Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT /


Super Stars Shine on Day One of Star North American Championship at Cal Yacht Club

Championships North Americans Regatta Reports - Author: Betsy Crowfoot - August 16, 2018

MARINA DEL REY, CALIFORNIA 16 AUGUST 2018 - - Champion Star sailor Eric Doyle took an early but slim lead today over the 34-boat fleet competing in Day One of the Star North American Championship regatta, which runs through Sunday at California Yacht Club. Two races were held on Santa Monica Bay, where a fresh south-westerly breeze offered a cool breather from steamy conditions ashore.

Race One got off cleanly, with Doyle and crew Payson Infelise controlling the fleet from pole to pole, and Paul Cayard/Arthur Lopez in close pursuit. Rick Merriman/Rick Peters finished third in that race

Race Two got off to a rocky start, with two General Recalls. The third start was a charm, with the I flag flying, and only one competitor OCS. With a westerly shift, the fleet split evenly. Benny Mitchell and Patrick Powell took the lead, trading places briefly with Doyle and Cayard at the second windward rounding. “We were playing the shifts and angles and Eric passed us. He opened up the lead, then he and Paul jibed away,” said Mitchell. Able to extend on the right side of the shift, Mitchell crossed the finish line first. Doyle and crew, close astern, were the first to should out congratulations.

Cayard took third. “Marina del Rey has always been a great place to sail Stars,” he said, crediting moderate winds but adding, “it was a little sloppy out there.”

Finishing the day with a 2-3 record, he acknowledged, “It was challenging, but we had a good day. Eric Doyle had a slightly better day; but we’ve got six more races to go.”

With several past North American and World champions in the line-up, and three more days of sailing, the 2018 title remains up for grabs.

Cayard, who the North Americans in 1994 and 2003 and the Worlds in 1988, has been racing Stars since 1977. “I love the Star,” he declared. “It’s the boat of my life.”

Doyle last won the North Americans in 1999 – the same year he triumphed at the Worlds.

Although that was nearly two decades ago, he’s currently back on a winning streak: triumphing in last weekend’s King of Spain tune-up here, following a win at the Santa Barbara Lipton Cup.

Overall, Doyle stood on top of the leaderboard with three points, followed by Cayard at five, and the team of Peter Vessella and Phil Trinter, with nine points. Racing continues through Sunday, August 19, with two matches daily starting at 12:25PM. Competitors, from the US, Canada and Argentina, can expect more of the same great weather, and superior race management and organization from California Yacht Club.

Top Five
1. Eric Doyle 3
2. Paul Cayard 5
3. Peter Vessella 9
4. John MacCausland 11
5. Andrew Macdonald 12


The Star is one of the greatest one-design racing classes in the world, demanding a superior level of competition. Fast and unforgiving, with massive sail area and just 23-ft LOA, they sail comfortably in light air. Mid-breeze requires some adjustment, and heavy breeze demands guts. One wrong jibe can result in the snap of a mast and loss of the massive main sail: NASCAR wrecks have nothing on a Star boat race! Introduced over 100 years ago, it has undergone various incarnations and innovations, yet this long-standing and elite class of racing keelboat remains one of the most widespread and professionally sailed craft in the world, with over 8,524 boats built; actively raced in 19 districts throughout 27 countries.


California Yacht Club is proud to have been selected to host major Star Class championships over the years: 1983 World Championship; 2002 World Championship; 2005 North American Championship; 2008 Olympic Sailing Trials; and 2010 North American Championship.

California Yacht Club is a three time recipient of the prestigious US Sailing St. Petersburg Yacht Club Trophy for Excellence in Race Management, including their performance hosting the 2002 Worlds and 2005 North Americans.

Located in Marina Del Rey, California, California Yacht Club has been a mainstay of the Yacht Racing Community since 1922. A modern organization steeped in tradition, its 1,000 members, ranging from neophyte juniors just gaining their sea legs to former Olympic champions, compete in boats ranging from Optis to Mega Yachts in major sailing regattas around the world.
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