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505 North American Championships at St. Francis Yacht Club - Preview

by Amanda Witherell 8 Aug 2018 18:11 BST 9-12 August 2018
505 North American Championships © Chris Ray

The 505 North American Championships return to St. Francis Yacht Club this week, August 9-12, 2018, with four days of competition on San Francisco Bay, including the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge distance race.

“Given what the wind’s been like for the past two months I think it’s going to blow the dogs off their chains,” said StFYC’s Mike Martin, one of the seven World Champions who will be competing with team member Adam Lowry. “But 505s are super versatile. You can sail them in anything from five knots to 30 knots.”

Twelve afternoon races are scheduled on the City Front course proximal to the StFYC Clubhouse and between Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. On Thursday, August 9, a day of buoy races will be capped off by an evening distance run from Golden Gate to the Bay Bridge in the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge, which is also open to other classes, including Hydrofoil kites and windsurfers.

“Thursday and Sunday will be the best days to watch from StFYC’s Clubhouse,” said Race Director Jennifer Lancaster. “We’ll be having gate starts, which feature a moving line with boats on starboard tack. It’s a really good way to get a fair start across the long line and it will be cool to watch.”

505s are high-tech, highly adjustable dinghies sailed by two-person crews. Expect to see very physical, fast sailing on plane.

Last time StFYC hosted the Championships was in 2009. This year’s field of competitors has drawn a number of teams to beat. “Light-air specialist Mike Holt sailing with Carl Smit, are ones to watch, as are Ted Conrads sailing with Jeff Nelson and Andy Smith and Rob Woelfel,” said Martin. “Up and comers Eric Anderson and Parker Shinn have been training out of St. Francis all season. They’re a team to watch.”

Current NA Champs Howard Hamlin and Andy Zinn will be back to defend their title. A number of past World Champions will also be on the starting line this year, including Holt (2017, 2015 and 2014); Nelson (2009); Lowry (2016); Smit (2017, 2015); Woefel (2014); Hamlin (1999); and Martin (1999, 2009, 2016).

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