Saturday, May 28, 2016

2016 505 North American Championship Form Guide - Craig Thompson

Next week we begin the 2016 505 North American Championship, hosted by Bellingham Yacht Club. Learn more about what to watch for during the event below:
This regatta will be the largest 505 turnout on US waters since the 2009 pre-worlds in San Fransisco. With the US hosting the Worlds in 2017, it is great to see the growing numbers of sailors who are jointing the US 505 class. This year, 51 teams from across the continent are registered to compete next week, below is a preview of the notable entries that will likely be vying for the top spots:

Dalton Bergan / Fritz Lanzinger - Seattle, WA: Dalton and Frtiz have not sailed together at the NA's in a few years, but these two are always at the front of the fleet, regardless of the class they are competing in or who they are sailing with. Neither competitor has won this event in the past and these two will be hungry for the win.

Mike and Adam rounding a leeward mark at the 2014 NA's
Mike Martin / Adam Lowry - San Francisco, CA: After a kiteboarding accident prior to the 2015 NA's, Mike was unable to race. Mike and Adam narrowly missed the 2014 title in Santa Cruz, finishing 1 point back from winners Howie and Andy. If the breeze is up, they will definitely be setting the pace. But don't be surprised to see the in front across the wind range.

Carol Buchan / Carl Buchan - Seattle, WA: The Buchans, who have sailed 505's since the late 1970's, have not been very active in the class since the 2004 Worlds in Santa Cruz, where they had a very strong event in a mix of conditions. I guess it always helps to have an Olympic Gold Medalist in the front of the boat. This will be a particularly strong team in light to moderate breeze. Be sure to check out the simplicity of the rigging on their Rondar. I have seen few control lines on a Laser.

Mark Zagol / Drew Buttner - Westwood, MA / Stonnington, CT: Mark and Drew won the 2013 NA's in Kingston, ON and are eager to win another title. These guys are fresh off a dominant victory at the 2016 Florida Midwinters at the end of February. Drew has been doing double time this year, sailing with Tyler Moore in the international events and Mark in the US events. Look out for a strong performance from Mark and Drew.

Riley Gibbs / Reeve Dunne - Long Beach, CA / San Francisco, CA: Riley and Reeve stormed onto the scene last year at the NA's by finishing an amazing 5th place overall. Reeve has relocated to San Francisco, but that hasn't stopped them from putting the band back together for this event. After spending a few nights sailing with the guys in Long Beach, there is no mystery as to why Riley has been able to get up to form so quickly.

Riley and Andy Zinn put on a clinic at the recent "Thrilla at Cabrillo"
Howie Hamlin / Jeff Nelson - Long Beach, CA: Howie Hamlin will again the defending his North American Championship, this year with crew Jeff Nelson. They are one of the favorites to win this event; especially if there is a variety of conditions which we are expecting to see in Bellingham. Howie has been sailing his new Waterat and it is going quite nicely. Jeff has held the NA's trophy 4 times, but never when sailing with Howie.

Mike Holt / Carl Smit - (Soquel, CA / Annapolis, MD): Mike and Carl are the defending World Champions, and will be defending the world title later this summer in Weymouth. Mike has won the past 2 Worlds, winning in 2014 with Rob Woelfel, and Carl in 2015. These two recently won the 2016 Euro Cup in Hyeres. Not many people have been competitive at as many International Events as these guys have over the past decade. Mike and Carl will be contending for the Championship on Sunday.

Parker Shinn / Paul Von Grey- (San Fransisco, CA / Oak Harbor, WA): Class Vice President Paul Von Grey (or "PVG", has he is commonly referred to) has been the spark-plug that is driving the massive fleet growth in the Pacific Northwest. Parker is always competitive and these two have had some notable events together int he past few years. These two could be fighting for a top 5 finish.

Tyler and Rob rounding a leeward mark at the 2012 NA's.
Tyler Moore / Rob Woelfel - (Hampton, VA / Reno, NV): Tyler and Rob won the NA's together back in 2012. Rob has since won the 2014 Worlds crewing for Mike Holt in Germany. Tyler and Rob will be sailing a chartered boat, which may be a challenge. However, these guys don't make a lot of tactical mistakes, so if they have solid boat speed they will be a safe bet to finish in the top 3.

JB Turney / Tommy Fink - (San Francisco, CA): JB has been a strong contender in the class for over 10 years. JB and Tommy have been training with Mike/Adam on Tuesday nights on the City Front, so look for them to be sharp and ready to contend for the top slots. They will be particularly strong in a mix of conditions.

Notable scratches:

Ethan Bixby: After contending for the North American Title in 2015 and finishing a close second, Ethan will not be attending this year.
Augie Diaz: Augie recently won a Star World Title, but has had to miss the NA's two years running. He will surely be at the 2017 Worlds in Annapolis next year.
Keith Davids / Jesse Falsone: After a solid 4th place at last year's event, these two could not make it. Rumor has it that Jesse may be upgrading to a Hillary sticker for this year.
Thomas Barrows/Matt Barry: Thomas is in the middle of a 49er Olympic bid, and Matt Barry and his friends have been too busy sunbathing off the southern coast of St. Bart's with spider monkeys

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