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North Sails NEWS
Images © Bronny Daniels
ERIC DOYLE & PAYSON INFELISE WIN STAR NORTH AMERICANS
Three Bullets, Great Speed and Consistency Secure the Silver Star
The 2018 edition of the Star North American Championship was held in Marina Del Rey by the California Yacht Club. Thirty-six teams battled for four days and eight races. We caught up with World Champion and North Sails expert Eric Doyle after earning his second Silver Star, winning the title.
Eric, congratulations on your second North American title. How were the conditions?
Conditions were typical Southern California, 6-12 knots, pretty bumpy and shifty, very challenging. The Star has lots of power so it made the racing very enjoyable. We did have several races where the wind came up at the end of the day and Santa Monica Bay put up some nice waves for us to surf downwind.
Your race results, excluding the discard, were all on top 3, including three bullets. What were the key factors that worked for you and Payson?
We have been working very hard this summer on our light air speed, everything from sails, upwind rig tune and overall set up. Our speed has really come a long way since the NA’s last year where we had a real problem in light air. We had confidence in our speed which allowed us to start very conservatively, look outside the boat to recognize the conditions and decide which way to go. We also had great downwind speed that allowed us to pass a lot of boats.
How long have you and Payson been sailing together?
We have been racing together for more than 5 years. He is a great sailor and really helps me out a lot. He is very calm on the boat, even when I screw up royally. He runs the tactics downwind and always sets us up for the next leg. It’s great to have such a solid crew.
The Star Worlds are coming up. What are your expectations?
Well, the last time I won the NA’s we won the Worlds as well but in the Star Class there are so many excellent sailors that all one can really hope for when you show up at the Worlds is that you are competitive with the top boats, sail your best, and have a shot to win going into the last race. If every aspect of your program is not at its top level, at some point during the week it will show up and you will drop out of contention. We have been working hard all summer on the West Coast so hopefully it carries over into the Worlds.
Which North designs did you use?
The whole week we used our light air mainsail, the M-05 and the J1-R5 jib. However, the weekend before when we won the King of Spain regatta, we used our standard M-16 main and seemed to go pretty fast there was well. The M-05 main uses a minimum weight cloth and has a little rounder sections which help power the boat up sooner. The jib is quite full with a wide entry that really helps in the chop which we often encounter when racing in bigger fleets.
You have been involved in the Star Class for a while now. What is it so special about the boat for you?
I did my first star regatta as a crew when I was in high school (long time ago) and bought my first boat right out of college in 1990. With the small mast section and huge amount of sail area, the rig tuning and sail trim is very critical and if you understand the dynamics of a Star boat, you can race any boat in the world. There is also the challenge of just you and one crew member handling everything on the boat – sail trim, rig tune, boat balance, tactics, etc. Also, as soon as the wind comes up, the boat is very physical and requires a lot of hiking and force to muscle the boat around the track. It is by far my favorite boat to race!
What are your major titles in the Star Class?
We won the 1999 World Championship in Punta Ala, Italy, same year we last won the North Americans in Boston. I have also won the Spring Championships but I can’t recall the year. It is always very special to win a Star Class event as the competition is very challenging and the friends are the best. Always lots of fun in this class!
Congratulations Eric and Payson and good luck at the Worlds.
Learn more about North Sails fast Star designs.