Showings on traditionally male open circuits from pioneers such as Riley and MacArthur have been outstanding at the very least, yet the state of affairs in open competition might just come down to a numbers game. "Theres a long delay between a pioneer proving something can be done and the rest of the female sailing population believing they can do it too," says Cathy Foster, who in 1984 was the fourth-place finisher in the open 470 fleet at the Los Angeles Olympics. Now a coach, Foster predicts that further growth of womens sailing will take a long time, and stands firm in her opinion that events should be kept open at the Olympic level. According to Foster, many women sailors around the globe have shown interest in the open Olympic events, but are persuaded by sponsors to choose womens fleets on the basis that they would be more competitive in women-only events. "Keeping the events open reflects the way many sailors participate at the grassroots level," she says.