Starling Class Association
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  • Website of the Starling Clas Association
  • Website of the Starling Clas Association
  • Website of the Starling Clas Association
  • Website of the Starling Clas Association
  • Website of the Starling Clas Association
  • Website of the Starling Clas Association
  • Website of the Starling Clas Association

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Welcome to the Starling Class Website

February 2016 Blog


This is official notification that the Annual General Meeting of the SCA will be held on Tuesday 19th April at 19.30. Please make the effort to attend. We try hard to reduce the formal stuff and discuss things of interest to the sailors. Please arrange your Club's dinner night for another time. The chairmans report, copy of the accounts, minutes and other papers will be sent out soon.

Auckland Championships.

It is becoming established that the Auckland Championships are now held in conjunction with the Auckland Anniversary regatta over Auckland Anniversary weekend, giving 3 days of racing. The Optimists were also at the event but unfortunately no other classes took up the offer. 49 boats entered and it would have been 50 except someone who tried to enter on the day was turned away. Well done Maraetai for sticking to the wording on their NOR. Officials have enough to do without dealing with people who cant be bothered to enter on time.

Looking down the list of sailors, clearly the Starling fleet has lost a lot of its top sailors to the Youth Classes. Thats OK because the Starling is for many a stepping stone between Opti and Youth boats and this year has seen a particularly strong move up. It is particularly noticeable that some of the previously strong clubs had minimal entries which has given everyone else the opportunity to shine. Here's hoping some of these will come back to the Starling for the late season events. 

It is also noticeable that there is an increasing number of "over 18" sailors joining in the fun. I think it is great to have these sailors in our ranks with the experience that many bring with them. The question has however been asked should we be having more trophies, as we have in the Nationals, for sailors 18 and under?

Congratulations to Sean Herbert from Torbay SC. It is a long time since we had a Torbay sailor win a major Starling regatta and Jayden Abbott from the same club came 5th. Something good must be happening at Torbay. 2nd and 3rd were taken by "Out of Aucklanders" Well done Oliver Cowley (Marlborough) and Matthew Wylie (Canterbury) who presumably had stayed on after the Match racing the previous weekend. Logan Beckman took 4th

I want to congratulate Maraetai SC who organised a tremendous event. They have a great venue, although a bit shifty on Saturday but their team of helpers on the water, comprised of a mixture of Maraetai SC members as well as from other clubs performed brilliantly ; something that is not always guaranteed these days.


In the last Newsletter I introduced the concept of an MVP and this time it is Phil McNeil. Phil, whose age was quoted as 59 (I am sure this is an error but he is definitely over 18) used to sail skiffs but has now joined his daughter in sailing Starlings in the Bay of Islands. Phil came within a whisker of winning a race at Maraetai having lead most of the race and round the final mark. Its great to see one of our older sailors still able to be competitive. it was hard to work out which was greater the smile on his face or the pain in his knees but he was out next day and finished 12th overall..


A copy of the NOR for the Nationals is attached although I notice an error in the information about measuring which I have queried with NPC. I have a report of 18 boats entered in a recent Canterbury event so things are hotting up there. I am also told of a number of North Island boats entering the Port Marlborough Starling Champs on February 20-21. Dont forget to book your travel across the Straits for the Nationals which will be busy being school holidays and for those returning to the NI for the Secondary Schools Team Racing you have limited time to get back. Also book your accommodation in Christchurch and note ijn the NOR that you will need insurance.

SCA membership

Around this time of year we get several enquiries about joining the SCA. The situation is that at present you only need to be a member of the SCA in order to sail at the Nationals. To make life easier for everyone you will be asked to pay the $40 fee in conjunction with your Nationals entry fee. You cannot join the SCA any other way.

Traveller series

The Traveller series points have been updated following the Auckland Championships. Ngaio Balfour remains on top of the list but Logan Beckman has closed the gap slightly. For those sailors who have sailed all 6 events, future results will benefit from discarding their worst result. The next Traveller Series event is Junior Sail Auckland at Kohi this weekend 6-7 Feb. Traveller Series Results

Tips from the Auckland championships 

Clearly there were several sailors who were confused by various flag signals. 

1) Flag C which is blue white red white blue horizontal stripes doesnt mean the race has finished it means the course has "C"hanged from what was originally laid. It is accompanied by one or more of the following changed to - Red = Port, Green = Starboard, + = made longer, _ = made shorter. A good sailor will then sight the newly laid mark which may have a different appearance and sail towards it, leaving the rest to follow the leader who hasn't worked it out all over the ocean.

2) A gate is a pair of marks and you can choose which you round. The whole idea is to give you options so you dont have to follow a string of boats in front of you. You must sail through the gate and then round either mark. You do NOT round either of the marks from the outside and then sail through the gate.

3) There is sometimes a clause which says in relationship to Change of Course "Except at a gate, boats shall pass between the race committee boat signalling the change of the next leg and the nearby mark, leaving the mark to port and the race committee boat to starboard. This changes rule 28, Sailing The Course." What this means is that in effect the boat signalling the course change forms a gate with the mark. You can therefore sail between the signalling boat and the mark and then round either of them. This was available several times during the Auckland Champs and not one single boat took advantage of it. If say a course change is signalled at the top mark that the bottom mark has been moved to Port as the boats see it then it is quicker to round the signalling boat. If you still round the mark not only is it further but you have to cut back through the incoming fleet, frequently without any rights. Plot it out on paper and see how it works. Just a word of warning, this clause is not always included so you need to read the SIs to check.

4) Rules, It will come as a revelation to some but there are rules which govern our sport. I had a complaint at the weekend that the line was so short it was causing collisions but I never saw anyone doing turns. 2 Boats were penalised for not doing turns after hitting the start mark which had an official sitting in it!!!! A few years ago the Starling fleet was famous for rules being broken and no turns being taken. Since then we have tried to have good judging and several protests to get the message through. Maybe we need to reinforce this with a new group now sailing Starlings. 

If 2 boats touch then at least one of them should do turns. If you suspect it might be you get the turns done "Immediately after sailing clear of other boats" If you have an incident and there was a lot of shouting and you are not sure if you were in the wrong, talk to your coach and learn the rules. It is noticeable that those people who know the rules thoroughly are much more confident on the start line. At the risk of harping on about it, a spell of match racing at club level with some suitable critique is an easy way to learn the rules at a time when it wont spoil your regatta results.

5) U Flag Some obviously didnt know what U flag means. Some call it "Soft Black" it is red and white 1/4s and is used as a preparatory signal instead of the Blue Peter you might be familiar with. It is raised at 4 minutes and lowered at 1 minute. It means that you are not allowed inside the triangle formed by the committee boat, the pin end mark and the top mark in the last minute before the start. That's a very long narrow triangle. It is used to keep the fleet back from the line to avoid general recalls. If you go over the line even by a very small amount in the last minute you will be disqualified and there is no going back , round the ends, or any other way to avoid DSQ. The only difference between U and black flags is that if we use U flag and the race is recalled or abandoned then you get reinstated, whereas under Black flag you are not. For completeness in both cases if the race is postponed or abandoned before the start then the penalties do not apply.

Finally - following the Auckland champs I have updated my mailing list with lots of new addresses. If you do not wish to receive these newsletters or are now receiving 2 copies please just let me know. Be aware this list is not given to anyone.


Richard Brown


Starling National Championships 2016

April 17-21, 2016

Naval Point Club, Lyttelton

Registration and Measuring - Sunday April 17th, 0900-1600hrs

Warning Signal for the first race each day is 1055hrs.

Notice of Race

Last Updated (Thursday, 04 February 2016 02:25)


Starling Nth Island Champs 2016

The Bay of Islands YC turned on good conditions for this year's Nth Island Champs allowing all six races to be completed in good time.

The fleet featured a few more "senior" Starling sailors, with 2011 National Champion taking overall honours from Jason Hewitt (Hamilton) ahead of evergreen Graeme Wilson (Onerahi) having his best result in the class for some time.

54 sailors contested the event. Sailing was delayed for the breeze on Saturday, with three race completed in a moderate sea breeze and sunshine. The breeze was similar for Day 2, but the sunshine had disappeared to be replaced by odd shower.

2016 Nth Island Champs Results



Last Updated (Sunday, 17 January 2016 22:00)


December Blog #2


Traveller series


Attached are the updated Traveller Series Points after 4 events. Its interesting to see how the lead changes sometimes, especially when a previous leader skips a regatta. Also the top 14 is 50% girls and 50% boys. There are a few names I am not sure if they are boys or girls. If anyone can help me with that please let me know. 


There are a lot of new names on the list and I am sure many of them are not on my email list for this newsletter. If you know of someone new to the class please let me know their name, email address and sail number if possible and I will add them to it.


Next event on the Traveller series calendar is the North Island champs at Bay of Islands (Jan 16-17). This event carries x1.5 points. Dont forget to book your accommodation.


For those new to the Traveller series the points go like this. 1st gets 30 pts, 2nd gets 29 and so on down to 20th which gets 10 pts. Everyone who sailed at least one race also gets 10 points. There are 9 events with the best 6 results to count. If you follow this carefully there are big gains if you turn up to the smaller events and also to the NI champs.




Starling Match Racing nationals


Entries are now closed and 10 of the 12 regions have entered. Some regions have yet to hold their trials but for those that have named their entry, congratulations to the sailors for being selected. So far they are -:


Tom Maidment BOP, William Pitt Taranaki, Zoe Bennett Wellington, Emily Overend Nelson/ Marlborough, Matthew Wylie Canterbury (reigning champion), Matthew Smith North, Nicola Sanders South, Matthew Connolly Auckland. Hannah Wilks East


TBA - North Harbour


Waikato no entry - North Island wildcard Nick Reid


 S Canterbury - No entry - Wild card Tex from the Cook Islands






Following my little article last time about the drowning of a young sailor in Fiji I received the following message from Richard Porter




Hi Richard


I really appreciated your recent Starling Class update.


Maybe you would consider sharing the following link?


I became aware of this tragedy whilst reading the latest edition of “The Annapolis Book of Seamanship: Fourth Edition” By John Rousmaniere 








The Stephen Keen mentioned is a Kiwi sailor from Canterbury who has been coaching in the USA for several years. Whilst both these examples involved trapezes, this sort of situation is not limited to trapeze boats. Hair can become tangled in mainsheet blocks, feet in toe straps, clothing can catch on sharp corners etc. I recall capsizing violently once when I accidentally shoved the tiller extension up my wetsuit leg  and again when my wedding ring caught over the top of the rigging screw. The lessons to be learnt are to do with what to do in an unexpected emergency. A cool calm head in place of panic will save a few vital seconds and a lot of energy. Maybe we just need to talk it through with our sailors.




Finally I wish you all a great Christmas. Please come along to the match racing at Glendowie - January 23-25th. It makes great viewing.


Dont forget the North Island champs coming up on the 16th and 17th January and dont forget to organise your accommodation. It may already be a bit late to get exactly what you want. Of course the P class sailors will already be there for their Nationals.











Last Updated (Wednesday, 23 December 2015 16:36)


August Blog#1

Here are a few catch up things -:

Attached is the notice for a combined 3 day P class and Starling Coaching clinic at the Bay of Islands YC starting on 26th September 2015. Remember this is where the P class nationals and Starling NI champs will be held. The format looks awesome.

I am also attaching the NOR for the Manly junior regatta on 10 October. This is one of the Traveller series events so not to be missed. I would encourage all clubs with major Starling events to send out their NOR nice and early. Why keep it a secret?

Also attached is a Notice about a dinghy Expo at Westhaven on 19th September. I will be there and if anyone else feels like lending a hand they will be most welcome. Can anyone bring a Starling for potential Starling sailors to try on the water?

I am adding an ISAF Q and A which is a bit technical but of interest to those who intend to compete at the highest level. Its a lesson to be learned and kept back of mind in case you find yourself in a similar position.

Finally do you know someone new to the Starling class who should be receiving these newsletters - let me know and I will add them to the list. Equally if you no longer wish to receive them let me know and I will take you off the list.



You're always a winner if you sail a Starling

2016 Nationals at Naval Point Club, ChCh 18-21 April

Last Updated (Saturday, 15 August 2015 11:00)

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