I have always heard about the 505, and now that I have graduated college (Brown ’15) I decided that it was the perfect time to check it out. A quick call to my good friend Parry Barclay and next thing I know I had a ride (Drew Buttner thankfully for took a leap of faith and hopped in the boat with me!) for the High Performance Dinghy Open hosted by American Yacht Club in Rye, NY. There was a solid fleet of twelve 505s, and a total of seven races over the course of the weekend.
This of course was my first time in a 505, so Drew gave me a crash course on Saturday morning. Then into the water and off the beach we pushed. As a newcomer to the 505, I wasn’t particularly heartbroken to find light breeze on the Saturday. As much as I love the adrenaline rush of flying downwind with a kite up, I have to admit it was nice to have a 5-10 knot introduction.
We sailed race one on Saturday morning in a dying northerly, which couldn’t really decide which direction it wanted to come from. There were some pretty huge angle and direction changes, making the sailing resemble a college race on the Charles River where positions in the fleet can change drastically at any time. The trick seemed to be to hedge left, since there the righties were limited and hard to take back across the course, but conditions were so variable that there were definitely exceptions to this. We had our ups and downs and managed to catch a nice shift and come back from a deep hole to finish 3rd. Ben Greenfield & Mike Komar stole the show and easily won the race.
Unfortunately the breeze died after the first race, leaving us all to float in postponement for a few hours before we could get any more racing in. With all the new control lines in the boat, Drew and I had plenty to talk about! When we did get going again it was in very light and variable conditions, and we finished the day with three races. The fleet was very tight throughout the day, and points were close at the end of it. Drew and I managed to win the two light wind races as I felt very comfortable in college-like conditions. We were tied for the top spot with Greenfield / Komar and Kivney / Russell only a couple of points behind us.
Sunday’s conditions were much more suitable for 505 racing. It was a classically beautiful fall day, with 8-12 knots of wind out of the south. The conditions were much more stable than they were on Saturday, and being in the front of the fleet was largely about having good boat speed through the chop and staying in phase with the oscillations. As a 505 newbie I was glad to have the chance to do some wire running, and especially happy that I had Drew in the front of the boat to coach me on how to drive the boat.
The racing on Sunday remained close; there were a lot of lead changes, and the regatta was up for grabs right through the last race. In the end, Drew and I were able to pull ahead, catching a few key points during the downwind legs of the last race. Greenfield / Komar finished in second just a few points behind us. A really close battle for 3rd with Falsone / Brendan winning the last race of the regatta and almost catching Scannell / O’Bryan (won two races on Sunday) and Kivney
The 2015 HPDO was a great weekend of 505 sailing, but I’ve been told that I’d need to experience the boat with at least 5 or 10 more knots of breeze to really know what it is like. I do have to say, however, that for a crash course in the boat, it was pretty perfect.
Full results: http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=1458
Photoboat Gallery: http://www.photoboatgallery.net/2015-hpdo-photos