Dedication to the Isaac E. Smith Boatyard
Builder of the first 22 Starboats in 1911
Port Washington, Long Island, New York, USA
By Elliott Oldak
On Saturday October 16, 2004 the Nautical Center of the Port Washington Public Library held a dedication to the first 22 Starboats on the exact spot where they were built in 1911. Isaac E. Smith’s boatyard was on Manhasset Bay near the intersection of Mill Pond Road and Shore Road.
With the Star Class Centennial Celebration soon approaching the Town of Port Washington wanted the success of the Star to be remembered. They presented to the public a Starboat keel permanently mounted in the now public town park, where Smith’s Boatyard once stood.
Stretch Ryder, local sailor and former America’s Cup Crewman (Courageous ’77) and past Star Crew for Frank Zagarino, was instrumental in seeing this project to completion. As Chairperson of the Nautical Center, he and Duke Dayton, a venerable sailing historian and a former Crew of Adrian Iselin’s on “Ace” #202, persisted until the Star Keel Monument became a reality. Duke located the Keel, which came from “Spitfire”, originally owned by Paul Shields, Corny Shield’s Brother.
Thirty Towns-people attended the Ceremony, which included such dignitaries as Ed du Moulin, a most highly respected Yachtsman and America’s Cup “Hall of Fame” Member and the town Mayor, and Commodores from the Manhasset Bay and Port Washington Yacht Clubs.
Having grown up in Port Washington, one could sense there was a strong Star Class heritage. I can remember, while in high school, going down to Purdy’s Shipyard which built 32 Stars in the 1930’s to admire Adrian Iselin’s “Ace”, stored there by his estate until Mystic Seaport Museum acquired the boat years later. Also, the bow, transom and tiller from George “Pop” Corey’s “Little Dipper” Star # 1 is on display in the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club reading room. But, unfortunately the Star has not been actively raced here since World War II.
Racing Stars in Annapolis since the early 1980’s, I was very surprised and honored to be included in the Star Keel unveiling ceremony. Also included in the dedication was Steve Andrews, a veteran Huntington Bay Fleet Star Sailor.
To quote Alan Dinn, author of “Boats by Purdy”, “I think this is a wonderful addition to Port Washington to have something that ties nautical history in a visual way and brings home what this town meant to the nautical history of the whole Country, and the world. When you look at the Star Class, that’s a boat that is still raced internationally, one of the most successful classes in history, and this is exactly where it was born.”