The International Star has turned into one of the best, most competitive and rewarding classes to sail in the world, but as with most modern boats it has become more and more expensive.
But the Star was designed in the ’20s (pic right)as the sort of boat a handyman could knock together out of a pile of timber over a winter to go sailing when the weather got nicer.
Maybe it is time to regather that ethos but to build it strong and stiff and simply using modern methods.
I don’t think ANYTHING else need be changed But homebuilt hulls could be allowed that would cost maybe $4-5000 rather than the tens of thousands required now for semi-mass produced foam sandwich boats.
Now a couple of co-incidences – Stars came up on a couple of forum threads I was involved in. On the WoodenBoat Forum woodenboat forum thread
And on the Sailing Anarchy forum where a clever fellow has made a nice mod to get an old star sailing cheaply (and somewhat quickly) Frankenstar
I try to be a bit of an activist in terms of trying to get people to see that building boats in wood is plain good sense. It provides a cheap entre into some competitive classes at not much cost – it allows the classes to grow.
You can see from the posts below and above that there are thousands of people out there wanting to build their own boat – and almost none of them choose class racing boats.
This is what I ended up writing about Stars and the possibility of making the class grow (or any other class that can be built in wood) by allowing a competitive wooden boat to be built that uses modern simplified building methods. It is just that the Star is more suitable than most
Originally Posted by rbgarr “Boatmik (thats me – Ed)- Which Olympic classes are the ones that are built of wood other than the Star?” My Reply: And which of those olympic class boats have growing fleets around the world? The answer is none. All of them have declined in active sailing numbers around the world.
Picture and boat by Christian Lanctot – his boat doing it’s stuff – you can see the original transom.
And I doubt a competitive wooden star could be built – because they are still required to be built of traditional planked construction – they don’t allow plywood!!! Or timber/glass composite.
Read the class rules here – see section 1.6 Wood construction – the wooden building method is straight out of the 1920s – they even require screws and nails which no-one interested in modern lightweight timber boats has used for a decade or more.
The picture right shows boats being built in the 1930s – it is possibly time things were changed.
If it was allowed I (or anyone else using modern methods) could have a hull built in three weeks that may be totally competive with the best foam sandwich boats in the world and they wouldn’t even need to build a strongback and molds – it is usual to make the sides and bulkheads self supporting. (see the pdr construction in the blog below or all the other boats on I know I can make it lighter – so if a conservative approach is used to build to the same weight as existing boats a lot of the normal internal timber structure could be eliminated and the result would be a boat with a very clean interior.
What if people could build a competitive Star hull in wood for around $4000 rather than the tens of thousands they cost now in foam sandwich?
There’s nothing to the structure – it is perfect for modern timber construction – all could be ply and the bottom (as it is compounded) could be built of wide cedar strips glassed both sides – take a day to plank it up.
It really is a handyman level project because of the simplicity of the hullshape and would take a full three weeks if the hull construction method was thought through properly – then the keel and skeg, rudder etc..
What if the Star Association could get another 5 or 10 or 50 people into the class through home building? It could be one of the strengths of the class. But, hey, lets be realistic – no-one from conventional classes is going to be reading this or has any interest whatsoever in departures from what they are doing now.
This is an old boat Duckflat and I modded up. using modern methods we pulled 300kg out of the structure but kept the character – performance went up more than a little too. link
The star is a really good example of what I was talking about before -the crazy arms race.
The class had close racing in 1929 and anyone could build one – they were a handyman project. And racing was close and hundreds of people became involved. RAcing is still close but ppl are forced to spend tens of thousands ($100K for a campaign?) to do it because if one has flash gear – everyone else has to as well.
That’s why all the current classes are so expensive. I have a standard quote for the shroud adjustment system on a 505 on my computer. $759. Getting rid of shroud adjustment would make the 505 the best part of a thousand dollars cheaper.
OK – it is a senior class and there should be senior sophisticated classes – but most of the basic classes have fallen prey to the same thinking.
We are building 10 Oz Goose sailboats for the price of importing one Laser and spares into the Philippines. That’s 10 to 20 people sailing for racing or 30 adults sailing for recreation or teaching.
Where now, to get a couple of kids racing I have to spend $7500 for a foam sandwich, mylar sailed, Harken blocked beginners class so they can be competitive. Or an Opti for $5000. That is 25 PD Racers – if I could scrounge enough materials – or around 8 if I had to buy all the bits retail. And people involved in the conventional sailing classes and their organisations wonder about the falling participation rates and argue for the status quo.