Expecting a Surprise: 100 Years of Stars Tonight

If you are reading this on Thursday 12 January, please raise a glass and wish me well at 6pm ET. I’ll be talking to a group at Annapolis Yacht Club (AYC) about 100 Years of Gold Stars. And since most of the attendees will be Star sailors, their standards are very, very high—and they will likely be much bigger and stronger than me!

Star crews make tacks look surprisingly easy. Me? Not so much.

Chesapeake Bay has hosted two Star World championships so far (1951 and 2000). Just last year, AYC ran a very competitive 33-boat North Americans; as Class President Tom Londrigan put it at the opening ceremony, Annapolis is a place “we want to come back to again, and again, and again.” There are plenty of locals who know far more about the class and the boat than I do, but they probably haven’t yet heard or seen all of the colorful stories and photos I’ll be sharing—and most didn’t fit into the book. This iconic class has always attracted strong characters as well as strong bodies!

Last October, I did a booksigning at my local bookstore for a group of mostly readers and booklovers. At most author appearances, there’s usually one big surprise—and this time, it was an older couple who lived only a few miles away. Turns out he’d bought a (wooden) Star boat shortly before he was called up for the Korean War, which he parked in his father’s back yard (perhaps as his reward for making it home again). But the next time he saw the boat, all that was left was the lead keel; his father had burned the hull for firewood. “I never forgave him,” this man told me, seventy-odd years later. Yet another example of how Star boats have both personalized and colored our sense of history over the past century.

For those of you reading this after Thursday night’s event, I’ll be sure to let you know if tonight holds a similar surprise. For those of you who have it on your calendar, thank you… and please don’t judge me by my height.

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