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Forty Years Among the Stars - Epilogue


Forty Years Among the Stars

by

Commodore George W. Elder

EPILOGUE

Pop Corry once said, "George, some day you'll be the old man of the Star Class." That was long ago, but he was prophetic. It's incredible how the years roll by. He is gone and I am serving my sixth term as commodore and understand that I have been nominated for a seventh. No one can ever fill Pop's shoes, so I am tackling the job from a different angle, which I hope may prove helpful.

I have been re-appointed to the judiciary board for another three years, still being chairman because of my seniority. I have lost my key man, Stan Ogilvy, who was elected executive vice president. My two associates are now Ted Clark and Owen Torry. I also have a most able alternate in Howard Walden. We do not have as many appeals and requests for interpretations as in the past. It's spasmodic, but important work, which is not very exacting. To be qualified, however, one must have a thorough knowledge of Star rules, their intent and purpose. Most appeals are the result of some words that are accidentally missing, or which were left in, due to an oversight, and never brought into accord with some more recent and basic amendment. Hence the appeals we do get are complicated.

Once again I have been named on the seven man U.S. Olympic yachting committee, in charge of Stars. It only involves a few months of concentrated work every fourth year. My real job in connection with the Olympics has been of an underground character. Most members think the Star has been automatically placed on the program each time, but that is not so. There have been powerful interests opposed to us and few realize by what a narrow squeak the Star has finally been put on the Olympic program at the very last moment. It has meant many very lengthy letters to establish contact with influential persons in various countries and to explain to them, usually through a third party how they should vote and why. All that, I believe, is behind us. I am happy to say that the Star is included for the 1956 Olympics in Australia. It should be, since of all yachting classes, it comes the nearest to conforming with Olympic principles.

I am now officially retired and have a house at Bellport. It's a little country town on the south shore of Long Island, about thirty miles east of where I spent most of my boyhood. I say officially retired, because actually I am helping my wife run a tiny store in the village, which is only a couple of hundred yards from our home. Most of the customers are of the fair sex. I can just picture myself saying, "Stow the gab kiddo and buy that red blouse, it'll look damn good on you." So I am kept in a back office and take care of the buying and the books. Between ourselves it's the hardest job I ever had.

I am thankful that we no longer live in the city. Out here one knows one's next door neighbor and, after the summer folks leave, everyone you pass on the street. They are friendly people, who speak my language. I could no longer stand the hustle and bustle of the city. It's no longer the little old New York I once knew. For all of me they can give it back to the Indians. I go there on a buying trip a couple of times a year and stay as few hours as possible. For example, on my last trip a wholesaler said to me, "I can tell that you are not a native New Yorker by the way you speak." That got my goat, so I replied, "Not only was I born on Manhattan Island, but so were all my forefathers back to the days when it was called New Amsterdam. The trouble with you, my boy, is that you probably never spoke to a genuine New Yorker before."

We have a fair sized and active Star fleet, with headquarters at a small yacht club three blocks from my house. I do not go there very often. I do not intend to race again, because I know that I would get the hell walloped out of me. Star skippers improve every year and I have been inactive since 1948. If I were a younger man I would practice what I preach, but I could never hope to catch up now. Unlike Pop Corry, I am not interested in just sailing for the fresh air. I get plenty of that anyway and besides I am too busy Saturdays and believe me I need the rest on Sundays. Although asked, local race committee work is out. Judiciary board members are ineligible. It's a good rule, because even if excused from voting, the very fact that a J.B. member was on an R.C., whose decision was appealed, would influence the others on the J.B.

All I do now is mostly by mail. I still hear from a few old timers, but their letters are becoming few and far between. It's to be expected. Time marches on. I have lived to see my dreams of 1918 come true and am content. Harold Halsted is building a house here. Ted Everitt and Reeve Bowden live here. It seems that this joint is rapidly becoming an approved spot for putting aged ex-officials of the Star class out to pasture.

If other organizations could only develop the international comradeship of the Star class, this troubled world would be a more peaceful place to live. As Stan once wrote in Starlights, "The first forty years are the hardest." The foundation has been laid. The most important thing for those at the helm to do from now on is to keep the I.S.C.Y.R.A. out of club or national politics and the Star class will rise to undreamed of magnitude. Why the surface as yet has not even been scratched. Star development on four continents is still in its infancy. There are plenty of localities in Europe and North America left where successful fleets can be developed, but those in power must keep right on pitching. I devoted the greater part of my life to the Star class. It's in just as capable hands now and I know it will continue to be - all power to its continued growth and success.








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