were stars in their eyes
Sunday 10th July
was Star Day.
Late in the evening of 9th July, 13 Hamble Stars lay patiently, in line,
awaiting the festivities of the following day. To start at one end of
the line from Star 29 past the others and to Star 115, was a walk though
history. Michael Robinson had taught many people to sail in these boats
and many of those people were still at Erith and still sailing Stars.
The occasion was to celebrate a grant from "Awards for All"
for the purchase of brand new sails for the Stars. As morning broke, members
of the Star Class Association of EYC were amongst others busying themselves
for the Star Day.
At 10 o'clock the Mayor of Bexley arrived and the club also welcomed last
year's mayor and his wife and Councillor Hackett. Another guest of honour
was, not unnaturally Star friend Mrs Mary Robinson. A brief introduction
by the Commodore led to a sociable gathering of old and new friends. Ex-EYC
member and top sailor Dave Munge was recounting the good old days with
the help of a few photos and friends. The Yachting press were taking notes
and photos and the Mayor ceremoniously raised the first new sail.
A race had been organized, so a briefing found 11 crews ready to give
the new sails a test. The wind was not strong and the sun shone all day.
There was time before the race for a good chat in the bar, and more photos
to look at. The visitor's book was filling up with some interesting names
from past and present.
The race officer, Mr Elmes, reported a grand turnout and the competitors,
we are proud to say, included the mayor and Mary Robinson. Mr Taylor was
happy to sail with Mr Munge, in view of the latter's rather impressive
racing experience!! Also on the water were a good number of youngsters
- visitors and members. The course was a triangle and a bit of a sausage.
Upriver to the first mark went well, however the fleet then split. Those
who went across the river to aim for the 2nd mark found the tide taking
them up towards Tower Bridge. The cannier helms sailed along the moorings
until they reached the 3rd mark, then turn and glide up to the 2nd mark
and start off again for the 3rd mark. Mr Taylor and Mr Munge (Star 106)
took the lead in this tactic, followed closely by Richard Banner with
Mary Robinson and Peter (Star 115). Jeremy (Star 29) and crew Sarah and
Vicky were also persuaded that this was the best tactic. Nigel Field (Star
54) was amongst the leading group, but was unlucky not to reach the mark.
It was revealed soon that Bob Saunders (Star 111) with crew Helen and
Bethany was creeping up on the leaders.
Towards the 3rd mark, Mr Banner and crew were able to overtake Taylor/Munge
and kept this lead to the end - taking 1st place. Second were Taylor and
Munge. Bob Saunders and crew were coming in for third place, when - within
in metres of the line - the main halyard broke and that smart new main
sail floated down and covered the crew. Such were the conditions of tide
and little wind that they were unable to take the line and had to retire.
Confused Jeremy (Star 29) and crew could not understand why the crowd
of onlookers were shouting to him that he had 3rd place. 4th was Star
54 (Nigel, Peter and Terry) and 5th place went to Star 84 - Eve, Jane,
Lucy and Sadie.
Mr King (Star 112) was happy to take the mayor for an exciting ride, although
they was unable to finish the race - along with several other crews who
were beaten by the tide, through insufficient wind. All credit due to
Mr Mayor, he got rather wet, went home to change AND had the courage to
He was in time for the stupendous buffet (provided by club members), enjoyed
by guests and competitors. Later, a prize giving took place on the afterdeck
of the club ship Folgefonn. Mrs Robinson presented the medals for the
first 5 finishers and the younger members of the assembled crew. The Commodore
presented Mrs Robinson with her medal for crew in the winning Star and
she noted that she had not realised they had come first, because she had
been too busy bailing!
Thanks were given to the rescue and other craft and to race officer Mr
Elmes. Mr Sid Gascoyne was presented with a medal for his masterminding
of the whole day.
The Star Day was a celebration of the gift of new sails. It was also a
celebration of Erith Yacht club's ability to provide superb on and off
the water entertainment for friends, family and visitors.
of all Star Day Photographs