Having won the World Championships as both a skipper and a crew, what is the biggest advantage you gain from having mastered both ends of the boat?

By far the biggest advantages of having won the worlds form both ends of the boat is knowing what is going on in the other end of the boat. You know what the other person is trying to achieve at any time, you know what difficulties he is facing in trying to achieve that goal, and you know what to do to assist him in achieving his goal. You also know what is easy for the other guy to do and what is difficult for him to do.  Knowing this you can ask for assistance from the other guy when you know it is easy for him and give assistance when it is needed.  A good example is when driving downwind, you can see the spinnaker out of the corner of your eye and tell when the crew is struggling to sheet in fast enough to prevent it from collapsing. In this case you can quickly head down a couple of degrees until you see that the crew is winning the battle, then head back up. The time spent flying the kite gives you the keen sense of when to make these minor adjustments.  

Mike Martin, Region V
North American Champion 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009
World Champion 1999, 2009, 2016
505 sailor for 32 years
Having seen the 505 Class evolve over the last three decades, what aspect of the Class is most similar to your first regatta?

Certain core elements of the 505 class have remained the same since the late 1970’s when I started sailed the boat. We basically have the same annual events now as we did in the 1970s: a North American Championship, an East Coast Championship, a Pacific Coast Championship and a World Championship. And American Section class members are still sailing the boats in the same regions: New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, Pacific Northwest, Northern California, and Southern California. These facts suggest to me that the 505 class has a sustainable foundation.

Macy Nelson, Region II
North American Champion 1983, 1993, 1994
505 sailor for 38 years

Photo Credit: photoboat.com
You are one of the top 505 sailors under 30. What do you think about the recent influx of young talent into the 505 class?

Deciding what kind of boat to buy can be a pretty monumental decision. For me it has determined who many of my friends are, what kind of sailing skills I have obtained, where I have traveled to compete in world championships and how much money is left in my bank account. One of the main reasons I chose the 505 is because it consistently recruits many of the best sailors in the world and that is who I wanted to be sailing against. There are also very few boats that can be raced in conditions anywhere from 5 knots to 30 knots with big waves and still be a lot of fun. For young talented sailors, getting into the class can be a little daunting, but the good news is that lots of people are willing to help out. 505’s are also made so well that you can pick up an older boat and still be very competitive…just ask Craig Thompson. Once you get bored with hiking really hard to go slow or are ready for something a bit more technically challenging than a Vanguard 15, it’s time to start racing a 505. Just remember that planing upwind with your 200lb crew on the wire is a lot more fun than slugging it out on a laser in 20 knots…and we’re not even talking about going downwind yet.

Parker Shinn, Region I
505 sailor for 10 years

Photo Credit: photoboat.com
You recently purchased your first 505. What would you tell a prospective member who thinks owning and maintaining a 505 is too difficult?

A lot of people in the 505 class spend a lot of time maintaining and upgrading their 505s. Most of them, enjoy working on their boats, myself included, however it’s not all about the boat work. The key is finding the right boat that has been well maintained and has all the needed upgrades. When I bought 8012, I did not have to do any do any major upgrades and therefore I was able to spend the majority of my time focusing on practicing and racing. It’s very easy to get bogged down with the latest and greatest systems that offer great features but in the end of the day it still comes down to the basics of boat speed, tactics, and boat handling. Yes, you do need to have a boat in perfect condition if you want to win the worlds but that will come after you get your bearings straight and start winning some races. If you would like to get into the class but are worried about the maintenance and boat work, make sure you get the right boat that is race ready (and they are out there). This way you can focus on training and can upgrade the boat as needed later on down the road.

Whit Duncan, Region I
505 sailor for 5 years

Photo Credit: marinemediaalliance.com
Having sailed at the top level in several other one design classes, what is most unique about the 505 Class?

There are a couple of things that make the 505 unique. First is the boat; the 505 has been a top international class for a long time and has a very good class organization. The 505 planes upwind in 10-12 knots, so it is fast and fun to sail, but still very tactical- this is what makes the 505 so unique the combination of speed and tactics. The 505 can also be sailed in very strong wind very effectively. The second thing is the people in the class, there is great camaraderie and the sharing of information is outstanding. By necessity, you have to be or “stay young” to sail a 505, this creates a great mixture of young and old sailors and a few ageless “freaks of nature” like Howie Hamlin, Jim Berry and Jeff Smith.

Augie Diaz, Region II
North American Champion 2010
505 sailor for 5 years