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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.
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. 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. The picture right shows boats being built in the 1930s – it is possibly time things were changed. 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?


What if the Star Association could get another 5 or 10 or 50 people into the class through home building? The class had close racing in 1929 and anyone could build one – they were a handyman project. I did build a couple of PDRacers for $300 each with some scrounging of materials – but 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. Would love to get my hands on a Star plan to see what can be done with limited funds and skills. The increase in size would increase the stability somewhat and possibly give you more weight to put in the keel as the hull could be lighter than the original in proportion which would help too.
Will scale it back closer to the lower aspect original, and lose the bendy mast but…ahhh that gorgeous Star sail! I would recommend you do some calculations to make sure your scheme is heading in the right direction. I specifically focused on this posting because it addresses a major crisis in sailing here in South Africa as well as (it appears) much of the rest of the world.
But I guess if anyone is really interested and has the time, they could go after this approach.
That was written a few years ago and the creeping of boat costs hasn’t abated with much more than the hull cost being pumped up past what the market can bear. Now I think that the solution is that existing classes will be supplanted by DIY boats again.


But it doesn’t deal with the fact that you can build something using the same materials as the Opti for around $400 and that can include the sail. The crazy thing is that yachting authorities and class associations still believe the myth that more spray and more high tech will allow sailing to compete with Playstations.
But this has pushed up prices, so all the classes can do is poach members from each other as new entrants in conventional sailing classes are few and far between. But outside all of the failed marketing approaches there is lots of growth in building boats that will never be raced at any conventional club. I have a collection of plans for the Star as both PDF and digitised for a 48″ scale model. As you mention, this design is a perfect match for easy and cheap modern plywood construction, something I am looking for for a long time now without succes.
The classic looks combined with the very uncomplicated hull shape are a unique combination that could appeal to many home builders out there!



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