The AYC September monthly meeting will feature North Sails One Design sailor Eric Doyle, one of the top Star boat sailors in the world and an America’s Cup veteran. The meeting is at 7p on Tuesday, September 10, at Dave & Buster’s at Tempe Marketplace (map). It’s near Lucille’s Smokehouse. Arrive early for dinner.
Eric started sailing as a kid on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, “Because it was so bloody hot you kind of had to be on the water in order to survive.” During college in Mobile, Alabama, he sailed Stars for the first time with the local fleet. “When I got out of college and was done racing small boats, I thought that the Star was just the coolest thing ever and started racing them.”
That led to an Olympic campaign ahead of the 1992 Games, and that in turn led to an important phone call.
“Vince Brun called me and said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come work for North Sails in San Diego, there’s a great Star fleet out here. I think it’ll help your career.’ So I packed up, pulled my Star boat out here, and started working for him.”
In 1999, Eric won the Star World Championship and his first Gold Star. “129 boat fleet, that was a highlight for sure.” More recently, he and crew Payson Infelise won the 2018 North Americans. “We’re feeling pretty strong right now. So, hopefully we can continue rolling along.”
Since first starting at North in 1992, Eric has done some big boat sailing as well, including an America’s Cup campaign with Dennis Conner and two with Oracle. But in 2017 the opportunity came to return to the Star—and to San Diego. Now, as Class Leader for North Sails, he’s brought his Cup experience back to help improve one design sails. “It’s taken me two years to get the [Star] sails where they are now. We have made some nice improvements.”