Star Centennial Report #1
The Star Centennial regatta got underway in earnest today. The Larchmont Yacht Club which is still sorting itself out after Hurricane Irene flooded the lawn, swimming pool and dry storage area, made us feel welcome as they took in our boats and registered our sailors. We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day as the Star family gathered. Old friends and fellow competitors reunited and many stories were told. As Stars filled up the storage throughout the day, masts were stepped, rigging replaced, hulls being polished, there was even some major surgery being performed on a bow stem fitting. It was great to see the beautiful old Woodies , with their proud owners preparing them! There are quite a few Classic Plastic Stars as well. I spent a bit of time helping the LYC crew position boats and can tell you I am not a fan of old trailers!
The Opening Ceremony was held on Larchmont’s picturesque front deck and lawn. Regatta Chair, Cynthia Parthemos, who in an emotional speech told us of LYC desire to host this event since the idea was first proposed to her by Thierry de La Villehuchet five years ago. To make the opening official we were then treated to the traditional sun down lowering of the flag and cannon blast.
Bill Allen then welcomed some of the owners of the Wood Stars to tell us about the boats they brought, and how they came to have them. The stories of Stars found in barns, the finding of some ones first Star and subsequent restoration many years later, or the Star that has always been in the family and passed down since it was new. As these tales were told a red moon rose over the harbor, casting it’s spell on all of us. The Star is now 100 years old, it is woven into the fabric of our lives, we are here to celebrate this love affair with a sailboat, I feel very lucky to be part of it!
Star Centennial Report #2
Racing began today for the Wood Stars of which there were 9, and we have 13 Classic Stars under hull #7300. With light breeze and sunny skies it was looking like a perfect day for sailing an old Star, the eager sailors made their way out into Long Island Sound where there was less breeze than in the harbor, The Race Committee started the Classic Stars first and the Wooden Stars second, the conditions were light so the crews were in the boat or hiking to leeward.
The wooden fleet was a bit more spread out, it was pretty obvious that newer boats and aluminum masts were faster. 4748, 4125 and 5050 had a good battle going up front with Donald/McCallum aboard 4748 “Hope” coming out on top. In second was Andy Ivey in 4125 and Parfet/Murphy taking 3rd on 5050 “Toss Up”.
The R/C got another start off, but the wind died so they called the Classics back before the Woodies even started. The postponement lasted about an hour. On shore boats continued to arrive and old friends reunited. There is a joyous spirit at this event, from your initial reception when you arrive on Larchmont Yacht Club’s beautiful grounds to the happy faces at the registration desk. LYC is an old time club and the staff is agreeable to most requests. Be sure to take off your hats and turn your cell phones off when in the clubhouse. Also you must wear a collared shirt in the dining areas, but not required in the bar where you can also eat.
The breeze filled in from the south east at 10-12 knots providing perfect Star conditions for the second race. As the race progressed crews could droop hike. 7042 “Unplugged” finished first this time, 7088 was second, and Phypers/Koopman on 7265 “More Pressure” got what the boat name is asking for to place 3rd. In the Wood Stars Ivey held on to the lead throughout the race, with “Hope” finishing 2nd,, and 5050 taking another 3rd place finish.
For Elliot Oldak/Chris Hardin the day came to an abrupt end when a failure caused the wood mast on 3855 to break while going to weather. They were doing well in that race and had already finished a very respectable 5th in the previous race.
All was good back onshore, a keg of beer magically appeared in the boat storage area and the party was on! Everyone was swapping stories and looking at each other’s boats while the yard crew helped hoist the Stars out and put them away for the night.
Star Centennial Report #3
We awaken on Day three with an ominous weather report. The cold front is due to arrive around 1100 and a thick band of showers with it. The breeze should get up into the 30’s with its passing. PRO Butch Ulmer discusses with the Class Race Manager the thoughts for the day—we will run what we can with safety as the focus.
It is a light north westerly taking the boats away from shore; they are so beautiful as they glide through the maze of moorings. Watching the boats sail to the start felt as comfortable and cozy as enjoying a cup of hot chocolate sitting by the campfire. Huge smiles from all of the crews going to the race course for another day of competition. I thought “We should do this more often with the Woodies and Classics. These boats are from the era where the competition was stiff and the parties and camaraderie was foremost. We need to get some of this back!”
All of the boats have left the dock but the energy was still high on shore. More of the Modern era boats are arriving by the hour. Hardy hand shakes and manly hugs for friends not seen in years.
On the race course the clouds were still threatening a storm but all they really did was suck all the good wind away. The two blue boats (Donald-4125 and Ivey-4748) start the day with a tie. Game faces on the go at it on the course. In the end Andy Ivey and Mike Nichol wins the third and final race of the Wooden Boat series followed by Keith Donald and Carroll Beek McCallum in second and Don Parfet sailing with Pat Murphy in third.
The Classics had a lively third race with Bob Krahulik and Chris Rogers in first followed by Josh Phypers and Fritz Koopman and Bill Culberson sailing with John Marshall rounding out the top three. PRO Butch Ulmer tried to get a fourth race off for the Classics only to be abandoned.
Back at the dock amidst the occasional sprinkles the another keg was tapped. Members of the International Jury were seen hand delivering libations to the competitors. The boat park is once again bustling with stories of the day.
Trophies were at 1700 with a special thank you to the Greenwood Lake Star Fleet for sponsoring the kegs each night as well as the hor's doerves during awards.
Star Centennial Report #4
Friday morning we awoke to clear skies on the backside of yesterday’s front, the air was cool and crisp, with the promise of good north winds. The boat park was buzzing with activity, the last minute arrivals were scrambling to get their boats ready. The race committee was discussing how they were going to handle the 78 boat fleet to be able to get two races in before the big party.
For the second race the conditions did not stabilize, in fact there wind came and went in bigger swings than the first race. After a long wait getting the course set up the R/C got under way, the entire fleet was over the line long before the start and they signaled a general recall. On the next attempt it was black flag time and there was another general recall, the R/C put 9 bow numbers up on the board, so now we were down to 70 boats. They got the start off this time but there would be a bunch more bow numbers up on the board at the weather mark. Unfortunately Macausland/Raynor were among those send home. This time up the leaders came from the right side, with second place finishers of race 1, Mendleblatt/Fatih having a huge lead. The wind strength was up and down so were the crews! On the last downwind leg the wind died completely and the fleet caught the leader, the as if it was not bad enough the Jury yellow flagged him and he had to do turns. In the end he managed to fight his was back into the lead on the final run to the finish to come out of the day with 3 points!
Star Centennial Report # 5
Saturday morning looking out on Long Island Sound from Larchmont Yacht Club we had waves and whitecaps churned up by an easterly that had built throughout the early morning hours. Winds of 12 knots with gusts to 20 knots, it was looking like the older Stars and sailors were in for a workout! Once again the R/C got the first race of the day off on the first try. Reynolds/Haenel, sailing 7592, their 1992 Gold Medal Star, took the pin end and was able to tack right away and cross the fleet. The Stars were chopping their way through the 3 foot seas and against the incoming current. It was not Lake LIS any more, was this now the LIS Sea? The best part being downwind where surfing wave after wave down the long run is so much fun! Mendleblatt/Fatih opened up a huge lead and easily took the win.
For the second race the wind had lightened a bit. The R/C showed some mercy by putting up course 4. At the pin end it was crowded this time, even so Reynolds/Haenel managed to repeat their previous start. Out of the right came Anosov/Ceaser with a big lead at the weather mark. The wind had lightened to the point where surfing conditions no longer existed. On the next beat the breeze continued to lighten and the right side of the course was the place to be as the waves began to subside. We were now slogging through the water and there were many holes in the wind to avoid. On the final run to the finish as the wind was dying down to nothing, Mendleblatt/Fatih managed to pass the leader to win the second race too!
After putting the boat away it was time to warm up with a hot shower. Another keg was tapped as the sailors gathered around to swap stories about the race.
Star Centennial Report # 6
The last day of the Centennial Celebration arrived with a roar. As we headed out of Larchmont’s protected harbor we were met by an 18 knot easterly and the strongest seas we had seen here! It is the kind of condition that challenges your abilities and is so much fun to be out on a Star in.
The start time had been moved up to 10 am, the fleet has shrunk to 60 boats as some skippers opted out of the beating to remain ashore to leisurely pack up their boat. Principal Race Officer, Butch Ullmer made a great call by setting course 1, it has a reach on the first lap and downwind finish, a perfect choice. Being on a planing reach was awesome, putting together multiple surfing waves in a row gives you exciting passing opportunities. Once again Mendleblatt/Fatih schooled the fleet and won the race going away. Getting his first daily of the regatta with a 2nd place finish was the Australian team of Beashel/Giles who came all the way from Sydney to sail this event aboard 7828, the boat that they won the 1998 Worlds and 1996 Bronze Medal with. Finishing out the top three was Anosov/Caesar aboard 8000 which was Harry Walker’s last “Bingo”.
To wrap up the racing the R/C ran another course 1, Mendleblatt/Fatih elected to stay out and race even though they had already put the title away. The conditions remained the same and a few more battered teams headed for the hoist. Jud Smith, sailing 8177 with David Timberlake, who he recruited last week at his local beer can races, had jumped out to a big lead at the weather mark. Once again it was a blast reaching back to the bottom, the waves had built even more and the wind showed no signs of letting up. I along with many of my fellow over the hill crews (who probably won’t admit to it) did a little celebrating of our own at the final weather mark. All that was left was a surfing run to the finish line. Mendleblatt/Fatih managed to run down Smith and got the gun, but then the gun sounded again and again as the R/C saluted each and every finisher of the final race! This was the coolest thing I had ever seen a Race Committee do!
Getting back to shore the boat park was full of smiles as the boats were hoisted out and put away. In the Pandemonium (LYC’s party space) Trophies were handed out by Barbara Vosbury to a multitude of competitors including the top 3 overall, the top 3 in three masters divisions (50-60, 60-70, and 70+), the top three women sailors, the top three junior skippers, and the top classic and wood Stars. I am sure that Stan Oglivy was looking down from the heavens on this event, along with all the other departed Star family members, and they were very pleased to see our Star is still shining after 100 years!
There were 8 Gold Star winners there. A really cool thing was Colin Beashel and David Giles sailing the boat in which they won their 1998 Gold Star at Portoroz. Mark Reynolds and Hal Haenal sailed the same boat in which they won their 1992 Gold Medals at Barcelona! Even though they were sailing a new boat it was doubly fun to have the Buchans sailing together. They each have a Gold Star as well as a Gold Medal.