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Author Topic: Correction to SAILSTAR EXPLORER  (Read 4035 times)
sunbird10201
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« on: December 28, 2011, 04:10:35 pm »

The info about the Explorer contains an error, the Explorer was designed (as were many of of the small SailStar models) by Robert Baker. His other designs include the Menemsha 24/Katama 25, O'Day Widgeon, O'DAY Sprite/Super Sprite, and the Puddle Duck Dinghy.
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sonosail
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2011, 02:43:25 pm »

The info about the Explorer contains an error, the Explorer was designed (as were many of of the small SailStar models) by Robert Baker. His other designs include the Menemsha 24/Katama 25, O'Day Widgeon, O'DAY Sprite/Super Sprite, and the Puddle Duck Dinghy.
Actually, no. And I think I'm on fairly solid ground about this. There was actually a law suit filed by O'Day Corp. against Sailstar and Talman Bigilow (a former O'Day employee) claiming that the Explorer was a copy of the O'Day Daysailer.  I think they lost. But if you look at it closely you will see that the Explorer DOES very closely resemble the Daysailer.  I don't think Robert Baker had anything to do with this design.

On the other hand, I would like to know more about the Menemsha 24/Katama 25 since I hadn't heard of these. 

Regards,
Randy Browning
sailboatdata.com
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sunbird10201
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2011, 04:38:04 pm »

Well, if Uffa Fox and Robert Baker were still alive, they would be VERY surprized at that! Uffa Fax would be scratching his head trying to figure out how he could have designed the EXPLORER and not remember it, and Robert Baker would be scratching his head wondering why Mr. Fox was being credited with designing a boat that he, Robert Baker, had designed! Yes, O'DAY did unsuccessfully sue Sailstar over the design of the Explorer, and YES the EXPLORER does resemble the DS..... but they were NOT both designed by Uffa Fox!! The Day Sailer was designed by Mr. Fox, well...actually just the hull and rig, George O'Day added the cuddy against Mr. Fox's wishes. The Explorer was in fact designed by Robert H. Baker, as was the Tallstar, the Little Bear, and the Orion (other Sailstar boats).  I don't know how to prove that Robert H. Baker designed the EXPLORER, unfortunately I don't have a copy of the plans, but every reference that I've seen (well, except this website) identifies Baker as the designer. I have a book, "THE SAILBOAT CLASSES OF NORTH AMERICA" .auther: Fessenden S. Blanchard, and it says,"EXPLORER  The 17-foot centerboard sloop Explorer was designed by Robert Baker". I have also e-mailed Baker Boat Works (run by Mr. Bakers relatives) to ask for clarification, I will let you now what I hear from them.

Oh, and I have a copy of that lawsuit, it specifically mentions that Sailstar never claimed that Uffa Fox designed the Explorer. Which is true, since the boat was designed for Sailstar by Robert H. Baker.

I'll send info on the Menemsha / Katama designs as soon as I can scan the drawings. Or you could actually get info on them direct from Baker Boat Works, they still sell the plans.
www.by-the-sea.com/bakerboatworks
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sonosail
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2011, 05:12:32 pm »

Well, if Uffa Fox and Robert Baker were still alive, they would be VERY surprized at that! Uffa Fax would be scratching his head trying to figure out how he could have designed the EXPLORER and not remember it, and Robert Baker would be scratching his head wondering why Mr. Fox was being credited with designing a boat that he, Robert Baker, had designed! Yes, O'DAY did unsuccessfully sue Sailstar over the design of the Explorer, and YES the EXPLORER does resemble the DS..... but they were NOT both designed by Uffa Fox!! The Day Sailer was designed by Mr. Fox, well...actually just the hull and rig, George O'Day added the cuddy against Mr. Fox's wishes. The Explorer was in fact designed by Robert H. Baker, as was the Tallstar, the Little Bear, and the Orion (other Sailstar boats).  I don't know how to prove that Robert H. Baker designed the EXPLORER, unfortunately I don't have a copy of the plans, but every reference that I've seen (well, except this website) identifies Baker as the designer. I have a book, "THE SAILBOAT CLASSES OF NORTH AMERICA" .auther: Fessenden S. Blanchard, and it says,"EXPLORER  The 17-foot centerboard sloop Explorer was designed by Robert Baker". I have also e-mailed Baker Boat Works (run by Mr. Bakers relatives) to ask for clarification, I will let you now what I hear from them.

Oh, and I have a copy of that lawsuit, it specifically mentions that Sailstar never claimed that Uffa Fox designed the Explorer. Which is true, since the boat was designed for Sailstar by Robert H. Baker.

I'll send info on the Menemsha / Katama designs as soon as I can scan the drawings. Or you could actually get info on them direct from Baker Boat Works, they still sell the plans.
www.by-the-sea.com/bakerboatworks
OK.  Thanks for taking an interest in this. You may be right. You have me scratching my own head. I look forward to hearing what Mr. Bakers relative say about it. Does it mention anywhere in the suit that the boat was, in fact, designed by Robert Barker?
I have a copy of the book that you mention. (actually 2 - the second with the updates by Ted Jones).
Actually, someone contacted me about this same subject nearly a year ago, and this person thought that I had it right.
If the Explorer was, in fact designed by Mr Baker, I will make the necessary changes. Quite interesting actually.  You have me almost convinced.

Regards,
Randy Browning
sailboatdata.com
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sunbird10201
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2011, 11:11:28 am »

You know that I was hoping that the lawsuit DID reveal that Robert H. Baker was the designer........ but, no.. it doesn't mention that. Strange, because to me that would have been a great defense for SAILSTAR to present! I heard from Sarah Baker this morning, she is looking into the history of the design and will get back to me.
I'm sure that the DS was the inspiration for the Explorer, as well as the Annapolis Discoverer, but the Explorer's design matches the style of R.H. Baker's other designs (Tallstar, Orion, Little Bear, Voyager, and the Widgeon and Sprite) much more that Uffa Fox's style.
We'll see what I find out from the Bakers.
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sonosail
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2011, 05:57:25 pm »

You know that I was hoping that the lawsuit DID reveal that Robert H. Baker was the designer........ but, no.. it doesn't mention that. Strange, because to me that would have been a great defense for SAILSTAR to present! I heard from Sarah Baker this morning, she is looking into the history of the design and will get back to me.
I'm sure that the DS was the inspiration for the Explorer, as well as the Annapolis Discoverer, but the Explorer's design matches the style of R.H. Baker's other designs (Tallstar, Orion, Little Bear, Voyager, and the Widgeon and Sprite) much more that Uffa Fox's style.
We'll see what I find out from the Bakers.
Thank you very much for all you research.  I would love to know the real story. I was looking at the Baker website. I was thinking that if the Explorer was, in fact, a Baker design, it looks somewhat similar to what they are listing as the Meteor. 
I THINK there was a Sailstar brochure that showed a boat called the 'Meteor' with dimensions slightly different than those of the Explorer.  I have also been contacted by a person who claimed to have owned a boat, built by Sailstar called the Meteor.  But the boat, so named, has to have been extremely rare.
On the other hand, most of what I've read in various forums, reflect the belief that the SS Explorer was in fact a copy of the Daysailer.
But we could all, very easily, be wrong!

Regards,
Randy Browning
sailboatdata.com
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sunbird10201
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2012, 10:34:53 am »

Randy, close.... but not correct. The METEOR is 14' and is (I believe) basically a TALLSTAR without the cuddy. The 17' STARFIRE was basically an EXPLORER without the cuddy. On a similar note (forgive me if this has already been covered) the 17' PIONEER was basically an EXPLORER with either a steel centerboard or a fin-keel (optional) (EXPLORER had a fiberglass CB).

In the meantime, I heard back again from Sarah Baker.
"Rodney -
I forwarded your email to my 1/2 brother who knows more about Dad's O'Day days.  Here is his reply:

Well, the guy is right - Explorer was one of Dad's, and it got him taken to court by O'Day for copying Uffa Fox's design (Tom said "Draw me something that looks like a DaySailer", so he did)
How to prove it?  Well, that's another problem. There MAY be some plans in the chest, but I wouldn't know where to start there.  I'll let you know what I find.

As I get more to share I will be happy to do so.
Thank you for your interest in my father's boats and for your passion in protecting their integrity…

 Sarah Baker"


The EXPLORER sure does look like a near-copy of the DS, but the more I look at it..... the more I see "BAKER" design details.

The January 1961 YACHTING Magazine has an article about Sailstar Boats and the EXPLORER specifically is mentioned as being desinged by R. H. Baker. (pg 218)

That lawsuit was kind of interesting..... it mentions that the EXPLORER had a motor well (kickerpit), and the DS did not........ gee, with the exception of the first few model years, every DS I that I've seen had the kickerpit. Maybe George O'DAY decided to "copy" from Sailstar <GRIN!>

I've attached a scan of a 1964 Sailstar ad, and that 1961 article.
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sonosail
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2012, 03:10:41 pm »

Wow!  Excellent research.  You were right. I've seen this discussed in number of places but you have finally found an authoritative answer. When she mentions 'Tom', is she referring to Talmond Bigelow? 
I misspoke about the METEOR. (once again, you were right).  I was actually contacted a while back by someone who had done a complete restore of a Meteor. He confirmed that it was in fact based on the hull of the TALLSTAR. You can see what I have here on the METEOR/TALLSTAR:
http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=5973
I do know about the PIONEER which I believe, is just (as you say) an Explorer with a fixed keel, though there couldn't have been very many built.
Let me get back to you on the STARFIRE, because I seem to remember something interesting relating  this boat, but I need to look it up.
Again, thanks very much.

rb
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