Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT /

Paul Hurlburt Smart, Profiles of Star Champions

Paul Hurlburt Smart (Starlights, February, 1969)

Widely traveled, holder of important Olympic offices, well known to the yachting communities of the world, Commodore Paul H. Smart is perhaps our oldest and best known officer. Executive President of the I.S.C.Y.R.A. from 1953 to 1965 and our Commodore since then, he, probably more than any other man, is considered to be "Mr. Star Boat" by sailors everywhere.

Not many can point to forty years of enthusiastic participation in Star racing and Class activities.

During the winter of 1928-29, as the first commodore of the newly founded Noroton Yacht Club, he bought six second hand Stars at $500 each, five of which were then drawn for by lot and sold at the same price to other club members. The Central Long Island Sound Fleet had been in existence for six years, unknown to the Noroton skippers who were racing in its waters. At the end of the 1929 season along came a sizzling letter from the late President George W. Elder, who was never one to mince words. Elder dwelt at some length on the follies of racing Stars without joining the nearest fleet or forming a new one.

Commodore Smart replied with an even sharper letter to the effect that the Noroton group had never heard of any Star Association and would continue to race how and where they jolly well pleased. The feathers ruffled by this unpromising beginning were soon smoothed down and the Noroton crowd, which grew to number 32 Stars before World War II, formed an important part of the Central Long Island Sound Fleet. It was during this period that the Arms White Series, which has remained an important annual fixture, was inaugurated at the Noroton Yacht Club.

Paul Smart became First District Secretary and a member of the Governing Committee in 1938 and has been a major officer of the Class ever since. He has owned seven Stars and the Ten?Metre Hilaria. He raced in eleven World's Championships, six times as skipper and five times as crew, and holds two gold chevrons. He skippered in the Midwinter Silver Star event at Havana 17 times, and sailed in five North American Championships as skipper or crew. He has chaired the International Race Committee of six World's Championships, including those of 1966 and 1967.

In 1948, as crew with his son Hilary, he won the gold medal in the Olympic Games at Torquay, England. This was the start of a long Olympic career. In 1952 he was an alternate on the United States sailing team, and in 1968 its manager. A member of the U.S. Olympic Yachting Committee since 1956, he was elected its chairman in 1964, and is a director of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Executive Director of U.S Olympians, a national organization of all Olympic sportsmen. Retired for some years from his law practice in New York City, he now devotes much of his time to his family, his spacious hilltop home in Connecticut, and to travel that is nearly always connected in some way with major yachting events.

On the occasion of his retirement from the Class Presidency four years ago the G.C. passed the following resolution: "The members of the Governing Committee wish to express their deep appreciation and sincere thanks for all that Paul Hurlburt Smart has done for the Star Class during his twelve years as its Executive President. The welfare of the I.S.C.Y.R A has always been uppermost in his thoughts, and in recent years most of his waking hours have been devoted to its cause. His balanced judgment based on long experience has been of inestimable value on numberless occasions. Throughout the Class and indeed everywhere in the world of yachting his name is held in the highest esteem. We are most fortunate that his retirement is far from total, and that, as our Commodore he will maintain the contacts and extend the activities that hair already contributed so much to the continuing health anti growth of the Star Class."

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