The Star No 25

February 2010.
If this is the first time you have received a copy of “The Star” then welcome.  This is the newsletter we distribute to Star members, ex members and friends following our A.G.M.  It is to advise them what we plan and hope to achieve in order to keep the Stars going for yet another year.  If you haven’t been involved with the Stars in some way or the other over the last 50 years or so then you are unique!  We are increasing distribution this time only to tell you our plans and aspirations due to the changes taking place at the Club with a new Club house, increased competition from the new (plastic) Dinghies the expected increase in membership and of course political correctness

We start our 25th News letter from the Star Class which has reported Erith at its best and worst, progress and disappointment the Club’s 100th Anniversary, our hopes and aspirations, success and some failure, the loss of some very dear friends, most of which were recorded in our newsletter. Yet we are still here, and have managed to keep and fully re-furbish 13 Stars, ALL fully kitted out and all but two have a sympathetic owner or Steward determined to keep them afloat for the next 25 years.  The Star Newsletter, which was suggested by retired Star Member Les Land, is new in comparison to some of the “ Regulars “ who have been involved with the boats at Erith for almost 50years and STILL going strong.  Albeit their cruising is a bit more sedate now and their cruising days are spent in the luxury of a Cruiser or in the Bar !! Never the less, we can pat ourselves on the back if simply for the staying power and the fact our Stars are most probably the oldest craft on site at Erith Yacht Club.

2009 was a bit of an” iffy” year; we were well represented in the sailing programme by the regulars although the best we did was to launch 6 Stars at one event.  Never the less this is an improvement and we hope to do even better this year.   Our major problem remains the same as always, lack of maintenance and not much use of the boats, which lets them, deteriorate.    As for the maintenance we had a bit of an excuse, lack of space due to the massive alterations taking place at Erith, we now have nice new premises, the financial support of the Michael Robinson Sailing Trust who supply us with the caulking and more expensive items
and A PLAN, so, as the saying goes bring it on.   There is a light on the horizon in the form of a new member to the Star Class, Brian Barton, although he probably wont admit it, has bought skills to the club which are more than welcome to the boats.  Just take a look at the spars of Star 97, which is in the new workshop/shed.   Brian has just started to refurbish the boat and even at this early stage the transformation is amazing.   97 was Bill Banner’s Star for many a year, Bill treated it like a item of vintage furniture, always well varnished, no broken timbers, side thwarts, new buoyancy bags all new warps.   In fact it was one of the best kept boats in the Star Class.  Brian is under pressure to get the boat looking good for when Bill pays us a visit.

THE PLAN. It’s not the best advertisement to say that Stars are more suited to the young at heart but it is a fact.   The average age of s Star member is a little over 21!!, so this year we plan to go along to the local County Shows. At Danson Park and Dartford and will cherry pick candidate’s who “ look the part “ as opposed to getting young blood who look at our Stars then look at the fast plastic boats and are not interested in our little group.  Both types of boats will be on view at the shows so there will be a choice and we look forward to increasing our membership to 100% Star stewards plus a waiting list of caretaker members.

Our A.G.M. has been and gone and if you were not able to attend here are some of the discussions that took place.  There are a few changes, which unfortunately have to be considered due to the age of Litigation, Health and Safety, the blight of virtually all aspect of sport, and life where there is the slightest risk of accident no matter how small.   I would bet Robbie and Chitty are sitting on their clouds going tut tut but we have never even considered this as a problem at least for the last 45plus years – however, we have produced a Waiver which, needs to be completed if only to save Bob Saunders from financial ruin.

A major alteration to the Star Class is the dissolution of the Chairman’s position   When we set up the Star Class Association in 1974 we were obliged to have a full set of officers – Chairman, Class Captain, Secretary, Treasurer and have kept them listed for the past 36 years.  It was felt there was no longer any need for the position of Chairman hence the decision.  Bob Saunders was proposed and elected Class Captain,  the position of Secretary, Treasurer, Dogs body remains the same.  ALL positions are up for grabs at our A.G.M. and any contenders would be very welcome.   This change has been removed from our constitution and a new copy will be placed on the Star Class notice board for all to see.  I know you will support Bob especially as he tries to keep the Stars afloat and stop the leaks in the Boats.   Bob is also responsible as Class Captain for the allocation of all the Stars including the ones owned by the Michael Robinson Sailing Trust.  There is always a full list of owners and Stewards on the Star Class notice board. Including the Michael Robinson Sailing Trust boats

We are all hoping to make 2010 a year to remember, not only do we have” THE PLAN” but when the new Club House, the facilities and the plans to expand, membership, training, Club awareness, etc to name but a few we hope to get a share of the benefits of the advertising.  New members, better launching facility, racing, cruising and the like.   I am led to understand progress is the key word within the Club, go forward and make overall progress or go under!  And so in addition to our plan we all have to join in if we hope to make a success.  The very first thing we can do is to have our boats ready for the trips around the bay, something we have done very successfully for many years.   The fact that as Dinghy members we were almost likely to be ashore preparing the boats when new members/visitors come to visit.
As a result we were their introduction to the club – we gave people a trip out on a boat, introduced them to other members and if they were Cruiser people we sent them out to John Edmonds. I personally plan to have access to members who are prepared to give trips round the bay etc.  This isn’t new, you will have seen a number of new members being taken out by the dinghy members but we, as Star members seem to have lapsed a bit this year – so I hope we can address this.

You may well have seen Vic Salter working his fingers to the bone sanding, cleaning, painting and generally trying to get a Bosun looking kike a trot boat?   This Bosun has been given to us
by George Reynolds as a tender to the Dinghies and is available to ALL MEMBERS.  The Bosun tender will be named Emily “G”.  When Vic has finished removing the sailing bits and pieces and replaced  re-enforced transoms, thwarts etc we can use the boat when leaving the Dinghies on a mooring during racing etc by using the Bosun as a trot boat. You may recall we

used to do this with another now defunct dinghy.  The boat is on a lightweight trolley and is
easy to launch and recover single-handed.  We did consider using Malcolm ‘S ‘ but found
launching and recovery was almost impossible without help.  (The Star Class has a new 5hp
outboard, which we use providing you bring petrol) this is only for the use Star Class otherwise
It may well go the way of some other 5hp Seagull engines and fly away!  Vic hopes to get help to complete refurbishing the Bosun and have it ready for launch very early in the season – be handy to use as a tender when you are re-equipping your Cruiser if its afloat.

Other new additions are the two brand new road trailers bought for us by donations from    Mary Robinson, Claire Dornan via her Company H.S.B.C.and the M.R.S.T. you will have seen them stowed amongst the Stars, They are locked by chains, the code was given out at the meeting so PLEASE if you do use them lock them up when you bring them back otherwise they will go the way of my trailer which was used, not re-locked and then vanished !!

Our visitor base was a bit thin on the ground this year, we were delighted to see Rhona Lockey who turned up on a work Sunday loaded with biscuits, to those of you who got the Ginger Cake well done, to those of you who missed it hard luck.  Rhona also followed in Peter Minch’s tradition by supplying a bag of rags 8” x 8” !!. We were very sorry Mary Robinson was not able to make the open weekend but she promised to be at the opening of the new Club Building with or without walking sticks.!!  Mary Field our Southampon reporter sent us her annual report all seems well there and we are to promote Ann Finck to a Star Class honary member she has been seen on regular occasion showing new members around, a job which we usually do, I am afraid her success rate introducing them to the Star Class was low, so we plan some training.   I can also report another new member, Benjamin Sheppard will be joining his brother Sam in a few years time – both are still under 3 years old so will give us time to get their Stars up to speed.

The Tool cage is coming along well thanks to Jim Freeman, Mike Downs and their team who put up all of the racking up.  We hope to have it fully re-fitted and up and running in the very near future, We still haven’t recruited an new full time Storeman to take over from Peter so our tempory staff continue to keep up the image “” We aim to please “”and we will continue to do so providing all the fees are paid – just a reminder Membership £5.00, Box £ 5.00 Shelf £3.00.

THE PLAN maybe now is the time to mention more details of the plan, you will have seen we plan to join the organiser Sara Taylor and the Clubs plans to exhibit at County shows.  They are Dartford Saturday and Sunday 17th and 18th July 2010 and Danson Saturday and Sunday 14th and 15th August 2010. At our A.G.M. we had 6 volunteers who will man the stands.         We have cars to tow the boats to the venue but as yet we have not decided on the boat or boats to be prepared.  To get it right the preparation is a long laborious task so its here we are asking for help.  We have Star 100 with no Steward at the moment, it is in good condition and should not take too much of an effort or disrupt any sailing, if you have any skills HELP please.

Alan Cooper is well on the way to organising our “ Away Days”. The plan to is take the Stars for a holiday to Orford Sailing Club.  Last time we did this it was a very successful and we are sure it will be the same again this year. This outing is open to anyone interested in a weekend away and going commando!  We have plenty of boats available for Star Bailers with or without experience and as you know we have two new road trailers as well and three of the used ones
(if we can find them). Alan will have dates etc, he is just trying to find some good weather. Next step is to make a return visit to the Hamble Sailing Club where we had such a great time on our last visit. – It was a visit to remember; I know Mary Field would be please to see us again.

The one sad report this year is the loss, or rather re-location of four Stars. 52, 68, 99 and 114.
We had to downsize due to the lack of space and so these boats had to go, HOWEVER, I am very pleased to report they have gone to a good homes and not to the big river in the sky !!.
114 is under refurbishment by David Rice a very avid boat restorer !! in Rye,  68, with 99 have gone to Gary O.’Neill  in Essex also  a keen boat builder.  Both promised to keep in touch and let us know the how they are progressing.  52 is awaiting confirmation from another source as to it future. I know some of our older members will remember the exciting travels of this Star.

If you have managed to read our Newsletter this far we hope you now have some idea of the plans afoot for the Stars in 2010.  Any Club member will be most welcome to come along and have a bail in a Star just bring your own wellies.  You may, or may not see a number of names on the distribution list that you do not recognise?  Reason for this is this Newsletter being sent out to as many up market Cruiser converts, worn out, retired, ex-pat, ex members in fact any Star Bailers we can trace and who fancy their chances to come and have a refresher course.
We would like to welcome Ed Sumner ,  our new Club Sailing Coach.  Not seen him lookimg ay the Stars “ YET “ but give him time. !!

At the beginning I did say if you haven’t been involved with the Stars you are unique. We have the reputation over the past 40 years or so of taking in all and sundry, sailors or not and getting them introduced into the Club.  This is a throw back from the days when Stars were just about the only dinghy on site and ALL training and courses were carried out in them.   Paul Gladden took 4 Stars in February every year, rigged them with what ever bits and pieces were lying on the fill and proceeded to teach candidates up to the required standards. Ask around, you will be very surprised just how many current members (if they admit to it) joined the Club this way via the Hamble Star before moving on to bigger and better things.

Star 106.

If you know of any Star dissidents who have escaped the net and have an E -mail address would you please pass a copy on to them?
Thank You

© Erith Yacht Club