The Ikaria senior regatta for crew chiefs above 70 years of age

Kavas Yachting is proud to announce you the Ikaria Senior Regatta this summer between the 17th and 21st September this year.

You’re never too old to go afloat. Just look at celebrated yachtsman Robin Knox-Johnston who sailed across the Atlantic solo at the age of 75 in 2014. While it wasn’t the Golden Globe Race that made him famous as the only sailor to complete the race some 50 years ago, it shows that sailing is a sport as much for the mind as the body.

Ikaria – the island of longevity

Research has shown that the island of Ikaria’s residents live longer than almost anywhere else in the world. Almost 30% of its residents last into the 90’s and are healthier in their autumn years than almost anyone of an equivalent age than anywhere else.

Dementia and other age related diseases are almost unknown to the islanders who have diets that ensure that their bodies and minds are nourished. The laid back atmosphere prevents blood pressure from getting too high – one visitor recounted, he “was invited to an Ikarian wedding. He went to the church (the time announced was exactly as: "around 9pm") at 9pm but nobody was there, so he though he went in a wrong church. He asked someone nearby and he told "this is the church.. just keep waiting.. no need to hurry pal!

Community bonds are extremely strong, with crime an almost unheard of concept. Another tale told of someone’s experience going shopping in Ikaria: “I went once to a bakery in Ikaria to get bread but nobody was there... Found a lot of loafs and a basket with coins!!!”

As such, with no one needing to watch their backs, and a ‘we’ll get it done when we’re ready’ attitude, people need only to worry about what nourishes them and not how to protect what they have.


The race is a celebration of the worth of manhood even into old age. According to the race website, Evandria stems from an Ancient Greek celebration: "Evandria" or the "Evandrian contest" was a male beauty pageant as the etymology of the Greek word informs us. It was celebrated on the 27th of the Athenian month of Hekatombaion (June 19 to July 20) along with the competition of armed dancing known as Pyrrhichia, during the Great Festival of Panathenaea. It is still debated whether not only youths but also elder men participated. The later were called "thalloforoi" because they carried olive-shoots. The prize of the pageant was a shield for the winning youth and an ox worth of 100 drachmas for the elder victor. The fresh shoots held by the old men earned them, in my view, the sobriquet "aethaleis" ("evergreens")”

The regatta itself

The race is open to all sailing veterans, their friends and relatives – the main rule is that the skipper of the boat must be over 70 years old. It starts and ends on Ikaria, going via the islands of Samos and Fournoi over four fun days.

At ‘around’ 8pm on the 17th September there will be a welcoming feast of raska goat meat stew in village of Monokampi, as well as dancing and Ikarian music. Expect this to go late into the night!

On the 18th September the fleet will race from Agios Kirikos to Vathi Samos where there will be another welcoming dinner and festivities that evening. The fleet will stay the night on Samos.

The 19th sees the fleet race around the southern tip of Samos, and then to the tiny island of Fournoi. The race finishes in Agios Kirikos on Ikaria on the 20th September where there will be more celebrations, an award ceremony and dinner.

Perhaps then you might wish to sail your boat with Kavas Yachting to our base on the Greek mainland? This will be a delightful blast downwind from Ikaria through the green Aegean Sea on the boisterous Meltemi winds.

As the aging skipper your experience and wisdom can be best put to winning the race, quite possibly using the strength of the youth that you have brought aboard with you? Perhaps you’re Emirates Team New Zealand Americas Cup winning helmsman Peter Burling’s grandfather and want to show him a thing about winning a race?! For those racing this could be a real chance for families to bond on a holiday to remember – one to be savoured like a fine aged wine.

Sign up to come racing on the Ikaria Senior Regatta here:

Ikarian Studies Society
Dr Christodoulos Xenakis
+30 6974442402