A large group of GBR Laser Radials made the annual pilgrimage to the 44th Christmas Race in Palamos in Spain over the 18-22 December 2019.

Just as the Met man suggested we had a glamorous first day of racing - 15-20kts from the south west combined with a left over swell from the north east which challenged the sailors to work out what was fast up and down wind.

Day 1 was a 3 race day, and the 55 sailors challenges included knowing where the windward mark was and staying inside the lay lines. Notable GBR results included James Foster scoring 5,9,8. Kai Wolgram, 19,2,5. Arthur Farley 11,7,6 and Dan McGaughey, 6,12,6.

Day 2 saw a very strong south the south westerly wind, and a massive sea state with 3.5-5 metre swells, which only dropped off later in the afternoon. It was too late to race, but some of our 470's and 420's also competing in the Christmas race had a glamorous sail in the sunset.

Day 3 was a great day warm with 15-20kts from the SW and a biggish sea state. The upwind legs were long, and the bright sunlight made spotting the windward mark a challenge for all- including the coaches.

James Foster had a flawless day scoring 3 in the first race of the day coming back from 10 at the windward mark. Then he turned up the gas to score 2 bullets! Kai scored a 2, then a 13 after over-standing the port lay line by a long way because he couldn't see the windward mark, and then score another 2 in the final race of the day.

Arthur Farley, was having a great day scoring a great bullet and then a 7, but was unfortunate to suffer some sea sickness in the properly choppy conditions in the last race of the day. Dan McG, suffered a black flag on a 3 in the first race of the day, over stood in the second race by a long way and couldn't recover, and rounded off the day with a 4.

Day 4 dawned with the met man saying that although we had a stunningly clear warm sunny day, there would be a long wait for the wind to fill in. By 1245 we were afloat and the wind gradually filled in from the south west.

The 470s and 420s who were further upwind reported 15-20kts coming from the SW. It reached us and the Standards got away, then the Radial women and finally after a black flag general, the Radial Men started.

Button Bits And Taper Bits

Foster was just 2 points from first overall, and arrived at the WW mark in close company with Norwegian event leader Theodor Middelthon. Sadly the wind started to die away, and went left leaving the sailors on the right wallowing in a windless sloppy sea state. The race officer quite rightly abandoned the race, and as the final start time for the event had passed sent the Radial men in. There was carnage in the marina when the wind increased to 20+ kts and sailors were on a dead run to the slipways.

Coco Barrett was our sole Radial girl this year, it was a big learning curve for her improving in each race, against a lot of senior women. on Day 3 an outhaul block breakage put paid to a 12th. And on the last day Coco scored a great 6th, to round off the event.

1 NOR Theodor Middelthon 16pts 2 GBR James Foster 18pts 3 ESP Francesc Martinez Gorbig 24pts 4 GBR Kai Wolgram 24pts

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