Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

Canada’s Star Sailors – Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn

by Lynn Fitzpatrick on 27 Sep 2010
Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn on way to winning the 2010 Star Western Hemisphere Championship in Nassau. Fried Elliott © http://www.friedbits.com
Canada's Star Sailors - Have you ever arrived at an event and seen familiar faces on a new team and said, 'Ah ha! They’re going to be tough to beat. I wonder what took them so long to team up?'

That’s what happened when Richard Clarke, four-time Canadian Finn representative to the Olympics and Tyler Bjorn a long-time Star crew and member of the Canadian Olympic sailing team, arrived at the Star North Americans last year on Long Island Sound.

Bjorn was determined to put together a first class team and devised a plan to that was too good for Clarke to refuse. He secured charter of a PStar, a Star boat design that has only been available since the 2008 Olympics, and asked Clarke to take the helm for the 2009 Star North American Championship.

Both Clarke and Bjorn are well known in various sailing spheres, but the North American Championship was the first time that they showed up at a Star regatta together. Long Island Sound served up crisp, bright autumn days as well as cold and treacherous easterlies with huge swells. Through it all, Richard and Tyler managed to stay among the leaders. They finished second in the regatta and narrowly missed winning a Silver Star, an honor awarded to Star skippers who win a hemispheric championship. Some people sail Stars for a lifetime and never win a Silver Star.

The next opportunity for Clarke and Bjorn to win a Silver Star was at the Star Western Hemispheres in Nassau in the spring of 2010. They had a little practice at the Bacardi Cup in Miami where they finished fourth in a large fleet. The Bahamas was a different story. Each and every day was windy and a lot of boats damaged their rigs in the warm up regatta. Bjorn and Clarke had one disastrous day in which they got tangled up with other boats, sent someone to the hospital for stitches and Richard was swept out of the boat. It just made Clarke realize how much he had to learn about Star sailing.

Knowing how much damage they could do, Clarke and Bjorn’s strategy for the Western Hemisphere’s was to sail conservatively and not put themselves in a position where they were forced to react quickly in the heavy air. It worked. They won the regatta and their first silver star.

Both Clarke and Bjorn are very busy with other sailing campaigns and their young families. When Wind Athletes Canada, an organization that promotes the sport of sailing in Canada, supports training programs, funds and supports members of the Canadian Sailing Team recognized Clarke’s and Bjorn’s potential, they assisted with sponsorship.



Off to Europe Clarke and Bjorn went for the Star European Championship, the largest regatta that the Star Class has ever held. In the light and humid air, Clarke and Bjorn were early regatta leaders. As time went on, others who had a little more time in the Star and were used to sailing wide angles in light or no wind, managed to squeak by the pair. They tied for second on points, but lost the tiebreaker to take third in the regatta.

Their chartered PStar was already in Europe and they had had great results for the season, so why not go to the grand finale of the Olympic Class sailing circuit for the year, Skandia’s Sail for Gold Regatta.

Clarke and Bjorn’s reports during the regatta were along the lines of 'It may be a small fleet gathered here, but there ain’t no slouches!' and 'We still have a lot to learn.'

Keep an eye out for them, because the newlyweds have had remarkable performances at just about every regatta in which they have competed. If they pursue a well-funded Olympic campaign for the next two years, Canada is not only likely to qualify for the Olympics in the Star; it will be a medal contender. If they do qualify for the Olympics, Tyler will join his father and his brother as Canadian Olympic Star sailors. How cool is that?

Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn are also racing the new Reichel-Pugh 52, Vela Veloce, where Clarke is the helmsman and Bjorn is a grinder. Clarke is also managing Wind Athletes Canada’s Open 60 program. Their fall and winter plans include a beauty makeover on their PStar, a training clinic In Miami, big boat sailing in the Caribbean and more.

www.worldregattas.com

Pantaenius - Fixed ValueFremantle to Bali Race 660x82Zhik Yachting 660x82

Related Articles

Stena Match Cup Sweden 2014 - Three in a row for Bjorn Hansen
Stena Match Cup Sweden, the second event in the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, provided a fairy tale finish. Stena Match Cup Sweden, the second event in the 2014 Alpari World Match Racing Tour, provided a fairy tale finish for local Swedish fans with skipper Bjorn Hansen claiming his third successive title in Scandinavia’s premier match racing contest.
Posted on 11 Jul 2014
Stena Match Cup Sweden - Team Gilmour finishes eighth
It has been a long week at our first Stena Match Cup Sweden, with Team Gilmour finishing a little disappointed in eighth It has been a long week at our first Stena Match Cup Sweden, with Team Gilmour finishing a little disappointed in eighth place. We found it a little difficult to build momentum throughout the event and get used to the DS37 yachts. Despite the result we feel that we are still improving and learning from every race and really growing as a team.
Posted on 8 Jul 2014
470 Olympic champ Mathew Belcher names Will Ryan as new sailing buddy
470 gold medal winner Mathew Belcher begins four-year Olympic build-up with new sailing crew Will Ryan on Thursday. Olympic gold medalist Mathew Belcher announced Thursday his new sailing partner, Will Ryan, to begin his four-year build-up towards the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Ryan, who already worked with Belcher and coach Victor Kovalenko in the past, replaced Malcolm Page who retired from Olympic class sailing following another golden feat at the 2012 London Olympics.
Posted on 22 Nov 2012
Belcher and new crew to begin Rio Games build-up on Thursday
Olympic champ Matthew Belcher and new crew to begin Rio Games build-up on Thursday Fresh from bagging the gold at the 2012 London Olympics, 470 dinghy sailor Matthew Belcher wasted no time to begin his preparation for the 2016 Rio Games with his new sailing crew who is replacing recently retired Olympic champion Malcolm Page.
Posted on 21 Nov 2012
The REAL challenges for Olympic Sailing
The overwhelming response to this Olympic shake down has been focused around the classes sailed at the Games. The overwhelming response to this Olympic shake down has been focused around the classes sailed at the Games. This is an important issue no doubt, but in no way the most significant challenge sailing faces as an Olympic sport. The number one challenge faced by sailing as an Olympic sport is the disappointing way in which it is presented on television.
Posted on 7 Nov 2010
Kiteboarders make strong claim for 2016 Olympic inclusion
The International Kiteboard Association makes a strong claim for inclusion in the 10 event card for the 2016 Olympics in With the International Sailing Federation's Annual Conference due to get underway in Athens, Greece, next week, the International Kiteboard Association makes a strong claim for inclusion in the 10 event card for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Posted on 2 Nov 2010
Entry for Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta opens
2009 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta being held at Weymouth 2012 Olympic venue has opened for entries - 500 are expected The Royal Yachting Association has officially opened the entry list for the 2009 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta being held at the Weymouth 2012 Olympic venue from 14-19 September - The event is the seventh and final leg of the ISAF 2008-09 ISAF Sailing World Cup series
Posted on 16 Jun 2009
Elliott 6m debuts on the world stage at Kiel Week
New Olympic boat the Elliott 6m will finally make its debut at Kieler Woche in Germany in June The new Olympic boat the Elliott 6m will finally make its debut on the world stage in a couple of weeks during event six of the ISAF Sailing World Cup at Kieler Woche in Germany, which runs from 20 to 28 June. Twenty-four crews from nine different countries are expected to be fighting for the Kieler Woche trophies
Posted on 3 Jun 2009
Medal day at Delta Lloyd Olympic Classes Regatta
Great Britain beat the hosts from The Netherlands to the top of the medal table Great Britain beat the hosts from The Netherlands to the top of the medal table as the Medal Race brought the 2009 Delta Lloyd Regatta, event five of the 2008-09 ISAF Sailing World Cup, to a close. Apart from the Brits and the Dutch, gold medals went to six other nations in Medemblik, with 18 nations winning medals in total
Posted on 1 Jun 2009
Finn Focus - Wright does it again
Ed Wright (GBR) has done it again at the Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik Ed Wright (GBR) has done it again. At each and every medal race in the past four regattas of the ISAF Sailing World Cup he has pulled something extra out of the bag to give himself the best possible chance
Posted on 1 Jun 2009