THROUGH THE AGES
The importance of getting crew weight over the side on a Star has been recognized since the earliest championship events. In 1924 Bill Inslee, who won the first two Gold Star events held by the Class in 1922 and 1923, wrote an article for April-May issue of Starlights which talks about getting the most out of the Star boat. Concerning hiking, his mentions that it is essential is to put the boat in balance with the keel in proper position within the range allowed to float the boat on proper sailing lines, and still permit of the skipper and crew placing their weight where it will exert the most leverage and do the most good in holding the boat up in a strong breeze. Here we see Bill Inslee with crew Robert Nelson on their way to win the 1923 Worlds.
Walter von Hütschler had his crew Egon Beyn carry this hiking technique to another level with the crew hanging onto the side of the boat. Here we see them on their way to win the 1939 Worlds.
The 1940 Log carried the following cartoon spoofing the hiking methods of the various top crews.
Even greater athleticism was shown by Lowell North and Jim Hill on their way to win the 1957 Worlds. In theory, hiking aids were still not allowed, but it appears the Jim is hanging onto the jib sheet which under strict interpretation of the Star Class rules was not allowed.
Hiking straps were first allowed in 1969. Here we see Dennis Conner with his Menace in 1971 doing a double mini-hike. Check out the crew: not exactly the sort of beef which is represented by most top-level crews today.
The hiking vest was allowed in 1981. The combination of hiking straps and hiking vest have changed completely the physical attributes of the premium Star crew. Paul Cayard observed that at 205 lbs. he was a standard sized crew when he sailed with Bill Gerard in the 1978 Worlds. Below are Steve Erickson and Paul Cayard on their way to winning the 1988 Worlds. Steve weighed at the time somewhere in the 240 lbs. range.
Now 250 lbs. is considered to be a little on the light side for a Star crew. The team of Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl, seen here on their way to win the 2000 Olympics, epitomizes the top flight crews of today.
Mark and Magnus at the 2000 Olympic Trials held on the Berkeley Circle.