by Jaume Soler
The 38th edition of the GAES Christmas Race will begin on Wednesday with 300 boats from 26 nations. From 18 to 22 December, the Bay of Palamós welcomes the Olympic and ISAF Youth Classes in this traditional Christmas regatta.
38th GAES Christmas Race
The participating classes at the GAES Christmas Race 2013 are Laser Radial men and women, Finn, 420, 470 men and women, 29er, FX and 49er. Besides being a selection event for the Spanish 2013 pre-Olympic team, the regatta is also included in the ISAF ranking lists and has been selected by the Spanish Sailing Federation as National Championship for 49er, 470 men and women and Copa de España for 29er. The 29ers will have registration and measurement tomorrow and races are scheduled from 19 to 21 December.
This edition experiences an important increase in the number of entries with the participation of four Olympic medallists. The Xiquitas Team (gold in London 2012 in Elliot)will sail in separate teams in Palamós; Támara Echegoyen together with world Champion Berta Betanzos in FX, Ángela Pumariega with Patricia Cantero and Sofia Toro with Lara Sarasola in 470 women. Slovenian sailor Vasilij Zbogar, Olympic silver medallist in Beijing and bronze medallist in Athens in Laser class, will participate in Palamós in the Finn class.
Other great sailors will also be present this year in Palamós. The Laser radial winner at the recent ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne Tatiana Drozdovskaya, number two in the world ranking lists will be once again in the regatta. In Finn class, Spanish sailor Alex Muscat, absolute winner of the 37 GAES Christmas Race will race again to keep the title battling with rival Zbogar, the current European champion. FX European champions, Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Maria Thusgaard Olsen from Denmark, will also be at the starting line tomorrow. In the 49er fleet Spanish brothers Alonso, European champions and Croatian team Paulo Kostov and Peter Copac, sixth in the ranking lists will also battle for victory in this edition. World silver medallists in 2012 and 2013, French team Pierre Le Boucher and Nicolas Le Berre as well as Austrian team David Bargehr and Lukas Mäh will guarantee exciting racing in the 470 men.
The 26 participating nations are Germany, Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Belorussia, Croatia,Denmark, Spain, Slovenia, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.
Three daily races are scheduled every day -four in 49er- from Wednesday to Saturday and the top ten will sail the Medal race on Sunday.