Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT / friedbits.com
The Star is one of the most prolific keelboats in the world for a reason: it is an incredible boat to sail. Designed in 1911 by Francis Sweisguth, it has proven to be a classic in every sense. It is the oldest Olympic class, having first been used in competition in 1932, and still at the heart of that competition today. Supported by a worldwide association the Star as a class is one of the best organized in sailing, with over 7,500 yachts built over its 80 year history, and 2000-plus actively racing today.
The Star has evolved into the consummate craft for all ranges of competition and performance sailing: its equipment and rig is simple enough for the novice, yet versatile enough for those on the forefront of sailing. It's large, powerful sailplan, combined with a sleek hull and light weight, propel the boat in the faintest of airs, while the flexible spar can be tuned to "de-power" when the breeze kicks up. The large main is infinitely adjustable, allowing the sailor to completely control the driving surface of the sail. Boats today are generally constructed of fiberglass, with positive flotation and an integrated keel. The design, sails, and equipment of the Star are governed by stringent class rules, created to improve competition on the basis of skill and control cost . This has also served to help the longevity of the design, keeping older boats competitive through careful evolution.
Stars are generally "dry-sailed", that is, stored on their trailers when not in use, and with a total weight around 1500 lbs, can easily be towed from place to place.
Many of the world's top sailors past and present have been involved in the Star Class. It's list of former World Champions reads like Who's Who of yachting: other top sailors such as Colin Beashel, John Kostecki, Mats Johansson, Hans Vogt, Benny Anderson, Rod Davis and Mark Reynolds are also involved in the Star class. But the class is made up of a variety of sailors of all ages and skill levels. One race on a Star has hooked some sailors for life: they'll tell you: It's a thrill.
The Star has practiced a philosophy of design evolution over its 80 year lifetime. Always staying at the forefront of sailing technology, the Star maintains a conservative balance aimed at keeping the level of competition high, holding costs in check and preserving the initial spirit of this great yacht. The priorities of safety and practicality have ruled most of the changes made over the years. This control over development of the class has kept boats that would have been retired at their age in other classes racing well into their golden years. Some of the features that can be found on today's Starboat are:
Adjustable Jib Leads
The four-way action of the deck-mounted jib leads allow you to carve the shape of the sail, keeping a good shape to match changing conditions.
A simple harness allows the crew to get his or her weight out of the boat more efficiently. Made legal by class rules in 1981, the vest must be equipped with a quick-release to ensure safe exit in an emergency. The vest eliminates alot of the exertion and gymnastics traditionally associated with extended periods of hiking.
Developed by Star sailor Duarte Bello, sailors quickly discovered that several strategically placed bailers can quickly and safely drain any excess water in the cockpit Most Stars generally have 4, two in the center of the cockpit, and two located near the chines.
Circular Boom Vang
Also developed by Duarte Bello for Stars, this innovation reached popularity in the 1960's, having proven to be a safe and efficient way to control the high loads of the long boom. This development later spread to other classes, among the 12-meters of America's Cup fame.
The simple sailplan utilizes a whisker pole to sail wing-on-wing off the wind, thus making the most of the generous sail area.
Class Sail Measurement
The ISCYRA measures every sail to ensure fair competition: the rules do not allow the exotic materials that drive up cost and cut the lifetime of other racing sails.