Dan and Piper power reaching in Santa Cruz breeze. Photo by John Navas

Dan and Piper keeping it flat upwind in Santa Cruz breeze. Photo by John Navas

Piper Dunlap reports in on the 5o5 North Americans in Santa Cruz

Port Townsend sailors, Sugar Flanagan, Sean Rankins, Spencer Snapp, Dan Ginther, and Piper Dunlap all made the pilgrimage to Santa Cruz, CA last weekend to compete in the 2014 505 Dinghy North American Championship Regatta. This was the first time that each of these sailors has competed at this level in the class, and they all came home tired, sore, a little humbled, but satisfied having raced against the best in the land in the classic challenging conditions that Santa Cruz is famous for – ocean swell and 10 to 30 knots of breeze.

Big breeze generally takes its toll though, and Santa Cruz was no exception. There was a lot of boat repair going on ashore. Sugar and Spencer sheared their beautiful spruce rudder off at the lower pintel while practicing in 25 plus before the regatta, but were able to affect repairs and procure a new foil from famed 505 builder, Larry Tuttle, in time for the first race. Dan and Piper had to retire from Race 5 because they broke their tiller extension during a high wind spinnaker gybe which quickly evolved into a capsize. Or was it a capsize that resulted in a broken extension? No one knows for sure!

Click to enlarge images

Dan Ginther marveled at the unique venue where you get to rig and relax in the warmth and calm of the boat park (amongst a fleet of Santa Cruz 27’s, Olson 30’s and Moore 24’s) and then sail out a mile to epic breezy conditions. Sean was like a kid in a candy factory, snapping photos of the various rigging solutions on display in the boat park. One of the unique aspects of 505 culture is the openness of information. After each day of practice and racing a comprehensive debrief was held where the top boats freely divulged their rig settings, strategies, and tactics. The 505 is a developmental class, so although it was designed in 1954 it has been continuously upgraded with performance enhancing changes like high aspect carbon foils, a larger spinnaker, dual auto-spinn poles, composite sails, etc. Consequently, there is plenty to talk about and wrap your brain around during the debriefs and in the boat park. Every day the PT crew came away with valuable tips that were then tested on the water the next day.

It is safe to say that the PT 505ers came home better sailors and more in love with their dinghies than ever. Anyone interested in going for a sail on one of these special little boats should just hail one out on the water this summer. Wetsuit required!

For a full regatta report, results, and John Navas’ great photos go to: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2014/05/27/photos-505-north-american-championship-2014/