Hugh Styles back on Olympic trail for 2004

Tornado and Admiral's Cup commitments make 2001 a busy year

Thursday December 14th 2000, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
Hugh Styles and Adam May are the first of Britain’s victorious Olympic team to confirm they are back on the Olympic trail for Athens in 2004. The first regatta of their new Olympic cycle will be the world championships in South Africa this February, which is set to take place in the old-style Tornado of single trapeze and simple main and jib configuration.
Styles told madforsailing he was keen to get back into Tornado competition but that the class still had a number of unresolved issues following ISAF’s decision to vote in the new Tornado Sport. Styles, who has seen his official world ranking climb to 6th following his 6th place in Sydney, was excited about the prospect of adding an extra trapeze and gennaker on to the existing 20-foot cat, but said there was still a lot of class politics to be resolved.

"ISAF has said it wants to see the Tornado Sport on the Olympic circuit by 2002, but I think we could see it make an earlier appearance next year at some regattas," he said. "The worlds will be in the old configuration, but by the Europeans we could see some competing with the new set-up. There is a danger that there could be a class split. The trouble is we need to rework the class constitution to push the changes through more quickly. But our task is to do what we can to see that these changes pass through as soon as possible."

The Tornado is strong amongst amateur lake sailors in Germany, whose numbers give them a strong say in the direction of the class. But it is unlikely the class will try to block ISAF’s decision to adopt the Sport version, it is just a matter of how long it takes to overcome the inertia.

Styles said the new boat could be fun but also frightening. "I think we will be really motoring downwind in waves. I know I’m going to get a lot of people asking, ‘Can I have a go?’," he joked. "The potential for massive wipe-outs will be there. We’ve got a lot further to fall than a 49er crew if we pitchpole."

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