Saturday, December 18, 2010

Shifty winds mark opening day of Christmas Race in Palamós

[Source: Christmas Race] Day one in Palamos woke up with clouds and grey skies with SSE winds forecasted to start blowing from midday. A calm morning with no wind left all sailors ashore. Shyly, the sun peeped through the clouds around midday and the wind seemed to start making its way through. The Race Committee decided to send the Laser and Laser radial fleet to the racing area but as soon as the decision was made the Race Committee reported that the wind had dropped again and all classes were again postponed ashore. It wasn't until 14:00 hrs that a sudden shifty 160-170 wind, 5 to 6 knots took the bay of Palamos by surprise and racing began.

The first to sail out was the 49er fleet that was followed by all other classes. The changeable wind conditions put the Race Committee to the test and finally only the 49ers, 470 and Finn managed to sail today. In Charlie area the Laser standard and radial started race one but it had to be abandoned shortly after the start due to an important wind shift and the fleet was sent ashore. After 2 races in the 49er, GBR team Richard Mason and Tom Partington take the lead followed by Bernardo Freitas and Francisco Andrade from Portugal and French sailors Mathieu Frei and Yann Rocherieux.

In Bravo area, the 470 men and women and Finn completed only one race. After finishing second at the 2010 Skandia Sail for Gold regatta last August, 470 women Spanish sailors Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos had an excellent start of the event winning today’s race. Second place was for British team Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth who have finished second overall at the 2008 and 2009 editions of the Christmas race. Spanish team Marina Gallego and Ana Lobo were third. Swedish team Victor Bergström and Marcus Dackhammar won today’s race in the 470 men, followed by Jasper Wagner and Tobias Bolduan from Germany who have just arrived from a victory at the Imperia Winter regatta. Third place was for French sailors Louis Moysan and Baptiste Berthier.

Win for Andrii Gusenko from Ukraine in the Finn class and second place for Austrian sailor Florian Raudaschl from Austria who won the International Finn Cup in Malcesine last October. Third place was for Jan Kurfeld from Germany.

Tomorrow is expected to start cloudy again, with some drizzles and NW wind, 4 to 7 knots in the morning changing to SSW wind 6 to 12 knots from midday.

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