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1939 World Championship - Regatta Report


1939 World's Championshi
p - Kiel

Regatta Results
Report by Elizabeth Miller

Pimm Retains World's Championship
Elizabeth Miller, author of the 1939 World's Write-up
Photo: 1938 Star Class Log

The world of Stars again acknowledges with respect and affection that "Pimm" von Hütschler is still the top man. Known by hundreds of sailors in both hemispheres as one of the finest sportsmen in the Star Class, it can be said by all, that "Pimm" has earned his success, and well deserves it.

As a host he is equally successful, for those who came to Kiel found a bountiful reception, convenient quarters in the Olympiaheim, and people whose one wish was to leave nothing undone for the visitors. The German Navy gave her officers, services, an endless supply of cutters for the racecourse, and everything else they could think of that would add to the already overwhelming hospitality offered.

Stan Ogilvy and T.N. Fairbanks Jr. in Spirit, #1776 and Mario and Enrico Durcot in Gloriana II, #1614
Photo: 1940 Star Class Log

A naval interpreter translated official information from the Race Committee into four languages, and four countries were represented on the Committee: Commodore Corry from the United States of America, Rear Admiral Goetting and Captain Miller from Germany, Dr. Mario Perretti from Italy, and Captain Kerrison from England. The German Navy officiated as to the commanding of the cutters, course official boats, etc. As in former Championships in America, we have never been fortunate enough to attract the attention of the Navy to this extent, appreciation in full is expressed to the sportsmen of the Kiel Naval Base for their interest and valuable help.

The first race started off with a collision on the starting line, and when the smoke cleared away, we found Perseus, sailed by Oberleutnant Hissink, withdrawn, having been on the port tack. "Pimm" came home the winner after sailing with his usual faultless accuracy in the first defending race. Muggel, in spite of time lost in the starting mix-up with Perseus, was second, sailed by Dr. Peter Hanson of Kiel. Stanley Ogilvy, upheld in a foul at the windward stake, which disqualified Bellona, brought Spirit in third. Bem II from Holland broke her jib stay and Stockholm's Unn lost her rudder. Polluce from the Italian Navy, 1938 European Champion, was fourth and Scout II from California fifth. Wegeforth, not satisfied with her performance in Holland, moved Scout's keel just before the series began. In a windw'd loo'rd race with eighteen to twenty miles of wind this looked to be about the fastest collection of Stars possible.

The second race was a drifting match from the beginning and Straulino had Polluce in a nice lead when the time limit was called, with Scout II second. Hovering like a great shadow of sailing history over the racecourse was the beautiful square rigged training ship of the Kiel Naval Base. She was out every day throughout the series, and always in sight of the racecourse.

The third race was an unfortunate repetition of the second. The time limit ended the drifting match with Wegeforth in a seven-minute lead at the last stake, and Straulino, Ogilvy, and "Pimm" close behind. The first shadow of war fell over the racecourse on this day as Bem's crew, Henry Scholtz, was recalled for military duty. Maas sailed the remaining races with a substitute crew.

A World Championship Start at Kiel
Photo: 1940 Star Class Log

Thursday's double-header found the crowd restless, and deprived of a sail on the square rigged training ship, which had been planned for the rest day. A stiff eighteen mile wind started them off, re-sailing the second race, with another unfortunate collision on the starting line. Perseus gambled on a port tack, and although Oberleutnant Hissink did some beautiful sailing to come in first, he was disqualified. Polluce was second, with winner's points, followed closely by Scout, Hasjo, Grunau, and Pimm. There were three disqualifications in this race alone, all voted unanimously by the committee, several recalls, and two withdrawals from fouls. The fouls were, throughout the series, for championship caliber, flagrant and inexcusable. Gambling on chances, port tacks held too long, close tacking, and careless rounding of marks, made for too many faults for such an experienced field of sailors.

The third race re-sailed in the afternoon found Pimm in front, closely followed by Ogilvy in Spirit, Joachim Weise in Hasjo, Costore and Scout. This was the closest, most exciting finish of the series, and the sailing was much improved, with no fouls. The sails on Scout were exceptionally good, and caused much comment from the spectators. The European sails have not yet successfully developed the large roach now prevalent in America.

The electricity of war atmosphere fell on the Olympiaheim Thursday night. While for two days discussion had been strong, the condition crystallized when the Holland, French, and British contestants, and later the Americans, received notices from their Consulates to return to their countries as soon as possible. A double header was again in order Friday, if the series was to be finished at all. Friday morning saw fewer spectators, as wives stayed ashore to pack and preparations for leaving proceeded.

Scene at Leeward Mark in World
Championship at Kiel

Photo: 1940 Star Class Log

The morning race was won by Dr. Peter Hanson in Muggel, followed by Yves Lorion in Aloha from Algers. Pimm was third, and Bellona fourth. Bem did not start, as the Hollanders left that morning, and the Stockholm entry, Unn, was also recalled to her country and absent from the racecourse. At noon, while contestants had lunch on Undine, Rear Admiral Goetting came aboard with personal letters for all the foreigners, to aid them in crossing the border. The English contestants left amid many farewells and were sent ashore in the Admiral's launch, and by car, directly to the French border. The feeling of tension was crystallized with a rather bewildering result. We realized suddenly that we must leave charming friends and hosts immediately, and under strange, unfamiliar circumstances.

All worries and frights were put aside for cheers, sirens, and whistles to congratulate Pimm winning the last race and the series, followed by Beflono and Pegasus. Polluce from Italy was fourth, capturing second in the series. Muggel from Kiel was third, Scout from California fourth, Hasjo from Berlin fifth. Spirit was tied for fifth, but had finished behind Hasjo three times.

World's Champions Egon Beyn and
Walter von Hütschler

Photo: 1940 Star Class Log

It is quite necessary, for the benefit of those who were not with us, to describe in full the delightful Old World hospitality that was ours during Kiel week. Beginning with the get-together at the Yacht Club von Deutschland for the official flag raising, Sunday morning, a truly international atmosphere permeated Kiel Harbor. When the International Star Class flag climbed for the first time into European skies, there was a full naval salute against a background of colorful flags from every country surrounding the harbor.

After this ceremony, the Annual Meeting was held in the Yacht Club, with Commodore Corry officiating, aided by Rear Admiral Goetting, Herr Geheimrat Gudovius, and Captain Kruseman. The meeting, as has been the case since the Class began, spent much time concerning itself with measurements, which will be officially recorded in due time.

Toe-hold Technique as Seen in the World Championship - Walter von Hütschler and Egon Beyn in Pimm
Photo: 1940 Star Class Log

Sunday night the officials and contestants were invited to a reception and dinner in their honor, given by the Mayor of Kiel, and held in the City Hall. With flags of all nations hanging over the door into the dining hall, and a hidden orchestra bringing us the beautiful waltzes for which Germany has long been famous, the glorious, century-old "Rathaus" of Kiel officially opened her arms to the visitors. The Mayor welcomed his guests in a charming speech, which was duly translated, and Commodore Corry warmed our hearts by saying in reply all the things, which we wanted to say in our gratitude for such hospitality. Each guest was given a small plaque from the City of Kiel, duly inscribed as a souvenir of the "Weltmeisterschaft" of 1939.

Monday night, after the first race had finished and the excitement of another championship series was created, we were the guests of the President of the German Sports Association, who has done a great deal for the advancement of Stars in his country. The dinner, for four hundred people, was unique in that all the china, having been of a restricted pattern belonging only to the royal family during the Imperial Reign, was brought to Kiel from Berlin by motor car for the occasion. It was quite a privilege to see this type of china, which is now usually found in museums.

The Reichssportführer welcomed us graciously, and gave to the Star Class a name which may stay with us, as he fittingly described Stars as the "Light Cavalry of the Seas." His welcome was warmly accepted by Commodore Corry, who claimed in his speech that the reason Stars had risen to worldwide renown was because of the leadership of important personages such as Rear Admiral Goetting and the Reichssportführer.

Tuesday night was reserved for the second session of the Annual Meeting, should it be necessary, but as all official business had been completed on Sunday, every one turned in early to rest.

Stan Oglivy's Spirit at the 1939 World's with a German battleship in the background
Photo: Ogilvy Collection

Wednesday night, a delightful dance was given by the Commander and the Officers' Club of the Kiel Naval Base, which was one of the most colorful entertainments of the week. The cellar was fitted out as a "Bierkeller," and the starting boat, Undine, her broad decks lit with many lanterns, was the "bar." Pictures, so familiar to all of us, of numerous collisions, "matchstick" foul discussions, and Race Committees tearing their hair, were tacked on the canvas windbreakers. Undine lay by the wharf at the foot of the garden walk, and the path was gaily lit with hundreds of lanterns. A buffet supper was served, keeping the colorful scene of dress uniforms, our many charming hostesses, and endless champagne going till early hours.

Thursday night there was no entertainment, as this had been chosen for rest day. The disquiet of war talk fell upon us, and we sat around the Olympiaheim in small groups, swapping bits of information, indicative of coming trouble. England, Italy, and America sat drinking sherry, waiting for occasional bulletins brought to us by Naval Officers, who left no stone unturned to aid us in our information and following plans. Many were the conversations with Consulates and high officials, all repeated to friends, equally anxious to know the latest developments. For once, the usual September conversation changed from "roaches," keels, and "Point A's" to train times, steamships and money, leaving us all stunned that the usual gay wind-up of the Championship series could so quickly turn into sober channels.

The final reception at the Yacht Club von Deutschland was a buffet supper and dance on Friday night. This was a sterling exhibition of startling determination on the part of the International Star Class to leave with our hosts a lasting impression of gratitude for their hospitality. It was also the hour of realization that we are, and always will be, an association of people who admit no prejudices and who stay until dark hours strike for the sake of sportsmanship. Outside communications had been cut off, cables were not accepted, telephone service was practically impossible, but the Star Class stayed to finish out the World's Championship Series.

Milton Wegeforth and Barney Lehman led American entries at Kiel Photo: 1940 Star Class Log

That evening was one we hope will never have to be repeated under so great a circumstance. It was filled with poignancy, sadness, and cheerfulness, marked by men standing under great flags of many nations, surrounded by silver trophies, dress uniforms, and dancing, when even the call to arms could not interrupt the closing of the World's Championship. Several goodbyes had been said earlier by men who stepped out of Starboats into battleships, awaiting orders in Kiel Harbor. Many conversations were interrupted by quiet summons, and departures. Toasts were drunk with solemn eyes in spite of the gaiety, and friends parted with unspoken thoughts in their hearts, easier left unsaid. One solemn wish, that we may all meet again next year, was often repeated and hoped.

With the last roll of drums, when the lights closed down on the Yacht Club von Deutschland, came the haunting thought that we are a part of something too strong for politics and too big for wars. We have now spread again over the world, but still in Kiel Harbor lie twenty Starboats from eight nations, which now have a sterling significance-they fly the same flag, the world over, of international sportsmanship.

Saturday morning found every one leaving hurriedly, but our hosts, who were forced to remain, were not too busy with their country's affairs, even at the last hour, to lend every assistance to us in parting. "Pimm" von Hütschler, who is not German, as is generally thought, but a Brazilian, also left Germany, and helped several of the Americans to obtain steamship passage from Norway, through a friend of his in Copenhagen. A Naval attaché in uniform was sent with the French contestants to the border, should they have trouble in leaving the country. In spite of the unwelcome advent of war, those of us who went to Kiel must openly admit that it was one of the finest racing series that the Star Class has ever known, and no other country could have possibly done more, both in time of peace and time of war, for their international guests, than Germany did in Kiel.