REFLECTIONS OF A STAR APPRENTICE

By Paul Henderson, Vice President, IYRU

(March, 1980 Starlights)

 

            Let me start by apologizing for being so presumptuous as to write to Starlights after apprenticing for only three years in the Star Class; but having broken two masts, raced in over a hundred races and been harrassed by Munster and Monster, I feel reasonably at home with the Star.

            I have had two extreme race highs so far, both of equal value: one was winning the last race of the World's, and the other winning a club race with my eleven year old daughter. It is these two arenas that form my reasons for writing this letter.

            The master Star sailors are experiencing the negative pressures as well as the positive pressures imposed on the Class by Olympic status. Some believe that it would be better for the Class if the Star were removed from the Olympics. I would like to believe that the Star Class can relegate the Olympics to their proper place, which is an important regatta taking place every four years affecting a few. The Olympics must not control the Class, which should assess and eliminate the negative aspects and utilize the positive aspects. The Star Class is mature enough to live with the Olympic pressures.

            Following are a few points that should be discussed.

            1. Do away with all forms of nationalism at sanctioned events such as national sail symbols, boat docking by national grouping, coaches, team support boats, national qualification requirements. These regattas are individual against individuals.

            2. Have major championships always with a focal point (yacht club) so that all sailors can get together for a beer after the race. The regatta is really a convention of friends.

            3. Permit hiking vests which allow you to use less than Olympic crews, or else eliminate "mini‑hiking."

            4. At major sanctioned events, competing sailors should have to offer their sails after the events to the bottom half of the fleet at 50        per cent discount.

            5. New unwoven cloths which would give longer life to sails should be allowed if it would again permit the Class to restrict the number of sails purchased.

            6. Insist that competitors wear their proper colour star. The novice is very proud of his green even if the gold is paranoid.

            7. Reinforce the requirements to qualify through fleet, district, etc., to go to silver and gold star events.

            8. Ban quickly any new development such as keel shape so as to prevent sudden obsolescence.

            9. Do everything possible to keep promoting Star events and the Star world fraternity.

            Our fleet (Lake Ontario Canadian) gave my daughter a Rookie-of‑the‑Year T‑shirt. She would not trade it for two gold chevrons.