James Foster, Laser Radial and Sailing Chandlery sponsored sailor talks about his year so far.
My 2019 season started back in April at the Youth Nationals in Weymouth. The start of the regatta was super windy, with only the Laser fleet being sent out! Luckily, we completed one race and I managed to capsize 7 times! Not the best start to the event, but I bounced back over the coming days and was soon in 3rd place on the penultimate day. On the morning of the final day the conditions didn’t look hopeful, with not a ripple to be seen across the harbour. After an indefinite postponement, the breeze filled in and we sailed out to the bay for the final day of racing.
Unfortunately, as soon as the race began the breeze dropped off and became rather fickle causing one of my competitors to retire from the race in frustration. Despite finishing in 5th, my only remaining competition was behind me by far enough to clutch the Gold medal and claim the Youth National Champion title! Not a bad start to the season!
Between April and July I wasn’t able to get out on the water too much as I was completing my GCSE exams, but just days after my final exam I set off to Athens for the European Championships.
The Greek Laser Nationals were being held at the same venue as the Europeans, so myself and a couple of other GBR sailors took part in a few races as part of our training, which was great fun. There was a consistent breeze of over 20 knots but unfortunately by the time the Championships began, the wind had completely dropped leaving behind only 5 knots for the rest of the week with the occasional 90° wind shift. This led to some weird racing conditions and mark pile-ups of 40+ boats! In conclusion, despite my overall position I had a great time in the sunshine and was just glad to be away from all the textbooks!
After the Europeans I had a few days at home to rest before I left with the British Youth Worlds Team for the Youth Worlds in Gdynia, Poland.
On the first day the conditions were amazing, with a steady 12-15 knots from the Baltic; this made for very good racing and allowed me to come 7th in the first race. Over the coming days, the wind built up making for incredible racing! Despite the more favourable conditions I dropped a few places and was 18th coming into the last day of racing. The tension throughout the competitors built coming into the last day, with many British teams being in the contention for a medal! I managed to have a good day allowing me to gain two places and move up into 16th position overall.
I had such a great experience, I made lots of new friends from all over the world and will never forget the uber competitive evening Ping-Pong tournaments!!!
After 48 hours of travelling from Poland, I finally arrived in Canada with only two hours of sleep! Luckily this worked a treat as I felt very little jet lag! After a good night’s sleep, I was ready to set up my boat generously supplied by Phoenix Marine. From the onset of the event, it was evident that there was a very favoured left-hand side, but with random shifts and bands of pressure from both sides. This made for very interesting racing as the start became very critical for a successful race. I came 34th overall, however I learnt lots from the event and plan to take these lessons forwards to the upcoming qualifiers.
The day after returning from Canada, I transferred all my control lines back onto my own boat and began Parkstone Youth Week – which is a local event which is loads of fun for all youth sailors! We were lucky with the wind as the sea breeze brought medium to strong winds all week allowing me to achieve a clean sheet of six firsts! However, on the penultimate day, I lost the streak with a 3rd place behind two of my competitors Drew Barnes and Ollie Sturley. Despite this I redeemed myself with two more bullets on the final day.
Keep an eye on the Sailing Chandlery social channels to follow James progress in his Laser Radial.
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