Cyprus Mail

Annual race around Yeronisos island this weekend

Yeronisos island

An annual race around Yeronisos Island found off the Peyia coast in Paphos will take place on Saturday.

The aim of the race, which is organised by local residents Kit and Sharon Whitehouse, is to celebrate the work the archaeologists have undertaken on the island and raise awareness about the outcrop itself.

“This is the fifth year we have had a race and it’s the 29th year of excavations. We have around 25 boats taking part this year,” Kit Whitehouse told the Cyprus Mail on Thursday.

The event is supported by the Paphos International Sailing Club of which they are both members. The club provide all sorts of necessary and vital support including the safety boats, a race officer, a flag person, a signal person and timings.

The race will see boats set off from Ayios Georgios harbour in Peyia on Saturday June 1. The race will get underway at midday and finish at 1pm, but boats will be in the water before then, said Whitehouse.

Last year’s race saw the “Laissez Faire” boat in the “Kestrel” class declared winner, with Robin Marsh at the helm and crewed by Jim McClelland. For the first year ever, Whitehouse is unable to compete due to a trapped nerve in his back. “We are all quite competitive really and it’s an enjoyable event.”

Boats racing are two-person dinghy’s of around 5m in length and one person lasers, which are smaller.

The Paphos International Sailing Club has 240 members made up of all sorts of nationalities including British, German, Swedish, Finnish, French and a few Cypriots, he said.

Yeronisos is known locally as Saint George’s island, and also ‘Holy Island’ and has remained uninhabited since the 15th century. Excavations revealed it once held a sanctuary dedicated to Apollo in the late Hellenistic period.

Ongoing excavations have now been taking place at Yeronisos for almost three decades.

According to the ‘Yeronisos Island Expedition’ website, those involved are undertaking a multidisciplinary investigation of the island, with emphasis on archaeological survey and excavation, ecological survey and research, scientific analysis, mapping, collaborative projects, and an active programme of publication and community outreach.

“The project integrates ecological and archaeological fieldwork toward the common goal of preserving the natural and cultural resources of Cyprus through an active program of exploration, public outreach, and education.”

Long-term goals of the project include the planning of an ecological/archaeological park on Yeronisos, the establishment of a local museum/educational and cultural facilities at Saint George’s, and the creation of an environmental/cultural footpath linking sites of interest along the western coast of Cyprus.

Entry to the Yeronisos Celebration Race 2019 is free for spectators and the public is also invited to the party which will be held afterwards at the beach bar at Saint Georges.

“There will also be a prize-giving for the top places,” he said.

Every year spectators marvel at the marvellous sight of the boats taking to the water and their sails catching the wind.


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