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Old Mar 30, 2014, 06:53 PM
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Star pond yachts of Birkenhead UK

For those who were given a Star Pond yacht as a kid like me, or have seen these wonderful little craft here is a bit of history I uncovered last week and thought should be documented !

Star boats of Birkenhead, Liverpool a little known history, March 2014.

Since their beginning just after the first world war, Star Yachts made pond yachts.

Franz Marie Denye, a Belgian refugee who had fled Belgium at the beginning of the war began making yachts and his family continued the tradition until the factory was closed in the early 1990ís.

In Australia the agency had been held by one company for many years and upon visiting the factory the owner had only made it into the front office and never past, so keen were Star to protect their processes.

In about 1989 on visit to the Star factory one person did make it past the office door and this is what he found and has imparted to me.

Star yachts visited had been closed for a time , however tools and workstations had been left in a state that appeared as though everyone had gone for the night and would return in the morning, sadly they never would.

Luckily the old chap who gave him access to the factory also gave him a run down of what lay in the 2 story building and the secrets that lay behind the green front door of Star of Birkenhead.

As recounted i was amazed to learn that Star brought in timber in the form of logs to the factory, these were then stripped of bark in the factory somewhere on the lower level floor.

Once the logs were de barked, they were sawn into manageable sized timbers ready to be put on to the lathes.

I had understood (more so guessed) that Star turned timber on a lathe to create a bullet like shape before slicing it in half to make 2 hulls and this was confirmed to me.

Once the hulls had been turned and before they were sawn , the timber was taken upstairs to the loft where large fishing nets hung from the ceiling.

Tossed up into the air the bullets landed into the net and were left to dry out the timber that was still a little green.

After the appropriate time the bullets were brought down and sliced into two hulls and fitted out.

That is the Star story, the only other really interesting fact was that if the topside stripe on a Star was applied to the hull , it was not by painting a strip onto the base hull color , however by using a scribe to scratch through the top coat to reveal the under coat, amazing!

Here are some pictures of my Star boats, add yours in!

Andrew Cook - GoSpectre.com model Yachts
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Old Mar 30, 2014, 08:04 PM
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Thanks Andrew,

Great memories. My first sail boat as a kid, was a Star pond yacht. I Think it was called Southern Cross. Mid-sized boat with gaff headed main and jib and flying jib, painted white with blue trim.

I sailed it on the boating lake at Sefton Park, and also at the model boat pond on the front at New Brighton. Put it in the water and set the sails and let it go all the way across where a friend would turn it around for the trip back.

John
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Old Mar 30, 2014, 08:24 PM
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Really cool. Thanks for sharing this!
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Old Mar 30, 2014, 08:43 PM
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neat thread

I have one of these hiding somewhere that I used to float in the 70's ... thought I could quickly locate it but the only thing I found was the main.

Mine was just like your rigged red boat but it was painted light green.

I remember chuckling about the "Guaranteed to Sail" promise on the decal when it was new... but clearly based on the condition of the sail, it got some use!

You have a nice collection!
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Old Mar 30, 2014, 10:43 PM
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I bought one of these at an antique store, only to find it must be a very close imitation... there's no Star logo on it, but it otherwise looks just like one of these in the picture... and sails quite nicely, too.
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Old Mar 30, 2014, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Aten W Arthog View Post
I bought one of these at an antique store, only to find it must be a very close imitation... there's no Star logo on it, but it otherwise looks just like one of these in the picture... and sails quite nicely, too.
There is one out there that is very similar... I think they were made after the early 90's trying to remember the name-

something like "Bosun Boats" maybe?
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 12:09 AM
Taking care of the pond.
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Great story,
Thank You
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 12:13 AM
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Great story,
Thank You
it is... makes me want to find the rest of my boat!

The more I think about it, the more I remember sailing my "SY1"... It didn't have much freeboard to begin with and not much stability- its deck was often totally awash... fun stuff though at the time.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Aerominded View Post
There is one out there that is very similar... I think they were made after the early 90's trying to remember the name-

something like "Bosun Boats" maybe?
Bingo.
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 09:57 AM
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Hi Andrew -
Thanks so very much for sharing the history and photos of your collection. It was great being able to pick up the history soon to be lost. Wish I lived closer - sounds like there are "other stories" to share and hear. You live too far away to run down the street!

Best regards, Dick
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Old Apr 02, 2014, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by gospectredotcom View Post
For those who were given a Star Pond yacht as a kid like me, or have seen these wonderful little craft here is a bit of history I uncovered last week and thought should be documented !
Andrew - thanks for sharing, what a fabulous insight into the Star Yacht company.

I have long been interested in Star Yachts and, over the years, have collected a few. I'm currently researching the history of the company / its products and have some quite interesting early images which I must sort out and share...

Your collection looks great, I'm interested to find out more about the yacht "Jean III" (4th image) it's not a name that I've seen in any Star catalogues, etc. but I have seen several examples with this name. Is it a Star do you think?

I've attached a few images of the larger yachts - a "Western Star" - the largest yacht they made when the factory closed and a "Meteorite" - the smallest of the lead keel range at that time.

Thanks again and the yachts on your own website look fantastic!

Mark
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Old Apr 02, 2014, 04:12 PM
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Hi Mark and all, thanks for the comments, I need some of the bigger star boats!!!
I have collected hulls here and there before people throw them away and try to create new rig sympathetically that fit and match, yet are clear new additions that enhance the original hulls, trying to keep the history alive a bit if I can!
Really not sure about Jean 2 as she has a cast keel and no deck markings.
I did the Liberty of London sails for my wife to have in her office, went down well and is a different look.
Other pics below are of Giner Spanish swing keel hull, have a couple single and an unknown Australian hull.
The yellow hull is a 50s Australian boat with cast alloy keel, finding out more about this one as I type!
Andrew
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Old Apr 02, 2014, 08:29 PM
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! Viva el barco !

More neat stuff! I'm still searching of my old star, lost in a sea of boxes... Interesting that you mention Giner... my old Giner, I did find! (note the family resemblance in the swing, sheet steel keel and plastic rudder.)


Funny, the decal on the deck also claims that it is "Guaranteed to Sail"!

...Made in Spain and it's "Patentado"
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Old Apr 03, 2014, 12:29 PM
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I'm still searching of my old star, lost in a sea of boxes...
Keep searching - they're great yachts and I hope you find it...

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Originally Posted by Aerominded View Post
"Patentado"


Mark
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Old Apr 03, 2014, 12:44 PM
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I need some of the bigger star boats!!!

Andrew
It gets a bit addictive...

I guess that it's the fact that Star produced so many different variants over the years but there's an obvious continuity to the range, elements of the later yachts are certainly recognizable in those produced during the 1920's / 1930's.

I will try to find out if the "Jean III" was a product of the company but, although the lettering is very similar, I suspect that it wasn't. It does look good with the "Liberty" fabric sails, so often the sails are torn or destroyed and, rather than try to replicate the originals, I think it's good to add a more contemporary look...

Coincidentally - I was commissioned last year to re-rig 5 of my larger Stars (Meteorite, Comet, Pacific Star, Baltic Star & Western Star) with similar designer fabric sails for a Sunday Times Style magazine shoot.

I've attached a shot of this together with some more of the larger ones.

It'd be great to hear from others with info. / images of the Star Yacht models...

The other yachts look good, it's interesting to see how different companies approached the hull / keel design.

Mark

(Thanks for the email Andrew - have replied).
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