The Star is one of the most
prolific keelboats in the world for a reason: it is an incredible boat
to sail. Designed in 1911 by Francis Sweisguth, it has proven to be a
classic in every sense. It is the oldest Olympic class, having first
been used in competition in 1932, and still at the heart of that
competition today. Supported by a worldwide association the Star as a
class is one of the best organized in sailing, with over 7,500 yachts
built over its 80 year history, and 2000-plus actively racing today.
The Star has evolved into
the consummate craft for all ranges of competition and performance
sailing: its equipment and rig is simple enough for the novice, yet
versatile enough for those on the forefront of sailing. It's large,
powerful sailplan, combined with a sleek hull and light weight, propel
the boat in the faintest of airs, while the flexible spar can be tuned
to "de-power" when the breeze kicks up. The large main is infinitely
adjustable, allowing the sailor to completely control the driving
surface of the sail. Boats today are generally constructed of
fiberglass, with positive flotation and an integrated keel. The design,
sails, and equipment of the Star are governed by stringent class rules,
created to improve competition on the basis of skill and control cost .
This has also served to help the longevity of the design, keeping older
boats competitive through careful evolution.
Stars are generally
"dry-sailed", that is, stored on their trailers when not in use, and
with a total weight around 1500 lbs, can easily be towed from place to
Many of the world's top
sailors past and present have been involved in the Star Class. It's
list of former World Champions reads like Who's Who of yachting: other
top sailors such as Colin Beashel, John Kostecki, Mats Johansson, Hans
Vogt, Benny Anderson, Rod Davis and Mark Reynolds are also involved in
the Star class. But the class is made up of a variety of sailors of all
ages and skill levels. One race on a Star has hooked some sailors for
life: they'll tell you: It's a thrill.
Star: Art and Machine
The Star has practiced a
philosophy of design evolution over its 80 year lifetime. Always
staying at the forefront of sailing technology, the Star maintains a
conservative balance aimed at keeping the level of competition high,
holding costs in check and preserving the initial spirit of this great
yacht. The priorities of safety and practicality have ruled most of the
changes made over the years. This control over development of the class
has kept boats that would have been retired at their age in other
classes racing well into their golden years. Some of the features that
can be found on today's Starboat are:
Adjustable Jib Leads
The four-way action of the deck-mounted jib leads allow you to carve
the shape of the sail, keeping a good shape to match changing
A simple harness allows the crew to get his or her weight out of the
boat more efficiently. Made legal by class rules in 1981, the vest must
be equipped with a quick-release to ensure safe exit in an emergency.
The vest eliminates alot of the exertion and gymnastics traditionally
associated with extended periods of hiking.
Developed by Star sailor Duarte Bello, sailors quickly discovered that
several strategically placed bailers can quickly and safely drain any
excess water in the cockpit Most Stars generally have 4, two in the
center of the cockpit, and two located near the chines.
Circular Boom Vang
Also developed by Duarte Bello for Stars, this innovation reached
popularity in the 1960's, having proven to be a safe and efficient way
to control the high loads of the long boom. This development later
spread to other classes, among the 12-meters of America's Cup fame.
The simple sailplan utilizes a whisker pole to sail wing-on-wing off
the wind, thus making the most of the generous sail area.
Class Sail Measurement
The ISCYRA measures every sail to ensure fair competition: the rules do
not allow the exotic materials that drive up cost and cut the lifetime
of other racing sails.