Seahorse September 2009

Seahorse September 2009

As we approach the 100th birthday of both the Star and X One Design classes in 2011 it’s surely time to begin celebrations with a little history … firstly with Olympic gold medallist and three time Star World Champion Bill Buchan.

Similar to most one-designs of the period (including the XOD in England), originally the Star Class yacht was created to be a club, or local racing sail boat, in this case primarily intended for use in the Long Island Sound area of the United States. But once sailors began to realise what a wonderful design it was , and the need that it filled , within a few years it had quickly started to spread to the far corners of the globe. Wishing that it remain a one-design class, there obviously also needed to be a set of measurements and specifications that could be adhered to by a variety of boatbuilders, no matter whether they be professional or relatively unskilled amateurs. And from the very beginning, right through until the mid-1980s, these measurement tolerances remained quite generous …

The rules did dictate, though, perhaps optimistically, that there was to be no ‘intentional taking advantage of these tolerances to create a boat with a design advantage’; they were strictly for the purpose of allowing for genuine errors in building, to still have the boat certified as a legal Starboat for racing purposes. The truth of the matter , and to the longterm benefit of the class, was that as early as the late-1920s there were new shapes being created by naval architects that took advantage of what was already known as the class’s own Statute of Limitations.