Star debate

Dan Nerney / Rolex
Paul Cayard, Rod Davis and Hamish Pepper on why the Olympic keelboat should stay in
With the prospect of the Star being cast of the Olympic sailing line-up come 2016, so we spoke to several leading exponents of the discipline to get their thoughts on the choice of equipment for Rio. Now head of Torbjorn Tornqvist’s Artemis Racing, Paul Cayard has used the Star to sharpen the skills that have caused him to win the Volvo Ocean Race and compete in numerous America’s Cups. A class regular for more decades now, Cayard finished third in his first Star Worlds in 1992, won the North Americans in 1994 and 2003, was second and third in the Bacardi Cups in 1996 and 2001 respectively, won the Western Hemisphere Championships in 2005 and 2009 and ended up fifth at the Athens Olympics. Cayard repeats the Iain Percy argument that keelboat racing represents the majority of sailing. “In the Olympics there are 10 boats, 10 classes, the question is – why is that? My guess is to give a little bit of a cross section of the sport. Well, a large part of sailing has keelboats in it, so to think that not one 10th of the cards spent on Olympic classes is going to be spent on a keelboat - I think we are missing a little bit there.” Given that keelboats represent the largest single boat genre in sailing Cayard goes on to ponder what if sailing at the Games were only allowed one class? To be representative of our sport, surely a keelboat would be best? “There is a lot of history in the Star. Iain Percy, Robert Schiedt, Torben Grael, myself - at a certain point we all end up coming to the Star class and testing their mettle there. Why? Because it is a very challenging class and there is enough technical going on with the rig and