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Old 26-08-2010, 21:22   #1
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Star as First Real Sailboat ?

There is a wood Star for sale. I am going to look at the boat to see what condition it is in tomorrow. It is supposed to need paint.
Assuming the hull is solid, what do you think about a Star as a learner boat?
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Old 26-08-2010, 23:13   #2
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Not a good idea. It is too physically demanding IMO as a first boat. And a wood boat is not a good idea as a first boat either because the maintenance is far more demanding than fiberglass.
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Old 27-08-2010, 01:53   #3
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A Star is a great learner boat for a real beginner just like Caltech or M.I.T. (or Oxford or the Sorbonne) are fantastic schools for 12-year-olds. That is, there probably are a few kids who'd do just fine there. And probably there's a champion windsurfer-world-class cabinetmaker who would be a natural for that wooden Star. But for most novices, the Star would be a cruel dominatrix with a barbed-wire whip and spurs on her studded biker boots.

In addition to the physical demands of the way people race their Stars, the Star is a tweaky boat, requiring some precise handling, skipper-crew coordination, and close coordination of its sail controls. The masts are bendy (on purpose) and not hard to break in stiff conditions. And if you don't get the runners switched in time in a healthy gybe .... oh well. At least the consequences maybe aren't so big if you forget to fraculate.

From the class web site, International Star Class Yacht Racing Association
"There are so many sailors at a high level in the Star and the way we sail these boats now is very physical. This is a boat for the athletes, for the young." ... Robert Scheidt, 2007 Star World Champion, four Olympic medals (Laser & Star), in Sail Magazine, May 2008

Well yes, America did have an "older" Star skipper in the Olympics, but he was still a very high level athlete.
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Old 27-08-2010, 08:32   #4
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After crewing on race boats locally, I still don't care a fig about racing.
I would not be attempting to sail the Star "the way they race them today". It would spend most of it's time on Midwest lakes with the sails set to safe and stable, not attempting to out run other sailboats. Most of the places I go, it would be the only sailboat, and I would be the only crew.
I know for some, sailing is racing, and racing is sailing. I am not one of them. If I decide to go play, I will borrow a boat designed to be raced single handed. Even then, I know I could not afford to be competitive. I am still in good enough shape to enjoy a couple of hours in a Sunfish in good wind, but have little interest in seeing if I can sail faster than anyone else. I get more out of seeing if I can do it, rather than if I can do it better than others.
My purpose is sailing.
I don't really have any cute words to explain that. If you don't understand that, we may be different kinds of people.
The swirls and eddies behind the boat have captured me, and they are holding my mind ransom! They demand that I go sailing again, and they want their own boat to do so!
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Old 27-08-2010, 08:35   #5
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I don't quite agree with the previous posters. Yes the Star has a lot of tweakiness that can be used to advantage by an experienced athlete/sailor.

But you don't have to use any of that tweakiness as you learn to sail. It will take some athleticism to sail it safely, but I suspect the original poster may be up to that. And it will build sailing skills quickly.

Being wood is another issue and an old star could be a mess. But if it is cheap, why not.

David
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Old 27-08-2010, 10:00   #6
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I am disabled, and it is cheap. I still have not looked it over, so I don't know what kind of shape the hull is in yet. He said he was sanding it for new paint, so the painting would have to be done. He said that is just about all it needs.
I have been to three of the area Sailing Associations now. They all seem very tied up in racing. Is a big turn off to me so far.
I would like to see them all in equal single handed boats, maybe, but the rest is not my thing.
If racing was my thing, there is a little MC Scow for sale at a very attractive price also.
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Old 27-08-2010, 11:17   #7
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If you really want to sail a dinghy and really learn to sail, IMHO, get a Laser. There are tons of cheap ones for sale out there, you'll be on your own, and you'll learn all there is to know about boat handling.

You can get a nice cruising boat later as well, and learn navigation, etc...

Cheers, and most of all enjoy!
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Old 27-08-2010, 11:18   #8
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You said:

"I am still in good enough shape to enjoy a couple of hours in a Sunfish in good wind, but have little interest in seeing if I can sail faster than anyone else. I get more out of seeing if I can do it, rather than if I can do it better than others.
My purpose is sailing."

If the above is really a true statement and you really just want something to singlehand, I don't understand why you don't get yourself a Sunfish, a Laser, a Force Five or a similar boat. It might cost more than this Star you are considering but you have the advantage of being able to cartop or easily trailer it and the upkeep in time and expense will be far less than the Star.
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Old 27-08-2010, 11:25   #9
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Star thoughts

Time on the water is a good thing and I certainly understand the joy of just plain old sailing. And any boat that gets you there can be fun.

But I think what some people are trying to get at is that different boats are made for different purposes and are easier to use for that purpose than to adapt for others.

For one little detailed example, many of the trailers for Star boats were designed for crane launching at a yacht club or boat yard. Typically those are the ones with the boat facing backward on the trailer. Sometimes people who want to launch the boats at a boat ramp have had to modify the back end of the trailers that had been originally designed for crane launching and then add a trailer tongue extender to get the boat into water deep enough to float. Another option would be to do as some other keelboat sailors do and drop the trailer down on a cable or rope.

Sure, anyone can do this, but it's one more little hassle between you and time on the water. And, in general, while you don't have to be a wizard at adjusting all the tweaky little bits, the rig is still going to be responding to changes in wind and you still will have to remember to deal with the runners and in a breeze cope with the big sail plan that usually has a couple of athletic guys "droop hiking" over the side to balance the boat.

One solution might be to tame or tone down the boat by having a sailmaker install reef points and a single-line reefing system in the mainsail or by picking up a smaller than usual mainsail for the boat. The performance wouldn't be so great with a smaller sail that wasn't designed for the bendy mast, but it could reduce the craziness factor if the winds pick up suddenly.

Some other boats have retractable centerboards or much shallower draft and don't need any special procedures for launching. For example, the Flying Scot dinghy is tremendously popular in the midwest; although it's not a keel boat it's considered quite stable and is a big hit with families. There might also be good deals in your part of the world on something like a Rhodes 19 keelboat. Or maybe a Buccaneer centerboard boat would be fun.
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Old 27-08-2010, 12:27   #10
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The main reason that a Star would not be a great boat for you, is that the mast has a small section and can be easily bent. This is great for the racers who use that bendability to go faster. If you don't manage the running back stays, etc correctly, then the mast might break. That's why it's not such a great starter boat.

On the other hand if, it the price is $50, buy it and throw it away when it breaks.
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Old 27-08-2010, 12:35   #11
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A few fifty's.
Next on the list is three times the price.
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