Here we are by the sea on a blustery day in September 2014, we had decided to sail our collection of Star Yachts at the boating lake at Hoylake. I thought you might like it if I shared the story of these delightful wooden yachts from Birkenhead.
A Belgian by the name of Franz Marie Denye was the owner of a successful boatyard business. It was upon the outbreak of WW1 that he decided to bring his wife and young family to set up business in the traditional boat building area of Birkenhead. His skills ensured he found employment and during the evenings he would carve small wooden yachts, little did he know that they were to make his fortune!
By now the war was over and Franz and his wife started to sell the 'little wooden yachts' from home along side a cooked meats that his wife would prepare.
The yachts became more and more popular and soon the family were involved in their production, hand sewing the sails and orders started to arrive from major retailers keen to stock the popular wooden Star Yachts.
By 1922 Franz had grown a decent business and was able to move his production to Marion Street in Birkenhead. His business grew and the Star yachts became synonymous with quality and craftsmanship.
The beautiful blue colour you can see in the picture was a common feature on the Star yachts and became known as Birkenhead Blue!
Each yacht had a number and the familiar gold star 'Guaranteed to Sail' emblem on the deck.
It was the advent of cheaper plastic materials that eventually saw the decline of the hand crafted wooden vessels and although Franz did develop some plastic boats, the surge in cheaper imports meant they could sadly not compete. The factory closed in 1990.
We have over the years collected some beautiful Star yachts of different ages and sizes, some are in better condition than others, some sail and others don't (not until they have had some remedial work done on them at least!) They are the sorts of things that are stuffed away in attics, a forgotten plaything of an era when craftsmanship was king.