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
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. Starts 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.
Star: Art and Machine
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
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.