Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT /

Walter von Hutschler, Profiles of Star Champions

Walter von Hütschler (Starlights, April, 1969)

Walter von Hütschler introduced himself to a startled Star world by winning four straight races of the World's Championship on Long Island Sound against 35 other entries in 1937. He did not take the Gold Star home that year because, in the opening race, with rigging trouble his Pimm limped in twenty-second. But returning the following year he won the series in San Diego, and then repeated that victory at the first Kiel series in 1939 on the eve of World War II.

Walter deserves the major part of the credit for the idea of using far lighter and more sensitive spars, with sails to match, than had ever been thought possible in Stars or indeed any other boat of comparable size. He took the Class by storm in 1937. During the next two years his "flexible rig" became standard; even then, however, he maintained a superiority in helmsmanship and know-how that permitted him to take five of the ten daily first places in the two World's Championships that he won.

He moved from Germany to Brazil during the war, has raced successfully there ever since in a succession of Pimms, and has competed eight more times in World's Championships.

In 1960 his cumulative point score took the World's to Rio de Janeiro for South America's only Gold Star series. He won the VII District Championship in 1964 and is currently Brazilian National Champion.

Racing has been von Hütschler's life. During the early years he kept detailed records of all his races. These had to be left behind in Germany and were lost during the war, but Walter claims that it didn't really matter: "I remembered so well every race I ever sailed that I didn't need records." The intensity with which he concentrated on the game in those early years is pointed up by his attention to detail on the Pimm.

"If I thought a cleat might be handier in a slightly different position I would move it, even if only a couple of inches. If that didn't suit, I moved it back again." His arch rival for many years in European and World's Championships was Agostino Straulino, the great Italian ace who has three Gold Stars to his credit. "I studied Straulino's methods and techniques until I could read his mind. I knew before he did whence was going to tack, and why."

Walter von Hütschler has always been one of the Star Class's staunchest supporters. The best interests of the Class are a primary concern to him. He has held the office of Rear Commodore for the past eighteen years. His business travels allow him to visit the Star office in New York at least once a year, where we welcome his cheerful smile and his never flagging zest for living. He likes to time his European visits to coincide with Kiel Week, and any year may find this expert, no longer young but as keen as ever, racing, often in a brand new Pimm, on the windy Kieler Fjord which is still his favorite sailing ground.

walter von hustchler