Photo Credit:
Sailing professionally and working in the sail making business, you compete in many classes. Why do so many professional sailors spend their own money and time competing in the 505 class?

Ok, we all go to work, and pro sailors go sail keelboats! But their roots are in small boat racing, and their passion for competition and excellent dinghy sailing brings them back to the 505. It doesn’t get much better than the 505. The 505 class offers an excellent boat, and friendly but tough competition.  When you sail a challenging boat like the 505, teams are much more interested in going fast, having fun, and focus on sailing their own boat well. So the atmosphere is relaxed about sharing info and techniques, and fleet debriefs are the norm.  For pro sailors, it’s a nice break from keelboats and a chance to do some racing for yourself, and great racing it is.

Ethan Bixby, Region II
North American Champion 1976, 1987, 1989, 2007
World Champion 1981
505 sailor for 46 years
Photo Credit:
You have sailed several older boats that still were able to perform at the top level. Why do 505s last so much longer than other one design dinghies?

I have raced a bunch of older boats. 7346, 7068, and 7200. Everyone knows about the robustness of the hulls that will keep a boat stiff and tight for a long time, but I think the class does a good job of regulating the upgrades as the boat evolves. As we've done things to make the boats faster and more fun, every upgrade is managed in a modular way, so any old boat can be made just as competitive as a new one.

Mike Coe, Region II
505 sailor for 13 years

Photo Credit: Mike Komar
You chartered a 505 for two seasons and are now looking to buy a boat. Why do you find yourself drawn to the 505 Class?

I find myself drawn to the 505 because the boat is exiting, technical and always challenging as well as the tremendous support veteran members of the class provide to new sailors. I find that the 505 offers much more technical sailing than a traditional skiff but doesn’t lack in speed and excitement. Also, the flexibility in rigging set ups allows you to constantly experiment. Through experimenting with rigging and sailing such a technical boat, the 505 will continue to challenge the best sailors throughout their entire career. I do believe the support the class offers is unrivaled in any other class and helps all levels of sailors whether it be in rigging, sailing technique, tuning, or financially.

Mike Komar, Region I
505 sailor for 5 years
Photo Credit:
You compete in many other high performance one design classes. Why does the 505 class continue to draw the best sailors from other classes?

The 505 class is a great combination of top level high performance racing with a grass roots feel. Also, the boat is appealing to top sailors because it is both challenging and technical. Most importantly, the boats are extremely fun in big breeze!

Matt Woodworth, Region III
Melges 24 World Champion 2013
505 sailor for 6 years

Photo Credit:
You are a recent college graduate and college sailing coach. Why should college sailors consider the 505 class after graduation?

College sailing provides a lot of the basics of sailing such as disciplined strategy and tactics. The 505 will take your sailing to the next level and make you a very holistic sailor. To be successful in the 505 it takes the whole package, tactics and strategy combined with proper boat preparation, tuning, and sharp boat handling. But you can get that in any class. What makes the 505 so special is performance, durability, and the people in the class. The hull shape of the boat actually puts very little of the boat in the water. This feature combined with a powerful sail plan allows the 505 to plane easily upwind and downwind. The boat provides great feedback when making adjustments. When you get everything just right, the boat lets you know. The durability of the boats is also amazing. My boat is from 1986 and we have won competitive regattas. Ten-year-old boats can win world championships. Another great part of the class is that you don’t need a small army to sail a 505. It’s still a dinghy so it’s easy to transport and run a competitive program with another sailor. College sailors or recent alums should not be turned off by the cost. If you want to get into the class talk to other 505 sailors and try to make something work. I bought my boat and paid it off over the course of 2 years using money that I had saved working during the summer time.

Zack Marks, Region II
505 sailor for 6 years