Thursday, April 16, 2015

Star Boats on Cape Ann

I lived for this shit back in the day. Eoin Vincent of the most excellent 18 Haven blog graciously put this amazing film online, made by his uncle Peter. Imagine my surprise when I saw my brother Mike's name in the credits - small world!

A bit more about Star Boats:
They are hairy beasts, totally overpowered with a sail area more appropriate for boats twice the length, running back-stays, zero creature comforts (hey they're an Olympic class after all). They slice through the water with and effortless grace, even if their crews end a day's sailing with lacerations, abrasions, and contusions.

From Wikipedia:

The Star is a 6.9 metres (23 ft) former Olympic one-design racing keelboat for two people designed by Francis Sweisguth in 1910.

It is sloop-rigged, with a mainsail larger in proportional size than any other boat of its length. Unlike most modern racing boats, it does not use a spinnaker when sailing downwind. Instead, when running downwind a whisker pole is used to hold the jib out to windward for correct wind flow. Early Stars were built from wood, but modern boats are generally made of fiberglass. The boat must weigh at least 671 kg (1,479 lb) with a maximum total sail area of 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft).

The Star class pioneered an unusual circular boom vang track, which allows the vang to effectively hold the boom down even when the boom is turned far outboard on a downwind run. Another notable aspect of Star sailing is the extreme hiking position adopted by the crew and at times the helmsman, who normally use a harness to help hang low off the windward side of the boat with only their lower legs inside.

The Star was designed in 1910 by Francis Sweisguth—draftsman for William Gardner's Naval Architect office—and the first 22 were built in Port Washington, New York by Ike Smith during the winter of 1910–11. Since that time, over 8,400 boats have been built. For the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the Star was added to the Olympic programme. Although far from a modern design, the class remains popular today, with about 2,000 boats in active racing fleets in North America and Europe.

As a result of the 2011 Mid-Year Meeting in St. Petersburg, keelboats were removed from Sailing at the 2016 Summer Olympics, and therefore the Star class will not be in competition in Rio de Janeiro. THIS BLOWS -ed

Me with a Star Boat I had the privilege of driving early 90's (not my boat - thanks for trusting me Jim K.!):
I spent many a fabulous day crewing and grinding away on these monsters