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9 July 2007, 09:09 am
A Colourful Insignia And A More Colourful Hypothesis
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ISAF Sailing World Championships 2007
Cascais, Portugal

Many of the spectators watching the fleets leave the docks at Cascais have remarked about the different coloured insignias on the sails of the Star fleet. The International Star Class Yacht Racing Association Log provides the simple answer to who can wear the badges of honour on their sails. Winners of historic events are awarded the honour of displaying a coloured insignia indicating the importance of the event which they have won.
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Cascais Photo Galleries

World Champions may display the Gold Star on their sail. Winners of the Gold Star at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais include the following: Hamish PEPPER and Carl WILLIAMS (NZL), Xavier ROHART and Pascal RAMBEAU (FRA), Freddie LOOF and Anders EKSTROM (SWE), Iain PERCY (GBR), Mark REYNOLDS (USA), Hal HAENEL (USA), Alexander HAGEN (GER) and Torben GRAEL and Marcello FERREIRA (BRA). Ross MACDONALD (CAN), Ed ADAMS (USA) and Vince BRUN (USA) are in Cascais coaching and Magnus LILJEDHAL (USA) is practicing with Mark MENDELBLATT (USA), whose last race of the America's Cup competition overlapped with the 2007 Worlds.

Silver Stars

Silver Star championships or events in which the winners earn the right to display a silver star on their sail include the European championship, North American Championship, South American Championship, Australian Championship, Eastern Hemisphere Championship and Western Hemisphere Championship. Past Silver Star skippers who are out on the race course this year include: PERCY, LOOF, REYNOLDS, Benny ANDERSEN (DEN), Hamish PEPPER, George SZABO (USA), Robert SCHEIDT , Julio LABANDEIRA (ARG), Marc PICKEL (GER), Robert STANJEK (GER), HAGEN, Iain MURRAY (AUS) and John DANE (USA).

Men's 470
Women's 470
Laser Radial
Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X

Our most recent Olympic Champions, who are also two-time Gold Star winners and two-time Olympic gold medallists, are displaying what looks like a gold leaf Gold Star and Olympic rings on their sail for this event. Torben GRAEL and Marcelo FERREIRA were very classy competitors.

Blue and Green Star championships, are awarded along with various district championship titles. There are 21 Star Class districts throughout the world.

Many of the competitors at Cascais have won Blue Star championships. Added to the Gold and Silver Star lists above would be Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ (POL), Diego NEGRI (ITA), Francesco BRUNI (ITA) and Hans SPITZAUER (AUT).


How does a Class of sailboats that was initially called the Bug end up with a star as its insignia? One answer offered in some old Class documents is that it was easier to put a star on the sail than a multi-legged insect. I have been collecting information to support my own hypothesis. It may be a bit off the wall, but I came upon a ring at an antique jewellery store. A five pointed star is etched in the centre of the glass jewel. One radial is gold, another radial is silver, and the others are green, blue and red. As I researched the star, I realized that it is the symbol of the Order of the Eastern Star of the Freemasons, a women's order of the Freemasons. The founder of the order was a lawyer and educator from Boston, Massachusetts, not far from where the Nahant Bug was sailed back in the early 1900's and where the star first appeared on the sail of the boat that would eventually be named the Star.

Famous Freemasons include captains of industry, US presidents, heads of state, authors, poets, actors, frontiersmen and other leaders such as: Edmund Burke, Walter P. Chrysler, Buffalo Bill, Davey Crockett, Gerald R. Ford, King George IV and King George VI of England, John Glenn, Johann Wolfgang Von Gothe, Oliver Hardy, J. Edgar Hoover, American Presidents Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson, His Royal Highness Edward the Duke of Kent, His Royal Majesty Hibullah former King of Afghanistan, Kalakaua, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Lindberg, Marquis de Layfayette, Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Viscount Horatio Lord Nelson…the list goes on.

Picture the Star Class being born in the land of Gatsby and among the Boston blue bloods. Better yet, imagine that the annual sailing event referred to in Sabrina, the classic Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart movie, as being a Star regatta. It doesn't take much to stretch your imagination and think that some of the founders of the Star Class were Freemasons from Western Long Island Sound who did plenty of business in Manhattan.

If anyone can help me support my hypothesis, by all means contact me. In the meantime, I'll be on the water watching to see who will go down in history for earning the 2007 Gold Star. Will a team repeat or three-peat? Will a team with a Silver Star rise to the occasion? We'll know later on today.

About The 2007 ISAF Worlds

Over 1,300 sailors from 76 nations are competing at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships, from 28 June-13 July in Cascais, Portugal. 'The Wind Is Calling' is the official motto for the 2007 Worlds. The Championships are the principal qualification regatta for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, with 75% of all national places to be decided.

Watch the Medal Races live on Sail.TV

Read our fleet by fleet reports by clicking on the links below:

Finn - Tornado - Yngling - Star - 49er - 470s - Lasers - RS:Xs

For all the news on the ISAF Sailing World Championships 2007 CLICK HERE.

Lynn Fitzpatrick. Image:© FRIED ELLIOTT -
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