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

Latest News

Welcome to the Starling Class Website

April Blog #1

2016 Nationals

Just a few days until the Nationals. I hope you have packed your woolly underwear as it will feel cold if you live in the North. One tip I learned sailing in the UK was to smear Vaseline on the back of my hands. This makes the water run off instead of evaporating thus avoiding the cooling effect. Next week is shaping up with maximum16-18 degrees and light winds. Dont forget to get there in time to have your boat checked.

Traveller series

A shock result to the Traveller series. I had thought that Ngaio Balfour was unbeatable but once the third discard came into play things changed and the series was won by Logan Beckman by 8 points from Ngaio who of course was first female. So well done Logan and sorry Ngaio if I mislead you. I was so sure that Ngaio was unbeatable I decided to make her this week's MVP. Her story is so good I decided she will still be the MVP. Jayden Abbott was third just 11 points back. Congratulations to all of you who participated in the Traveller series this season. There were 106 of you altogether. We will repeat the series next year so start planning your travelling arrangements. Click Here for the Results

AGM at nationals

Please make sure to leave open the evening of Tuesday 19th for the SCA AGM. Apart from the boring stuff which doesnt last long we will be discussing

Ages for prizes, Windows in Sails (that's nothing to do with computers), Learning to sail in a Starling and the Starling Darlings, Match Racing and how we can generate more interest in this exciting aspect of Starling sailing, Sails for the SCA boats - surely someone has an old sail they can give us AND I will announce the dates for the 2017 nationals


As I mentioned above MVP this week is Ngaio Balfour - almost but not quite winner of the Traveller series.She joins Libby Porter as highest placed girls since the series started back in 2011. So the challenge is still out there for a girl to win the Travellers.

Ngaio originally hated sailing because the boat kept tipping over but when her sister Sarah started sailing she was faced with either sitting on the beach or sailing herself. Fortunately she acquired an old wooden boat and she started a learn to sail course at French Bay. Boy hasnt that club come a long way in recent years? The two sisters together with their dad moved to a house where they could wheel their boats down to the sea and launch, and so both sisters started sailing regularly after school.

Following, and underterred by, a dismasting she sailed in the North Island champs at Parua Bay followed by the nationals in the development fleet with Kim Admore where they had much more fun than the main fleet. That winter she did up her own boat. She took off all the paint and sanded it by hand. Carbon fibre was then applied in an effort to stiffen the bottom (sail No 847)  and everything replaced just in time for the season. Her sister meanwhile got a brand new McKay and the sisters shared turn about. That made for interesting recording for me on the Traveller series score sheets.

At the beginning of last year the family sailed their collection of small boats to Motuihe and camped for several nights. The girls had become used to sailing in the Motuihe channel and Browns Island and Rangitoto area in some rough conditions, just for fun. Sarah has now moved on to a 3.7 so Ngaio has had the McKay to herself and still drags the boat down to the beach, now at Pt Chevalier. Now passionate about her sailing she doesn't miss an opportunity but is considering moving up to a youth boat. I understand she is going to the Nationals so we will see you there Ngaio.

I think Ngaio's story epitomises Starling sailing and what the class is all about. Good learn to sail boat, good for just having fun, good for learning about looking after your boat and still very good competition.

See you all in Christchurch Brrrrrrrrr

Richard Brown

Last Updated (Tuesday, 12 April 2016 18:58)


March Blog #1

AGM Papers.

The 2016 AGM agenda, a copy of the minutes of the 2015 AGM, a copy of the SCA accounts, and the Chairman's Report are attached

If you wish to have a copy of any of these papers at the meeting please print off your own copy now. The meeting is at Naval Point Club at 7.30 on Tuesday 19th April. Please make an effort to come as we have some interesting items to discuss.

Nationals 2017

It has come to our notice that the 2017 Optimist nationals has been extended by one day to the Wednesday after Easter. This now means that a clash with the Starling nationals is inevitable. Given that scenario we have asked Wakatere BC who are hosting the Nationals to consider what dates may now suit them. Previously we were constrained to the time between the Optis and the Schools Team Racing. The dates are therefore not yet set but we suggest you read the email below about accommodation. Dates, once settled, will be advised ASAP.


The MVP this time is Alan Sayers. Most of you will not know Alan Sayers but I have just read his autobiography. Alan is 100 years old and still going strong. He lives at Arkles Bay on Whangaparaoa Peninsular. Alan was a great athlete when he was young and became a photographic reporter for the NZ Herald. He covered many interesting stories. I remember Alan in the 1970s being passionate about girls sailing, particularly in the Starling. Apparently he was at one time chairman of both the P class and Starling committees.In the 1990s Manly SC of which he was patron, was struggling to get Council permission to enlarge their clubhouse and had more or less given up. Alan at the age then of 83, stepped in, together with Fred Allen, the rugby player and vice patron, and a small group of helpers and not only got the permission but also raised over $120,000 to build it.  In 1991 Alan donated the Sayers Cup which is awarded to the first placed girl at the nationals. Alan we salute you for what you have done for the Starlings. His biography is called "Deadline" 

Measuring at the 2016 Nationals

As always boats will be checked at the Nationals. You need to allow time for this and not expect everyone to be dealt with at the last minute. In particular boats will be weighed and checked for safety gear. Amongst other things you will need a rudder lock, a pin or similar to prevent the tiller falling out, a tether on your centreboard, the number of the boat on both sides of the hull in numerals at least 50mm high and of course an appropriate sized life jacket.

It pays to check the size your centreboard extends below the stoppers or handle on the top of the centreboard. If these have changed the centreboard may not measure. That part must fit within a rectangle 1067 x 280.

Owners are reminded that whilst boats manufactured by McKays have some measurements guaranteed by them, this does NOT include the weight. To finalise a measurement certificate ALL boats including new fibreglass boats must be presented to a class measurer for final checking. The paperwork provided by McKays is NOT a measurement certificate. Please do not turn up at the Nationals expecting to complete this process as you will be out of luck. Club organisers are requested to enquire through your fleet to ensure owners are aware of their obligations.

Traveller series

The Traveller series points have been updated since the Northland Champs. Good to see so many people travelling North. This regatta, despite the competition was won by Graeme Wilson a stalwart of the senior Starling sailors. Come on you Starling Darlings let's have more of that. Ngaio Balfour consolidated her lead at the head of the table but there is only half a point between Logan Beckman and Jayden Abbott for second and third. It's all down to the last event at Maraetai for them. NOR attached.



Last Updated (Sunday, 20 March 2016 08:59)


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)

Who's Online
We have 5 guests and 1 member online
Class Sponsors
The Starling class would like to acknowledge the contribution of the following businesses and organisations to the ongoing success of the class: