International Star Class--A Brief History, The


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by G. W. Elder and Ernest Ratsey

In 1907, William Gardner designed the smallest keel sloop of its day. Known as the Bug Class, it was a Star in miniature. It was just one of the many semi-popular useless little classes of that time, too small for a full-grown man to really sail in. The lines of the Bug were not copied from any other existing class, but, in so far as such a thing is possible, were originated by Mr. Gardner and a Mr. Maybrey. At the suggestion of G. A. Corry, Gardner & Company enlarged their own design about five feet in length (the actual drawings being made by Francis Sweisguth) and thus the Star was produced. Isaac Smith of Port Washington built twenty-two of these boats and they were raced on Long Island Sound for the first time in 1911. Later the same year, eleven more were built by Green Brothers of Chelsea, Mass. These were, however, known as Nahant Bugs and were not recognized to be true Stars until the International Association was formed some ten years later. A third, and larger, class from the same design was attempted about 1913 and called the Fish Class. Four of these boats were built and proved a failure. While the larger and smaller variations of this design did not meet with success, the Star struck a happy medium and was destined to become the largest of all one-design classes and to revolutionize yacht racing in many respects. George A. Corry, “Father of the Stars,” was responsible for starting the Class. He conceived the idea of providing an inexpensive boat, that was a real little racing machine, for men of ability but moderate means. This was in the days of the large yacht, when racing was a rich man’s game and something of a society function as well. Small boats were considered playthings for boys, but it is well to note that from the beginning the Star was never intended as a training school for novices. It was dedicated to experienced skippers who could not afford large yachts. The recognition of ability, regardless of finincial or social status, was George Corry’s contribution to yachting.

19 pages


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