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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49 

Update on Stars Racing in Sydney, Australia (It's been 40 years!)
By Andrew Palfrey
Oct 30, 2009, 09:18

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The activities of a newly formed Star fleet in Pittwater, Sydney, Australia, are starting up.

So far I have been privileged to be able to sail in the Star class with Iain Murray for eight years. This has included many championships across several countries, seven World Championships in great ports and an Olympic Games. My prime motivation for being involved in the Pittwater Star Fleet is to endeavour to give a little bit back to a class and a boat that has been so rewarding to me in many areas. Maybe I can help to introduce some new people to the magic of the Star? Who knows? I hope you enjoykeeping abreast of our new fleet's activities.

Big names to compete at the first Pittwater Star event
December 5th and 6th, 2009 sees Royal Prince Alfred YC host the first event of the newly formed Pittwater Star Fleet. Competitors will include 2006 Star World Champion, Hamish Pepper of New Zealand and his crew Craig Monk. Hamish and Craig also placed a close second at the recent 2009 Worlds in Sweden. Also in attendance will be six time Olympian and 1998 star World Champion, Colin Beashel and 2008 Olympians Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey. Chris Nicholson, the Australian Olympic 49er class representative from the 2004 and 2008 games is also expected to race, in what will be his debut in the Star class.

In addition to this, the fleet contains two father-son teams: Joe and Rob McMillan and Tom and Peter Burton. One interesting thing about both teams is that both of the sons are the helmsmen. Joe McMillan is only 15, but he is one of the standout talents in the Laser class. Tom Burton is a member of the Australian Sailing Development Squad and is a former Australian Youth Champion in the Laser class. At a time that Club's are promoting sailing as a family activity and a low entry cost sport, the Star class fits the bill perfectly.

In all, we hope to have in excess of eight Stars racing, which will be the biggest number of Stars racing in Australia for decades.

New boats to the fleet!
Both Rob McMillan and Rob Fielding have purchased Folli Star boats from the USA. This is wonderful news for our fleet, as we strive to grow. The new arrivals are hull numbers 7942 for Rob Fielding and 7982 for Rob McMillan. Both boats were built at Folli in the late 1990's, which was a great vintage for Folli Stars. For both of the "Robs", these are their second boats. This shows an amazing level of commitment to building the fleet. 7942 and 7982 are expected to arrive in Australia any day now.

First Pittwater Fleet meeting.
During September, the Pittwater Star Fleet held it's inaugural meeting. the following office bearers were elected
Fleet Captain: Andrew palfrey
Fleet Secretary: Rob Fielding

Regatta Report of March 31, 2009:
It has been many years since the Star class has raced in Australia with any regularity.

MArch 31, 2009 saw 5 boats race in the Pittwater Regatta (itself an event that goes back 100 years). We had three races under clear skies in a light and fickle easterly. Perfect Star weather. The fleet included Gold Medallist, Nathan Wilmot and Star Olympians Iain Murray and myself. Quietly spectating was six-time Olympian and Bronze
medallist, Colin Beashel. Other skippers were talented young sailors Tom Burton, Josh Chant and Joe McMillan.

Whilst rigging the boat on the hardstand at RPAYC last week, I lost count of the amount of old-timers saying that they used to sail Stars on Pittwater or remembered their dad racing Stars etc etc.

We all had a great time sailing this wonderful class of boat and talking about it later in the Prince Alfred YC bar. For the Big Fella and I it was very unique to sail at "home" on Pittwater with other Stars around. For seven years, we spent many hours training solo.

There is actually a Pittwater Star Fleet still listed in the Star class yearbook. We need to take steps to re-register it as "active".

The resurgence in the Pittwater fleet has come about through the enthusiasm for Star Boats by Peter Burton (Star number 7836), Rob Feilding (7867) and Rob McMillan (7097). Peter and Rob purchased their boats from the stable of Iain Murray last year and took delivery from Iain and myself after the Olympics. Rob imported his boat from Europe.
Other boats currently at Pittwater are 7800 (Simon Reffold), 8315 (Australian Sailing Team) and 7221 (Josh Whitaker and Paul Montague). There are some old, competitive boats around the country and Iain also has a couple of newer model Lillias in storage up at Newcastle.

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