Friday, July 20, 2012

Run Up to the Weymouth Olympics; the Star class

After this go around, the Star class is out of the Olympics. I wouldn't say this with any finality, as the Star got bounced out before by the so-called more modern Tempest in 1976 and returned after being away for only one cycle. It returned in fine form and still retains its status as the world's premier small keelboat, featuring very large fleet racing outside the Olympics. But 2012 may be the final swan song for the Star in the Olympics as the short course racing favored for a more TV-friendly sailing competition doesn't suit a keelboat.

One of the more heartbreaking stories of the last Olympics was the saga of the U.S entrant, John Dane. John Dane was bordering on geezerdom in 2008 when he made the team; no one could doubt his racing chops, he had been at or near the top of the Star for ages, but, in 2008, this wasn't the class of Dennis Connor or Tom Blackaller; the young Olympic bucks had turned it into a physical battle just like the dinghies, hiking hard, pumping, rocking. John Dane, looking for an advantage to offset his age, gambled with a small Star hull shape tuned specifically for the light air that was predicted. It failed miserably. The boat speed was never there and he had one of the more dismal finishes of a U.S Star sailor in a recent Olympics.

This video of John Dane's Star campaign from 2008 is particularly poignant.

Sail for Gold --- 2008 Olympics from FILMSTERS on Vimeo.

And here you can watch some of the young bucks horse the Star around like a dinghy (featuring mostly the Danish Star Olympic team but there is some English spoken here and there).

Dansk Starb├ąd til OL i Weymouth from Anders Dylov on Vimeo.

1 comment:

doryman said...

Obviously these guys need the vintage wood Star that languishes in my boatyard. Sure would like to sell that boat.