek teams, BEKATOROU's gold medal winning crew in the 470 was the most successful, with Emilia TSOULFA notching up two wins for Theodore TSOULFAS. BEKATOROU and Mixalis MILEOS scored one apiece, with Evangelos CHIMONAS yet to win.

But for BEKATOROU, the outcome of the racing is secondary to the wider aims of the event, which the Olympic Champion says are to 'fund youth sailing in Mykonos and promote the sport in Greece. What better motivation could young sailors have than seeing a group of the most famous sailors racing in their hometown?'

Even that ambition is only a stepping stone to a greater goal for BEKATOROU. 'The race is called the Dream Race because for the first time Greek sailors have the opportunity to race against America's Cup teams. My dream is to create a Greek team for the America's Cup and this event is the first introduction for people and sailors to meet and see the real fun of match racing at the highest level.'

BEKATOROU admits she had serious misgivings about launching such an ambitious project, but took great heart from asking COUTTS his opinion of the event. When he answered with a simple: 'Why not?', that was all the confirmation she needed to go ahead. To have attracted such a strong list of contenders in the event's first year is testament to BEKATOROU's drive. Now that some of the big names have come to see the beauty of Mykonos for themselves, they may not need any persuading to return in future years. Racing in this year's Dream Race Mykonos concludes today.

Event Media. Image, Team Beka, skippered by Olympic medallist Sofia BEKATOROU:© Kurt Arrigo/Rolex
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