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20 January 2004, 10:59 am
Classic Extreme Dinghy Celebrates 50 Years
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505 Golden Anniversary

The 505's Golden Anniversary will be celebrated by several special events including a "Retro" 505 Regatta on the Seine River near Paris, at the site where the first 505 was first launched and sailed. The event will be held 11-12 September.
Several 505s built in 1954 will be competing, along with newer 505s. The 505 class was created on 16 January 1954 when members of the French Caneton Association voted unanimously to adopt John WESTALL'S new design.

The International 505 is for the sailor who can't stop tweaking. A little more mast bend, a little more mast rake, a little adjustment on the spreaders. Everything is possible on the 505 while the race is on.

Reaching a top speed of over twenty knots, the 505 may be best known for being the quintessential two person high performance dinghy, attracting the biggest names in the sailing world including Paul ELVSTROM, John MARSHALL, Dennis SURTEES, Dick DEAVER, Sally LINDSAY, Paul cayard, Steve Benjamin, the McKee brothers, Chris NICHOLSON, Ian BARKER, Howard HAMLIN, Carl and Carol BUCHAN and many, many more. The list of sailors who have won a 505 world or continental championship is impressive. The list of world-class sailors who have tried but not won is much longer.

A restricted development class, the 505 has adopted newer and better technologies over time, without obsolescing hulls.

And the changes never stop. Two years ago, on the class's 48 birthday, the class went with a longer luff spinnaker, to tweak up the speed just a little more. Enthusiasts laughed that it was just pushing the boat that much more making it a "weapon of mass destruction."

But expressing a view very common among 505 crews, US Section Past President Jesse Falsone, says, "The boat is even more fun to race now, I would never go back to the smaller kite."

As the class reaches its golden anniversary and the ripe old age of 50, it boasts over 200 members in the United States and over 1200 worldwide. Fans range from 8 to over 80.

505 racer since 1977, past International Class President Alexander Meller said, "In the first fifty years the 505 was a pioneer in the hull flare, the use of the trapeze, the spinnaker launcher, aluminium spars, synthetic cloth sails, and cored construction with epoxy, Kevlar, and carbon fibre. The next 50 years will see even more development. But the best part is that the boats themselves are not made obsolete. I have a twenty four year old 505 with the latest mast, sails and foils on it. It is as fast as any of the new boats."

The first 505 World Championship was held in La Baule France in 1956. The 50th 505 World Championship will be held in Wannamunde Germany in August of 2005. The 2006 505 World Championship will be held at Hayling Island Sailing Club in England and is being co hosted by the English and French 505 fleets, as those are the two countries where the 505 class was first established.
Ali Meller
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