A HISTORY OF THE NORTH AMERICAN SILVER STAR CHAMPIONSHIPBy David Bolles Return to NA History index
The North American Silver Star Championship is relatively a latecomer to the Silver Star series held by the Star Class. Originally the North American's was sailed only when the World's was not sailed in the North American continent.
The oldest Silver Star event of the Star Class is the Championship of Europe, which began in 1932, followed by the Western Hemisphere Spring Championship, which began in 1934. The first N.A.'s was held in 1939 at Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay in conjunction with the 1939 World Fair. That year the World's was sailed in Kiel, Germany. The first N.A.'s was won by Walter Sumner and Jack Watson of the San Diego Bay fleet. The series was not held again until 1948 in Puget Sound, and was won by the local fleet representatives Charles Ross and Robertson Ross. Then, starting in 1952 the World's was held in Europe for consecutive three years. Whether coincidentally or not, starting in 1952 the N.A.'s have been held annually ever since.
Originally the rules for who was allowed to sail in the N.A.'s was very strict. Only two boats per fleet, based on that fleet's qualification series, were allowed to participate in a Silver Star event. Exceptions to this were when low turn-out was expected, for example in 1964 at Galveston Bay and 1968 at San Francisco where 3 boats per fleet were allowed.
Starting in the 1970's the hosting fleet was allowed to have additional entries as a reward for holding the series. For example, in 1972 at Toronto the Lake Ontario Canadian fleet entered 4 boats, and in 1975 at Mobile the Mobile Bay fleet entered 6 boats.
The first "open" N.A.'s was in 1985 at San Diego, with 14 boats from the San Diego Bay fleet and 7 boats from the Newport Harbor fleet. The N.A.'s have been open ever since.
NORTH AMERICAN TROPHIES
The Royal Canadian Yacht Club Trophy is for the winning skipper of the North American series. It was donated to the North American Championship in 1952 by the Royal Canadian Y.C. which hosted the event in Toronto that year. This was the third time the Championship had been held, and apparently the perpetual trophies had yet to be organized. Sometime in the late 1950's or early 1960's the Trophy lost its original top which, as shown in the photo from the 1953 Log, was surmounted by a model Star boat. In the January, 1967, Starlights Stan Ogilvy placed a photo of the Trophy made the following comment:
Mr. and Mrs. Don Trask and crew Bill Kreysler (seated, left,) inspect their newly won North American Championship trophy.
This cup, donated by the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in 1952, once possessed a different top surmounted by a silver model Star boat. The present top, which it has been bearing for some years, does not fit it exactly; it was switched somewhere along the way with that of another trophy. If anybody has a cup with a boat on top that doesn't quite look as if it belonged there, please notify us at the Star Class office and we'll straighten things out.
The Ned Hay Trophy is for the winning crew of the series. It was donated in 1954 by Edward Hay of the Cape Ann fleet. Edward Hay was the honorary chairman of the 1954 North American Championship which was hosted by the Cape Ann fleet.
The Edward Hay trophy is for the winner of the last race of the North American series. The original trophy was donated by same Edward Hay who donated the winning crew trophy to the North American Championship in 1954. Then, in 1965 the trophy was replaced by a more elaborate trophy donated by the Eastern Shore of Maryland fleet. Until 1974 the trophy was for the winner of the 5th race, but starting in 1975 the Class voted in six race / one throw-out scoring system so the trophy went to the winner of the 6th race. However, in cases where the number of races in the series is curtailed the trophy is awarded to the winner of the last race, be it the fifth or even the fourth race.
The North American Master's Trophy was donated by John M. MacCausland and first raced for in 1988 at the Ithaca North American Championship. It goes to the best skipper over 50. The score for this trophy is keep separately from the score of all the competitors in the Championship, this score sheet having only those skippers over 50 on it. The trophy is dedicated to Durward Knowles, the grand master of all the masters in the Star Class. It is a brass ship's lantern built by MacCausland.