Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT /

Duarte Bello, Profiles of Star Champions

Commodore Duarte Bello (Starlights, February, 1970)
Duarte Bello, Vice Commodore of the Star Class for fifteen years, has been for an even longer time one of the best known Star sailors in Europe and in the world. Born in Mozambique, he came to Lisbon at the age of seven and has lived all his life in Portugal, a life centered around sailing and Stars. In 1943, when he was 22, he married a girl belonging to a family of sailors, whom he had met on her father's yacht. Their first son was born on the eve of the 1948 World's Championship. A second son, Duarte Junior, is now his father's regular crew. The third son arrived during the sailing of the European Silver Star Championship at Cascais in 1954, and Duarte promptly celebrated the event by taking second in the series. Then came a daughter, born during the 1956 Olympic eliminations, and finally another son, Fernando, named for Duarte's brother and long time crew, born while Duarte was in Havana for the World's Championship in 1957.

A sailor from the age of ten, he began his long string of racing victories by winning national junior championships in dinghies and 12 sq.m. Sharpies. In 1941 he won the first Portuguese Championship of the Star Class in a six year old second hand boat. A technical engineer by training, he has had a hand in the building of all his subsequent Stars, and some of them he built entirely himself. Having designed his own fittings, in 1956 he started a small fitting shop which has been increasing its scope and output ever since. He is the originator of many Star innovations, among them a line of stainless steel tracks and fittings, a stainless steel open winch, the famous Bello Bailer and Bello Outhaul, a circular boom vang track (17 years ago!), opening jib reaching leads, and halyard tubes with locks. He has been a member of our Technical Committee since its inception.

He has owned and sailed five Stars, and his record with them reads like a European yachting encyclopedia. His major wins include eight Championships of Portugal, a Blue Star, a Silver Star for the Championship of Europe and six series seconds in that event, in which he has competed 14 times. He has also sailed in 14 World's Championships in an parts of the globe, and although never quite a Gold Star winner, he was runner-up in Naples in 1953 and again in 1962 at Cascais. He has represented his country five times in Olympic Games, twice in Stars; and in 1948 he won the silver medal in the Swallow Class.

He has been involved in a long litigation in connection with the electric railway of which he is general manager, but that has finally been cleared away, allowing him to turn his energies again to the designing and racing that are his absorbing hobby. He writes that an his spare hours have lately been occupied in developing a new ball bearing block and a new super-winch with handle both above and below the deck.

We hope and expect to have "Mr. Star Boat of Portugal," with his genial smile and ever-present cigar, finishing among the leaders as usual in at least the next 14 World's Championships.

duarte bello