At the club
At WBBC, the Starling and Laser 4.7 have become the boat of choice in recent years for sailors progressing beyond the Optimist sailing dinghy. This season has seen significant growth in this popular intermediate class, at WBBC.
The Starling is a monotype dinghy ideal for skippers who have become too heavy or too old for the P Class or for larger skippers progressing directly from the Optimist. The Starling is a good transition boat for sailors before progressing into youth and senior classes. Skippers must be under the age of 19 to compete for the National title. Otherwise, there is no age limit.
The Starling is three metres long and is a particularly attractive boat, built in either plywood or fibre-glass. The class is governed by strict one-design rules which also specify both the mast and sail manufacturer.
All Starling sailors are offered a mid-week coaching programme which runs throughout the season. The sailors learn to develop their boat handling, boat tuning and tactical skills on this programme. It is run in small groups and is managed by a group of experienced coaches. Additional coaching is programmed in, to help prepare the keen skippers for the Starling National Regatta, which is held in April each year.
About the class
The Starling class yacht was conceived and the design commissioned by John Peet in the late 1960s. At the time there were no single-handed boats available to teenagers for bridging the gap between the P class and the adult Finn, OK, Cherokee and Zephyr classes. Many young sailors were leaving the sport because the step to the adult classes was too great. A stepping stone class was required. In consultation with parents of current P class sailors a set of criteria was formulated for the proposed class: –
Des Townson, the designer of the successful Zephyr, Mistral and Dart yachts of the period was approached to design the boat and he completed this in June 1969. To confirm the simplicity of the construction concept, teenager David Peet built the prototype as his first boat-building project. The Starling was launched at Westhaven, Auckland on Anzac weekend 1970.