International Star Class Yacht Racing Association



Members' Forum
Open Forum

Districts & Fleets
Class Officers

Email Directory

Star Class
Class Rules
Class History

Life Members
About the Star


Classified Ads
Online Store

Submit Results/Schedules
How it works

Download Forms



1969 World Championship - Regatta Report

1969 World's Championshi
p - San Diego
Regatta Results
Report from the 1970 Star Class Log by Frank Zagarino

Note: This report has been scanned in by Ed Sprague. For a collection of Worlds' reports plus photographs contact Ed Sprague ( ) to order his book "The San Diego Bay Star Fleet".

We flew from Miami to San Diego, arriving at 10.30 p.m. Although that was 1.30 a.m. on our watches, we were too excited to be tired, and strolled down to the San Diego Yacht Club, only five blocks from Our Half Moon Inn. There we met Buddy Friedrichs and George Mejlaender who had just driven straight through from New Orleans, and looked it. Ding Schoonmaker took us out on the strip to see Vasa II, the boat we had chartered from Nils Eriksson for the series - bright red, with, if possible, more gadgets on it than my own boat.

Met Nils Eriksson the next morning and undertook the ordeal of getting the boat measured in. Mast and boom O.K.; rudder a half-inch under. Nils started to make it grow (with epoxy). Hull 30 lb. too light. Don Bever produced some lead we could use; still 1 ½ lb. under. Threw in the trailer tie-downs and finally made it. We were the last boat in the water and just caught the tow to the first tune-up race - and wished we hadn't. It took an hour and a half to get out to the line, where I never saw such swells, 10 feet high and 100 feet from crest to crest. But the air was light, ten knots. The flag end was much too favored, causing many restarts. They finally got us off so late that the race was called after one lap. Long tow in - exhausting day. We got used to all this as the week progressed, but it took time. We went out for dinner with Ding Schoonmaker and John Colucci from our club in Miami. John was crewing with John Albrechtson, which meant that we quickly got to know all the Swedes, a great gang who always seemed to be having a good time.

Saturday. Put labels on all the cleats on the console. It took hours to find out what each line was doing, by following it up into the bow under the air bag! Again the tow left at 11 o'clock, and again the line was not square, causing repeated re-starts and re-adjustments. The Committee learned its lesson well during these tune-up races, because during the actual series the lines were long and very square and there were hardly any recalls. The race today did not get away until 3, and we quit and were towed in after one round. Even so, it was getting dark as we arrived at the clubhouse. The people who finished the race must still be out there . . .

Despite the short distance to the hotel, our wives had become tired of walking and rented a Volkswagen, which turned out to be an excellent addition for all the sightseeing. The annual meeting and flag raising were really very impressive to a newcomer. The boats were all in the water by 1 o'clock and all tied up in finger slips in front of the yacht club. Each one's name and home club were printed on a plaque on the dock. Each boat had two school-age boat boys in attendance, proudly wearing World's Championship shirts. The actual flag raising was accompanied by a full Navy band on a 100-foot yacht across the anchorage. The series officials had received definite instructions from Washington that it would not do to display an East German flag. The East German sailors had made it plain that they would not come to the series if they were to be discriminated against. It has always been Star Class policy to avoid international political involvement, and so embarrassment was avoided by flying no national flag except that of the host nation. At the ceremonies, the San Diego Yacht Club burgee was hoisted, followed by the flags of the three Commodores, the flag of the I.S.C.Y.R.A., and the San Diego 200th Anniversary flag.

First Race
Off on the long tow again at 11 a.m. Each tow was made up on a line 150 feet long into, which were spliced loops that the Stars tied into. The towing fleet consisted of some of the finest yachts I have ever seen. The starting line was far out at sea, in clear air and beyond the kelp beds. One re-start, and then we were off on a good long line. The boats on the left (seaward) side of the Course soon seemed to be doing the best, so we worked out that way. The first boat around was Foster Clarke's, from Nassau. He must have felt at home with these big swells. Alan Holt, I think by going farther out to sea the second time up, passed him to win the race. Starting up the last beat of the Olympic course we were about 11th when suddenly the boat went dead. The mast seemed to be taking peculiar curves, so we changed things around but never could get it right, dropping to 20th. After the race we discovered that the mast had slipped back five inches in the step . . . . No wonder. Towed home through the kelp beds, which are really amazing. The Stuff looks as if it might jump up and eat you any minute.

Second Race
We breakfasted with Bill Lyon and Buck Halperin, here to serve on the race committee. Left the harbor on the tow in dense fog, which we were told would burn off by noon. The sun was 15 minutes late, popping out at 12.15 as if someone had just switched it on. On another Olympic course, we elected to go as far left as possible and rounded the first mark sixth, among Schoonmaker, Blackaller, Holt and North. Pelle Pettersson, always near the top, was never quite leading.

The second time up we passed boat after boat, mostly by taking the port tack, until finally we had the lead, so excited we nearly fell out of the boat. On the last hitch to the mark we had to decide whether to cover Holt or Schoonmaker, who split. Holt seemed to be going slightly faster, and besides he went out to our favorite left side, so we went there with him - wrong. A header coming back to the mark put Ding and Tom Blackaller both ahead of us, where they stayed, and we finished third, happy to win our first gold chevron.

The girls were all smiles when we hit the dock and headed for a cocktail party given by the Swedish delegation for the entire crowd. It was a great occasion, the kind of thing that makes you feel that the effort of coming so far was well worth it after all. This is what it is all about getting to know and appreciate people from all over the world. They had a huge supply of native food and drinks that they had brought with them, everything from herring in sour cream to Schnapps.

At the end of the series the Swedes had travel brochures from home all ready to hand out at the final banquet. A few people thought, "They must have known they were going to win." Of course they didn't know, but with five of their absolutely top skippers competing, they could hope, couldn't they? Besides, they had a double chance. If any of the four San Diego entries, all very fine skippers, had won the event, it would have gone to Sweden on points anyway. In this light, it was nice to have them win it outright.

Third Race
Worst race so far, much fog, wind went fickle five minutes after the start, and it was a dice game from there on in. At the end of the last run, before the final beat to the finish, we were 37th, Schoonmaker 38th, Holt 39th. The three of us sailed in to the right hand (inshore) lay line. Holt got something no one else did, and finished fourth! Schoonmaker picked up part of it, for a seventh: we seemed to get nothing out of it, except we did pick up 16 places for a 21st.

Holt, with a 1-4-4 so far, won the Vanderveer Trophy, presented that night at the midweek party. All the wives had worked on this dinner party, outdoors, Hawaiian type food, a rock band, and a one act show put on by Kay North, Sue Raffee, Chatter Burnham and Sally Bennett, who sang Star songs made up for the occasion that were the hit of the week. We needed a rest day after that evening.

Rest day
A chance to visit some of the sights, Coronado, Point Loma lookout, and the famous San Diego Zoo, formerly under the supervision of Gold Star winner Milton Wegeforth's father. At the yacht Club they conducted "swing tests" on some of the boats to find out which had the lightest ends. This is done by suspending the boat on the hoist from a central point (it requires a specially constructed holder) with the rig out. The boat is then given an oscillatory (see-saw) motion, and of two boats that weigh the same, the one with the lighter ends oscillates with the shorter period. The Sune Carlson wood boats and the Lippincott glass boats turned out to be lightest in the ends, among those at the series.

Fourth Race
Another misty, miserable day. We thought they might not start the race in such light air, but they did. To get out of a bad jam on the line we flipped to port- the wrong thing to do. After two minutes we were virtually out of the race. Gene Corley got a perfect start at the flag end, stayed on starboard, and led all the way to win, Buddy Friedrichs second. Pelle Petterson always managed to improve on the second lap and never had a bad race, although he won only the last one. This race had the worst fog of all. Half way between the marks you couldn't see the one ahead or the one astern. But the race committee did a great job of keeping everybody going, with very visible masted stake boats.

Last Race
Even at breakfast time the breeze looked better. My crew Bill Beeman and I decided that, no matter what, we would start at the flag end and go out to sea. That left side of the course seemed to pay off most of the time. But nobody knew it; all had to find out as we went along, even the locals, who never race that far out. On the Coronado Course the opposite is true. We got our start, a perfect one at the flag end, with only North ahead of us - and he was recalled. He spun the boat around the mark, restarted, and was immediately back in the race. We were never crossed on the beat, trying always not to let anybody get out to the left of us. Every time we came in we looked better. As we approached the weather mark, Pete Bennett crossed under us, went out a little farther to sea than we did, and we rounded overlapped, with North just astern. But those two, with their "horse-collar" vangs set before they even reached the mark, just left us in the dust at the start of the reach. At the jibing mark we caught a wave to get inside North, and rounded both that mark and the leeward mark on Bennett's transom. We started upwind, only to find the pin gone from the outhaul. Gloom! Impossible to fix it. After trying for a minute I tied it off with the sail a foot short of the end of the boom. It's amazing how fast you drop back in that kind of competition. The next time I had a chance to look, the lead boats were on the horizon. We lost 13 boats on that beat. Luckily for us it was not Olympic today and there was no more windward work after that.
Pelle came from behind again, having a big battle with Blackaller. Tom had to put a boat between them to win. Pelle was ahead of Tom most of the time, but they were very close. On the last run home, Pelle sailed slightly high to cover Tom, and it turned out to be good; Buchan sailed the rhumb line, and that was good too; and Petterson and Buchan crossed together in a dead heat for first and a clean series will for the Swede.

Of course Pelle and Ulf wanted to be towed in by the boat that carried their wives, but other official arrangements had been made for the winners. He who becomes a public figure has to sacrifice some of his privacy! But some kind soul put their wives aboard the official towboat with a bottle of champagne, which they managed to pour all over themselves and the deck. After everyone else was in, the victors arrived in the harbor escorted by a fireboat with three hoses shooting water high in the air. All the official boats were in the parade with full bunting flying and cannons going off. Everyone on the dock was clapping and cheering and quite overcome with emotion. They tied up right in front of the Clubhouse, and their countrymen jumped aboard and gave them bear hugs and then the lot of them went into the water together. At that moment everyone would have agreed that this championship is the greatest thing you could achieve in life.

The trophies were presented at the cocktail party before the final banquet, out on the club balcony. As Pelle was called up, a sail went up on a Star anchored just behind the trophies, with his number and a Gold Star on the sail- the ultimate dramatic touch. Pelle and Ulf were asked to lower the Star class flag until they would be the ones to raise it again, twelve months and half a world away.