It all started with my post about vintage wooden boards and specificaly this 1984 piece by the Greek magazine Surf & Ski, about the division II racer of great beauty.
As I wrote in my post, it was an entry to the international regatta that took place in Porto Carras in Greece, but although they took photos and provided the info that was made by a Greek in BRAZIL, they failed to record THE NAME of the guy. The bottom photo shows Greek athlete George Giagoulakis who raced the beautiful board.
This Is the translation of the article:
GREEK BOARD MADE IN BRAZIL
Among the various boards we saw during the European windsurfing championship in Porto Carras (Halkidiki area-northern Greece), there were 2-3 that attracted us.
The first one was the self-made board of the French Ossedat, which as seeing it on the beach, it was giving the impression of something abandoned & obsolete. When later managed to be placed 5th on the final classification, we got really astonished. It was full of tar & patches – a good example that a nice finish is not necessary for a competitive design.
The second was a very expensive all-aluminium board designed & sailed by Hervé Borde, French champion and official designer of the Division II boards of Dufour.
The third board was a wooden one from Brazil, built by a Greek who lives there. We had the chance to discuss with him about the board, the materials and the construction in general.
So here are some of its secrets.
We start from the selection of light cedar wood, which is cut in thin stripes, with opposite direction (90deg angle). That way we get the needed strength, because as wood has only longitudinal strength and not lateral. this is the only right combination (top photo).
After the building of the hull, reinforcements are done to the inside, together with the dagger board case. Then a narrow diameter band is made, that will be used to join the deck to the hull.
The deck is made the same way and when bonded to the hull, starts the finishing procedure (top photo). After the sanding, epoxy resin is applied, which accounts to the
70% of the total weight. The shaper prefers epoxy than polyester resin, because it is less hydrophilic. He also noted that if there were no minimum D2 weight regulations, the board would weight ~ 15,5kg.
When epoxy dries, comes the varnishing, which will protect the surface from the sun radiation. (bottom photo).
Everything fine so far, but what about damage repairs? Thanks to the robust construction, it is difficult to have damages, but in the unlucky case, the repair is done easily by cutting out the broken wood stripes and replacing them with new ones, which if glued with polyester will regain 25% of the original rigidity, while using epoxy will improve the figure to 80%. As the hull has the natural curvatures that wood stripes can follow without the need of any pressure, repairs present no difficulty.
The representation of the boards in Greece was appointed to the athlete Giagoulakis who may also service a board if needed.
In SEPTEMBER 2012, Thanks to Argentinean friend ARG425, I got the info that the“Gregos” were built by the naval architect Leonidas Zerboulis, and that Grego means Greek in Portuguese.
In JANUARY 2013, Rainer Frohböse from Germany GER 239, send me this message:
I have one of those legendary Gregos which I bought in 1985 after the Europeans in Travemünde. It has been restored and it is in excellent condition. Has anyone else such a fine board?
Having the name of the designer/builder of the GREGO, plus a proud owner of a well-kept & restored board, I could not help but try to get things together and maybe come up with a nice story with memories & photos hopefully provided by the persons involved.
Rainer gave me both a story & some great photos which I happily share with you:
Here is my story:
I bought the Grego in 1985 after the European Championships in Travemünde / Germany where we had the pleasure to meet two competitors from Brazil which were Cinthia Knoth and a guy whose name I forgot. They both sailed the Grego in Travemünde and in the DIV II World Championships in the same year. Right after the Europeans they had to go back to Brazil. Because of the expensive freight cost they sold the Grego. As former president of the German DIV II Class organisation, I had been working as press officer during the Championships. So I took the chance and became lucky owner of this wooden beauty on the spur of the moment.
I have been sailing the board until 1988 in many Div II regattas in Germany. Since the collapse of the DIV II class, I used to sail the board just for fun and in several open class races.
A couple of weeks later the mast foot had broken which was a severe problem for me. Where would I buy a spare part? Luckily, a friend helped me to reconstruct it in his workshop. This has been the only problem I have had with my Grego. There has never been any water inside it, as I have managed to avoid any collision. Some years ago I finally invested in a new epoxy lacquer coat. The board is like new since that time. Now and then I take it out of its handmade board bag made by Josef König. In light wind it is still a pleasure to sail a displacement board!
Attached please find some photos and a copy of a sticker which I got in 1985 when I bought the Grego.
Although the start with Rainer was very easy & productive, unfortunately, I did not manage to trigger more response from the people involved:
1. Leonidas Zerboulis - Some months ago, I tried to contact him through a postage address – as it was impossible to find his e-mail, but unfortunately he has not responded to my letter.
2. Cintia Knoth - I found the information below, but she never replied to the e-mails I send her to the 2 sailing schools she coaches.
Cintia Knoth, experienced yachtsman, has dedicated her life to nautical sports. Degree in Physical Education from UFRJ.
Her main achievements: Brazilian Champion and twice champion of European Windsurfing Sail and 4 times Brazilian and South American Champion 470. Furthermore, represented Brazil at the Olympics in Seoul.
She is currently a professor at the Gloria Marina and Yacht Club of Rio de Janeiro. http://www.clvela.com.br/clquemsomos.htm
3. George Giagoulakis – I spoke with him on the phone, but you must realize that nowadays, many people in Greece are struggling to survive, so maybe my request is out of time… The contact details were given to me by Stratos Efthyvoulidis, who organizes the annual Div.II regatta in Greece
As you may notice, Nicolas Patroni wrote in the Windsurfing SPECIAL comments section, that he also owns a similar board, so maybe we will have some more material in the future…
Stratos Efthyvoulidis send me some interesting photos:
A wooden Grego COPY – as I understand from the comments of Leonidas Zerboulis, which looks like a Dobbelman replica in wood – as Stratos Efthyvoulidis points out…Complicated case indeed.
A Grego waiting restoration, found in North Greece, which Stratos describes as similar to Mistral M1.
Ο Στάτος Ευθυβουλίδης, μου έστειλε τις πιό πάνω φωτο, με τα εξής σχόλια:
Δημήτρη γειά, σου στέλνω ένα σετ φωτογραφίες από το ξύλινο σκάφος που ανέβασε στον τοίχο της ομάδας division 2 ο Nicolas Patroni . Επίσης σου στέλνω μερικές φωτο από το δικό μας ξύλινο Grego εδω στη Χαλκιδική. Αυτό βέβαια θέλει κάποια δουλειά για να επανέλθει.
Το σκάφος που έχουμε εμείς μοιάζει με το Μ1 της Mistral, ενώ αν πρόσεξες του Patroni είναι αντίγραφο του Dobbelman. Από φωτογραφίες σου στέλνω κάποιες παλιές από το 1988 όπου κάνουμε προπόνηση με τον Κύρο με το ξύλινο.