The very essence of the GS Regatta

The Regatta is sailed in order to honour the memory of the Finnish author and sailor Göran Schildt. He had a curious mind, he was multiculturally oriented and he also had a life-affirming vision of life. He once said that the Agean sea was 'A sailor's paradise'. This is what the GS regatta is all about, an opportunity to sail in the Aegean sea, to meet interesting people from many different countries and to enjoy culture. The participants in the regatta will learn to know new people, they will learn from each other and in the long run this will increase the acceptance for cultural differences.

Organisation - How we work together

The Christine and Göran Schildt Foundation's (CGSF) is responsible to develop and protect the brand of ”The Göran Schildt Regatta” with the aim of giving some extra efforts to the year 2017, the 100 anniversary of the birth of Göran Schildt. The CGSF plays the lead role for the organisation, and functions as the registration office for all participating boats. The CGSF also supports the participation of Finnish artists. The Nautical Club of Leros organises the sailing activity, safety for boats, harbour arrangements, technical questions such as measuring and results, trophies and also the closing ceremony. The Association of Artemis organises the opening ceremony and other side programs during the regatta. They are also responsible for the marketing of the opening ceremony.

The author Göran Schildt (1917-2009)

Göran Schildt's creative production comprises cultural history, the theory of art, essays, journalism, travel books, biographies and fiction. His works are associated with a variety of fields, primarily sailing and the Mediterranean.

Göran Schildt was born in 1917 in Helsinki. Since he was a child he dreamed of becoming a writer as his father Runar Schildt. In his memoirs, Göran Schildt told that he had a crate outside his father's study room where he wrote his first lyrics. Runar Schildt committed suicide when Göran Schildt was only 8 years old.

Since Göran Schildt had private lessons he graduated as a student one year ahead of his classmates. He then traveled to France to learn French. In the autumn 1934 he boarded at a family's house in the Pyrenees and during the spring of 1935 he studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris. In christmas 1934 he traveled to Mallorca and then for the first time in his life he came in contact with the fizzy Mediterranean. In 1937 Göran Schildt made another important trip to Italy with his friend Georg Henrik von Wright.

Göran Schildt participated in the Winter War of 1939-40 and was badly wounded by an explosive bullet that hit him in the stomach. During the long convalescent period, he decided that if he survives, he will sail down to the Mediterranean by a boat of his own. That dream became true in 1948 together with his first wife Mona Morales-Schildt when the ketch Daphne sailed along the French rivers and canals down to Lavagna. The book "In the Wake of a Wish (1949)" which was about this trip was a great success for Göran Schildt.

As a writer, Göran Schildt is best known for his books about sailing with Daphne. However, it was with the novel "In the Wake of a Wish" he debuted in 1943. Schildt's writing is diverse and includes cultural history, art history, essays, journalism, travel writing, biographies and fiction. His doctoral thesis in art history he wrote about Paul Cézanne. He has also written a book about André Gide that helped Gide receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947. Göran Schildt applied for professorship in art history at the University of Helsinki in 1947. At the last moment he had second thoughts and withdrew the application. Instead he chose sailing and the free life as a writer.

In 1965 Göran Schildt acquired a second home on the Greek island of Leros. Here he came in direct contact with the Greek culture and his sailing boat Daphne got a new home harbour. Today, the restored Daphne is at display in Forum Marinum in Turku.

The friendship between Alvar Aalto and Göran Schildt Schildt began in 1952 when Schildt together with his friend Roberto Sambonet visited Aalto's architectural office in Helsinki. This meeting resulted in a close friendship that lasted until Aalto's death in 1976. Schildt published articles on Aalto's new buildings and after Aalto's death he wrote a biography in four volumes about the architect. As a token of friendship Alvar Aalto offered to design a house for Göran and Christine Schildt in Ekenäs. The house was completed in the 1970. It was in this house that Göran Schildt drew his last breath in 24 March 2009. The house is still in private use.

GS Regatta, short background and history

The writer Göran Schildt died on 24 March 2009 and during the same year the idea was born to organise a sailing event to honor his memory. Since Daphne has had a home port on Leros since 1965, it was natural that the memorial sailing event would be based on Leros, which is an island in the south east Aegean sea.

"The Göran Schildt Memory Race" was implemented for first time as an offshore race around the island of Leros. This was 22 September 2010. About a hundred of sailors then attended the race. The festivities lasted for three days and contained both a lot of cultural program as well as opening and closing ceremonies. The actual opening was held in the Lakki cinema in Leros and the finish was celebrated in the facilities of the Nautical Club on Leros.

Since the first Göran Schildt offshore race was such a great success it was decided to make it an annual event, which also was included in the Hellenic Sailing Federation's annual program. In 2011 the "GS Memory Race" was sailed on 21 September. The wind speed was over six Beaufort and the organisers decided to shorten the race route. In stead of sailing around the island of Leros the route was now reduced to sail around the small island of Piganoussa. It is located on the eastern side of Leros on latitude 37˚7'N. The race went well and during the festivities, participants were also listening to a choir from the Music Institute of Raseborg (Finland).

In 2012 the GS Memory Race was held 22 September and now it was possible again to pursue the entire race around Leros despite quite fresh winds. The youth and culture association of Artemis entertained the participants and followers of the regatta with music and dance performances. When it was time to plan for the sailing event in 2013 the idea of extending the concept to a regatta took root. GSMR had now been sailed for three years and the event was ripe to evolve to include several days of sailing. This would mean more work for the organisers but would also provide a lot of added value for the regatta participants. At the same time the competitive aspectwas toned down and the solidarity between sailors enhanced. In the true spirit of Göran Schildt the concept could now also offer visits on small exotic Greek islands.

Said and done, in 2013, it was time for the first regatta and the sailing route was as follows:

Leros / Lakki - Arki - Levitha - Leros / Lakki. The participants appreciated the concept and "The Göran Schildt Regatta / The GS Regatta" was born. Both Arki and Levitha are small classical islands with very few inhabitants. On Arki the association of Artemis presented music- and dance performances. There was also a Finnish girl choir from Raseborg entertaining the sailors.

In 2014 the sailing event had its five year anniversary. The expectations were high and the route was follows: Leros / Lakki - Lipsi - Agathonisi - Leros / Lakki. The Regatta took place 15-18 September 2014. The five year jubilee attracted twenty eight boats from eight different countries. All together over one hundred and fifty sailors. In 2014 The GS Regatta became the second largest international regatta in Greece. It was also the first year that several Turkish boats entered the race.

On 13-17 September 2015 the GS Regatta was organized for the sixth consecutive year. One year has never been the same as another, and all the regattas have had their own individualities. In 2015 it was probably the refugee situation and Greece's harsh economic situation that made the event particularly challenging for the organisers. A few days before the regatta would kick off a sailor who has experienced the races since the start in2010 announced that he was with his boat on the island of Agathonisi and that there were so many refugees that it was impossible to use the port during the regatta. It was planned to sail Leros-Lipsi-Agathonisi-Leros. The route now had to be rescheduled at the last moment and the small island of Arki had to replace Agathonisi.

On 12-15 September 2016 the Göran Schildt Regatta was organised for the seventh time. After having tried the concept of a five day regatta in 2015 we now returned to a four day regatta in 2016. For the first time in seven years, we sailed to the island of Patmos. The sailing route was Leros - Patmos - Lipsi - Leros.

The event attracted twenty-five participating boats. All the boats crossing the starting line also finished after completing the whole race. Only one boat had to cancel at the distance-Leros Patmos. The stretch up towards Patmos was sailed in strong headwinds and s/y Sifnos 50.3 had to cancel due to technical problems with the mainsail boom. Eighteen boats from five nations competed in the Open Class which was won by the Swede Rolf Hallberg and his boat s/y Antina 2. Open Class is the group where the chartered boats compete and this time three charter boats from Kos took part in the race. All charter boats had Finnish crews. In the Open Class group competed nine Swedish, Finnish four, two Greek, two Italian and one British boat. In ORC Club seven Greek boats were competing about the victory and this time it was Peter Kalomoiris boat s/y Ilektra that drew the longest straw. It was now the third year that the Daphne trophy was in circulation. The “Daphne Trophy” was established in 2014 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the regatta, and was won the first time by Åke Hjort/ SWE (s/y Swea). 2015 the trophy was handed over to Hannu Rajala / FIN (s/y Seadiana) and in 2016 it was once again won by a Swedish boat. The winner in turn was now Lennart Königson / SWE (s/y Robust). The regatta had a very competent team of judges who did an outstanding job under the leadership of Panagiotis Dimitrakopoulus. The same team has also promised to deal with the jubilee regatta in 2017. The judges also maintain a Greek Facebook account for the regatta and it goes by the name "Goran Schildt Regatta".

GS Regatta 2017 - A Jubilee Regatta - An Experience Out of the Ordinary

This is an opportunity to sail in the Aegean sea, to meet interesting people and to enjoy culture. Welcome onboard an unforgettable and complete sailing experience. The GSR is always combined with an award and prize giving ceremony, cultural program and local festivities.

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