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Star Yachts, Birkenhead

Star Yachts are a mark of wooden pond boats that were made in England for over 75 years. When I was a kid I had two of these boats- one large green, white and yellow boat and a smaller one that was all-red with yellow sails. I used to make small mooring for these boats in the Wallace River behind the cottage of my friend Donald. I would also sail them in the ocean at the old house of my Aunt and display them on the top shelf in my bedroom.

I loved the boats because they were play things but they were very real. They were built with real materials- wood, steel, brass, cotton and cord and they were rigged in a functional way like the sailboats I sailed on for real. The rigging and lines worked and the sails could be let out or trimmed. The rigging could also be disconnected at one place so the mast and sails could be folded flat against the deck of the boats. They were really two of my favourite toys.

The story of the Star Yacht company is interesting. From a 1974 sales booklet:

The founder of “Star Productions”, Franz Marie Denye, was a partner in a centuries old Belgian family ship-building firm. When Germany invaded Belgium in World War I he put his family and possessions into a newly launched fishing trawler and sailed to England – he chose Merseyside as a likely area to seek his fortune. After five years in the shipyards of Birkenhead he founded the “Star Yacht Works” where he laid the foundation of the present “Star Productions”. Now, over 60 years later, the word “Star” is synonymous the world over with model, wooden-hulled sailing yachts. Today the third generation partners, P.L. and F.J. Denye, confidently look forward to carrying on the tradition of reliability and quality established over the years.

Unfortunately, the factory closed when the site was compulsorily purchased to clear for development.

All of the boats from the Eastern Shore Trilogy including Lucky Strike, the boat from the periwinkle blues project are based on Star Yacht boats.

— Chris Boyne