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Paul Cayard Resigns From US Sailing

It was an upbeat moment with high hopes when, in March 2021, US Sailing announced that Bay Area National Sailing Hall of Fame sailor Paul Cayard was taking on the role of executive director of US Olympic Sailing. After barely two years, in the midst of a restructuring by US Sailing, he has just announced his resignation with the following statement:

“Unfortunately, over the past couple of months, the US Sailing Association and I had a complete breakdown on several levels. The process of resolution was not good and ultimately unsuccessful. Despite my passion for our mission and my perseverance, I can no longer work with US Sailing.

“In 2020, I was told that trying to build a successful Olympic Team, within US Sailing, would be very challenging. Changing the processes, culture and support for the Team is an extremely difficult task. We are just starting to make gains. Raising two or three times the amount of money ever raised in the USA, to support that goal, is also a difficult task. Starting and building an endowment, so that future leaders will have something to rely on financially, is another tall order.

“Ultimately, the relationship with US Sailing proved to be one that I could not cope with. It pains me to admit that as I did sail around the world twice and generally feel pretty capable of dealing with adversity. I want to emphasize my gratitude for your support, trust and confidence in me. Know that we made significant progress in the movement to get the USA back to the top of the podium. I remain interested in our mission and supporting athletes. Maybe this will take a different form in time.

“It has been my honor and privilege to work with my staff and for all the great athletes of the USA who have so much potential. I wish them all the best!”

Paul Cayard
Paul Cayard in a happier moment, winning the Star Western Hemisphere Championship with Brad Nichol in fall 2022.
© 2023 Star Class

Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press reported, “Cayard, one of America’s most successful sailors, said Saturday that he couldn’t work under a restructuring of the Olympic team’s management. He said he was told just minutes before a board of directors meeting that he would be asked to focus on fundraising while someone else ran the team.”

In an email to the AP, Bay Area sailor and current US Sailing board president Richard Jepsen said that Cayard “was offered the ability to continue to support the team by, among other things, providing valuable input into its direction and leading the important fundraising efforts. He declined, and we respect his decision.”

With just a year and a half before the Paris Olympics and five and a half years to the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, it is a difficult time to make another transition and a disappointment for many who saw the team progressing under Cayard’s leadership.


  1. Noel Anderson 1 year ago

    It seems to me that the wrong guy resigned, some others need to go. you only have to see the results of recent times to work that out. A clash of egos here, Paul has the track record IMHO!!!

  2. Don Kohlmann 1 year ago

    Having had the good fortune to sail with Paul in a few projects, I found him to be a superb organizer, and extraordinary talented onboard. I can only imagine this as a loss for US Sailing, and US sailors.

  3. Ken Brinkley 1 year ago

    My appreciation and deepest respect to Paul .Changing a structure as rigid and out of touch as USA sailing ,must have been very frustrating. Kudos for standing up for your beliefs!

    • Greg Dyer 1 year ago

      You nailed it!

  4. Emil Giese 1 year ago

    Paul’s the man for USA Sailing unfortunately not the guy to go begging for funds! Who the hell is in charge? Look at his track record!

  5. Bill Canfieldm 1 year ago

    That was the most brutal resignation letter I have ever read.

    • Shel 1 year ago

      Agreed, the english is atrocious

  6. Dan O'Brien 1 year ago

    Some people have a talent for and have fun raising money.
    Others have fun and talent in all aspects of sailing. You have to pick the right horse for the course.

  7. Ed Huntsman 1 year ago

    According to the Lewiston Tribune, Dubby Holt coached a championship swimming team, but if you had pushed him into the pool he might have drowned because Dubby never learned to swim.

    He never boxed either, but his boxing teams at Idaho State University won two national titles. And he was the coach of the U.S. boxing team at the 1956 Olympics.

    My point is that being really good at something doesn’t necessarily mean you can be a great coach at something. I don’t know the details of the US Sailing inside story. And I doubt most of us commenting here do. I know Paul Cayard is a great sailor, well respected and admired. But I also know many of those on the US Sailing board; also great sailors, well respected and admired. And I also know it’s been years since the U.S. team has medaled. (Emphasis on team). Perhaps it’s best to keep opinions to ourselves while continuing to respect all involved, trust and support those that have the most to lose or gain as our US Olympic team works to get back on the podium.

  8. Laurie 1 year ago

    I probably should not say this but I long ago worked for the US Olympic Committee’s nascent (at the time) website called Team USA. I was tasked with covering three sports during the 2008 Summer Olympics on a ‘stringer basis’ and from the comfort of my couch I reported on sailing, badminton and women’s softball for Team USA. I also once wrote for a US Sailing newsletter for a short time. I was so shaken by the treatment I received from the ‘governing board’ or whoever manages the PR for say badminton, softball and even sailing I concluded a long time ago that something was rotten with the USOC in general and it trickles down to all of our sports. I definitely felt that the badminton Olympians were prevented from talking to the press, at that time they got rid of women’s softball which was an amazing opportunity for women. That year Anna Tunnicliffe won Gold in the Lasers, and Zach Railey won silver in the Finn class! What I felt then as I do now is what may be wrong with US Sailing is also wrong with the USOC, the governing body of our sport. I think it needs a drastic revamping. I don’t know where one would begin, but it is actually a rather vile place based on my brief time working for them.

    • Ken Brinkley 1 year ago

      Sadly, male, dominated organizations, especially sports tend to be sexist and misogynist! It’s long overdue for a cleaning of their house! Thanks for your input

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