Paul Foerster and Kevin Burnham
US Sailing Team members Paul Foerster and Kevin Burnham, fresh from their victory at the 470 Europeans in Brest, France, took a few moments to speak to Scuttlebutt. Here is what they said:
|Paul showing good form and Kevin showing his trademark barefeet.
'Butt: You guys just went to Europe and took their top prize, yet 470 racing in the US is hardly existent here. How do you get an edge?
Paul Foerster: Bottom line, we travel to Europe. Since competing in the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta, we have done the Barcelona OCR, French OCR, Holland OCR, German OCR, and the European Championships. Left to sail is the Athens Pre-Olympics and the World Championships in Spain before our trials in November.
'Butt: But what about your training schedule? Kevin, you’re in Miami while Paul is in Dallas. You guys aren’t just going to meet after work to get in some reps on the water.
Kevin Burnham: Amazingly, we don’t even sail together here in the states. We have been traveling to regattas in Europe for practice because we need the race experience as a team. We are the first ones in the water and last ones out everyday.
'Butt: There was a lot of hoopla at the Europeans this year in Brest, France with it being the 40th anniversary. 112 boats, plus very shifty winds and strong currents, yet your finishes were all top five except for your drop race (a fifteenth). So, what happened to cause the 15th?
Burnham: Boy, you’re not giving us much slack here. It was our one mediocre start in the middle of the line and we were beat out by the left side and right side. We rounded the first weather mark in last place. We thought we did pretty good grinding back to 15th.
'Butt: We knew you could do it. Paul, does age and treachery help during times like that?
Foerster: It doesn’t hurt. Kevin started sailing a 470 in 1975 and has never really stopped. His experience from being in the ’92 and ’96 Olympics is still there, plus winning the Silver in ’92. This is my fourth Olympics, with an FD Silver in ’92 and a 470 Silver in ’00. We’ve both had our share of miracle finishes.
'Butt: Still, the 470 hosts some pretty young and hungry bucks. At 39 and 46 years of age (Paul and Kevin, respectively), do you all get preferred parking at the events?
Burnham: People joke about our age and being older than their parents and stuff. It is fun to compete against them and even more so when we beat them.
'Butt: You two hadn’t teamed up in a 470 before the 2004 campaign. Any big concerns when starting up?
Foerster: Only whether we could compete and win. We feel like we are now well beyond that hurdle.
'Butt: Kevin, you both have been down the Olympic trail a few times before. How’s the view today?
Burnham: It has become more professional than ever. Teams are sailing full time with complete sponsorship from their federations or private companies. It is much more competitive.
'Butt: Here at Scuttlebutt, we have never shied away from a chance to give some love to our sponsors. Here is your chance.
Foerster: We have been using Kaenon’s Polarized Sunglasses, North Sails, Quantum Sails, Ullman Sails, Yale Cordage, McLube and a Mackay 470. Thanks!
'Butt: Any love for your employers?
Burnham: I work for Nautor’s Swan Florida-Agents International and Paul works for Raytheon. Both companies have been very understanding.
'Butt: Any final thoughts?
Foerster: As long as we follow our schedule, we should be ready for our trials in November. Minimizing distractions is vital, and fulfilling our fundraising needs is key. Anyone who wants to can contribute to our tax-deductible foundation. We have raised about 10% of our $100,000 budget. Information is available at http://www.geocities.com/foerster_2004