Ten teams made it to the annual Bacardi Newport Regatta, hosted by Sail Newport, on July 14-15 2012. This regatta also served as the 2012 Region I Championships and unfortunately, no boats from outside Region I made the trip to challenge for out-of-region bragging rights. The Newport Regatta is a large, multi-class event held at one of the best sailing venues on the US East Coast. Sail Newport is a public access sailing center which is very well aligned with the 505 Class. There is no fancy restaurant, no blue blazers, and no silly yacht club etiquette. Sail Newport is all about running first class one design races and making access to the water available for all. This type of event is a great opportunity to showcase the 505 class amongst a large number of sailors, including juniors.
The 505’s shared a circle this year with some unlikely company; Viper 640s, J22s, Stars, and Snipes. Needless to say, managing traffic on the race course was an important component of the racing. Also, in atypical fashion, the 505s used conventional line-starts along with the other classes on the circle. The Viper class served as a reminder why gate starts are the preferred starting method in the 505 class; virtually every Viper start resulted in at least one General Recall. The racing area was in Potter’ Cove, north of the Newport Pell Bridge on the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, tucked up against the shore of Conanicut Island.
The first day of racing was delayed due to lack of wind at the start time. The breeze finally filled in lightly from the southwest, allowing the start of the first race. It became quickly apparent that the right hand side of the race course, adjacent to shore, was the place to be at the top of the beat. Buttner/Zagol quickly picked up on this and led Race 1 wire-wire to take the early lead. The second race saw more wind as the sea breeze began to pulse, but the velocity peaked around 12 knots with a mix of wire and sit running in races 2-4. Breton/Breton held the lead for the first two legs of Race 2, but were eventually reeled in by Buttner/Zagol who took their second race win. Race 3 again saw Buttner/Zagol out in front, but Marks/Thompson were able to find a passing lane on the final run to take the win. Gerson/Ferrarone were also in the mix on the final leg, netting their second 3rd of the day. The final race of the day came down to the final minute; Gerson/Ferrarone, Buttner/Zagol, and Marks/Thompson all led the race at one point on the final beat. However, Marks/Thompson found themselves in a fortunate position for the final tack towards the finish. Gerson/Ferrarone made contact with Buttner/Zagol when ducking, and had to do a penalty turn, allowing Carney/Komar to grab the 3rd place; their highest finish of the day. Burd/Duncan had a solid day, showing speed and consistency, but were not able to break into the top three.
The second day of racing got started on time in a similar breeze velocity and direction as Saturday’s racing. At the start of Race 5, it appeared that the right side may not be getting the big shift that was present for most of the prior day, and the regatta leaders found themselves on the outside of a big right shift on the first beat of Race 5. Schulter/Dienhardt had an impressive first beat and led by a significant margin at the top mark. Gerson/Ferrarone did a good job working the right/middle of the race course and rounded in second with Buttner/Zagol in third. Schulter/Dienhardt led for most of the race, but Gerson/Ferrarone were able to sneak by them on the final run for their first race win of the event. Race 6 again proved to be a battle for the right side, and Buttner/Zagol made it look easy after tacking out and taking several transoms off the starting line. On the second beat, Marks/Thompson were able to hitch into a slight lefty at the bottom of the course, moving into second place. However, Buttner/Zagol had superior speed and decision making, which they turned into another race win. Burd/Duncan were consistently in the mix throughout the regatta, and were able to break into the top three in Race 6. Carney/Komar had another solid showing in Race 7, but were narrowly beat by Gerson/Ferrarone right at the finish.
Overall, the regatta was a great success. Particularly impressive were that 3 of the top 5 teams at the regatta had both Crew/Skipper under age 30. It is great to have young guns like Burd, Komar, Duncan, Marks and Carney out there racing 505’s. The event had all the other bells and whistles including open bar, great food, and great company. Everyone should make sure this event is on next year’s calendar. Congratulations to Mark Zagol and Drew Buttner on the decisive victory and Region I Championship.