Champion boat

Paul Cayard and an all-new Star boat as ANDREA FOLLI challenges MARC PICKEL’s P-Star hegemony

The Star boat is interesting for many reasons. The most obvious is that the best sailors have always gravitated to the class. In the past it was names like Melges, Conner, Buchan, North, Blackaller, Petterson, Driscoll, Ficker.

These sailors honed their skills, both racing and technical, in the Star and went on to skipper America’s Cup boats. More recently Percy, Grael, your author and others have done the same. Racing in the Star Class always meant tough competition, so tactically you learned quickly. Technically the Star has also always had just the right formula of development within limits. This has allowed the curious sailors to develop ideas in an effort to find speed.

The Star was designed in 1911. It has lived through many technological changes and is now a modern classic. More accurately, had the class administration not allowed the changes I highlight below then the class would have died like the dinosaur; meanwhile, a number of other changes have been proposed and rejected. The key is sound management and the class has been blessed with that for over 100 years.

Names like Gordon, Burnham, Croce, Knowles, Schoonmaker, Thomsen, Allen and now Lars Grael are among those who have lent their considerable experience and judgment to the Star Class. Today Canadian Brian Cramer is the class technical director. According to Brian, ‘The tolerances are tight enough that you can’t drive a truck through them, but loose enough that no one stops tinkering. That is the secret to our success and survival. As technology has evolved, so has the Star.’


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