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You are known as one of the best heavy air 505 crews in the world. How does sailing the 505 compare to other boats in a big blow?

The 505 is great in breeze because it's stable, so you're still racing when it's blowing over 20 and not just surviving around the race course. The adjustable rig allows you to set up for a wide variety of wind and sea conditions which makes the boat more manageable for the sailors. Every time I sail in a different class I find myself wishing I was on the wire of a 505, in my opinion it's the best boat for when the breeze is cranking.

Jeff Nelson, Region V
North American Champion 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009
World Champion 2009
505 sailor for 16 years

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Having campaigned for the Olympics, how does the 505 class differ from many of the Olympic one design classes?

The 505 is simply about having fun sailing a competitive boat purely for the personal satisfaction of sailing well. The stress of the Olympics and feeling like sailing is a job rather than a past time can make sailing seem less fun. I transitioned from Olympic campaigner to full time professional sailor. While the two are somewhat different they are still "Work". 505 sailing is done for personal reasons and is my way of still having a blast doing what I love without feeling like at the end of the day I am beholden to anyone other than my helm and myself! 

Geoff Ewenson, Region II
North American Champion 2011
505 sailor for 16 years

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You are consistently amount the top female sailors in the 505 class. How would you describe the boat to other women who may be intimidated by the speed and power of the 505?

There are definitely things you can do as a female to keep the boat under control. It is so great when you go out on a day that you think you cannot handle, sail around the course, put up the chute and nail all your gybes. Here are some things that have helped:
  • Practice as much as possible in lots of different conditions. Listen to the wisdom of the fleet; people know how to tune and handle the boat and are willing to share their knowledge. 
  • Get a tall, big guy to be your crew; hopefully he will also be able to call tactics and fix stuff too. 
  • Get a decent wet or dry suit or whatever it takes to get your comfort level up to sail in big breeze. 
  • Eat a lot during regattas. I don't know if this actually helps you sail better, but I just happen to enjoy the fact that in the 505, I can totally gorge and I stay the same size.

Katherine Long, Region III
Top Female at the North Americans 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011
505 sailor for 12 years
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You just competed at your first World Championship. How would you describe the experience?

Sailing at the 2012 World Championships with Thomas Barrows was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. First, the fleet is enormous, the competition is top notch, and the quality of the sailing in unbelievable. I strongly feel that I learned more about sailing, especially in big fleets, during this past World Championship than at any other point in time.  Secondly, the ability to meet and make new and unusual friends off the water is unparalleled; our experience hanging out with some competitors from other countries was epic. Third, we went there with a boat that was 25 years old and were able to compete on an even playing field with brand new boats. What other classes in the world can you say that about? Lastly but most importantly, we had a ton of fun the entire time. We cannot wait to compete in the 2013 World Championship. 

Matt Barry, Region I
505 sailor for 6 years

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You are among the lightest crews in the 505 class. How would you describe the large range of combined crew weights that you see at regattas?

Between driver and crew, team 8441 weighs in at around 270 pounds. This would probably be on the light side for a 470 or V15. Or, as some like to point out, isn't much heavier than what some teams carry in the front of the boat alone. Yet again, sailing the 505 and being successful is not all about crew size and weight. Granted, being in the sweet spot weight-wise makes things a lot easier on average, but one of the great things about the 505 is that there is an opportunity for teams across a very wide range of weight, size, skill level, experience etc to be successful and enjoy sailing the boat in their own way. Obviously, for us being on the East Coast is a big plus; California would not be a good place for us, but in anything between 4 and 14 kts (typical East Coast range), we have a good chance to have a great day, a good weekend or even a decent regatta. Obviously, in the very light stuff, everyone expects us to be ahead, which isn't always the case. While in the "bigger" breeze, the upwind legs are painful, however on the downwind stretches there really isn't a great deal of disadvantage from lower weight. Plus, it helps that most regattas use downwind finishes! Now, I wouldn't go as far as to say that low weight is not our biggest obstacle (that would be skill and experience) but rather a certain lack of strength, power and endurance that comes with being quite a bit too small. After 3 races in 12-15 knots there often isn't enough "juice" left to keep playing the mainsheet or kite as you should. An unplanned capzise often means we're done for the day. But then again, there's been plenty of moments of "how the heck did you guys manage THIS?" after being the only ones able to wire-run, catching 5 boats on the last downwind leg. In a nutshell, sailing the 505 as a small team may not sound like it makes the most sense, but it's been great fun so far and we wouldn't miss it!

Olav Schulter, Region I
505 sailor for 9 years