The Care and Feeding of Your 505

How to Treat Your 505 So it Stays Fast and Holds its Value

Updated 19 August, 2002

Every now and then I see a mistreated 505 in a dinghy park and am appalled at how it has been left. Sometimes an owner has lost interest (and should probably sell the boat to someone who will race it and take better care of it), sometimes new owners simply have not learned some of the tricks to taking care of a 505. Your 505 will be faster and will retain more value, longer, if you take a little care with it.

Leave Portholes and Drain Bungs Open When Not Actually Sailing the Boat

Just about the last thing you should do before launching, and almost the first thing you should do when the boat is back ashore, is close or open the portholes and drain bungs. Always leave the boat with the drain bungs open and the portholes open, so the tanks can dry out. Obviously you want them closed before you put the boat in the water. Moisture is terrible for boats; both polyester and wood will soak up water if water remains on their surfaces for extended periods of time. I have seen finishes lifted of foredecks, core become waterlogged, boats gain weight, and more, from leaving moisture in the tanks, held in by sealed tanks. Even if the tank is perfectly dry, and perfectly sealed consider what may happen in changing temperatures, and the resulting suction or pressure on the tank.

Prop Boat Bow Up so it Drains

Prop up the boat so that it drains. I prefer to prop the bow up high so that it drains out of the transom drains, and frequently stick a piece of carpet under the transom and raise the boat until the transom touches the carpet. I use a saw horse or short step ladder to rest the front of the trolley on. Some people prop the bow lower such that the boat drains out of the aft Elvstrom bailer. I also normally leave the aft bailer open.

Keep Small Loose Gear In One Place

Keep the hatches, drain bungs and other loose gear in one place, so you know they will always be there. On my bag boat I keep all this stuff in the starboard spinnaker bag.

Roll Sails and Leave In Boat

I normally leave the mainsail on the boom, if I will be sailing the boat again soon. I roll up the main from the head, perpendicular to the luff, so that it ends up in a roll parallel to the boom. I also roll the jib up, put it inside the jib bag, and leave that in the boat. I would take a good spinnaker out of the bag or launcher spread it out to dry, and then fold it, but an older spinnaker can stay in the bag. For a launcher boat and a no-longer-new spinnaker, leave the halyard, retrieval line and sheets attached, pull the spinnaker out of the tube and spread it on top of everything else in the cockpit. This allows both the spinnaker and the launcher tube to dry out. UV damage should not be a problem if you have a good top cover.

Take Care With the Bottom at the Transom

Many older 505s have been damaged -- and some left un repaired -- at the transom. The boats touched the ground when they were being wheeled about on their trolley and some of the gelcoat or paint has worn away. As above, I leave the boat propped up with carpet jammed underneath the transom at centerline, and take care when wheeling it about on its trolley to avoid dragging the back of the boat on the ground. If you do damage this area, repair it. It does not do the water flow over the rudder any good, to have turbulence induced just before the surface water hits the rudder blade.

Ensure the Centreboard is not Sticking Out Below the Bottom of the Centreboard Trunk

Leaving the board resting on the trolley or trailer may damage the leading edge, and you want your slot gaskets left flat (in the normal closed position), so they do not take on a permanent bend. If the centreboard up control does not have a shockcord takeup, I pop the line into a cleat, so the board is held all the way up, in the centerboard trunk.

Check the Foils for Dings and Cracks

From time to time take your centerboard out of the boat and check both centerboard and rudder for dings, cracks etc. Pay particular attention to the centerboard bolt hole. If the bolt hole has been damaged such that water can get in, wooden cored boards will soak up water, start to rot and will be weakened. Seal all bare wood with epoxy. Anytime you run aground you should check the CB.

Careful With That Rudder

Lay the rudder in the boat; I put the tiller along the hull-tank join in the bottom and lay the blade tip over the far tank. I believe this reduces the chances of damaging the trailing edge of the blade. I also buy or make a rudder bag and put the rudder blade in the bag as one of the first steps in derigging the boat.

Also check your rudder fittings. There should be no play in them. Replace them when they are worn.

Some Rig Tension

Leave the boat with a little rig tension to support the mast, but not so much as to load up the boat.

Cover it

The boat should be covered with a good top cover that shields the boat from UV radiation. If the cover has holes in it, fix it or replace it. Figure out how to support the cover so that water does not collect in it.

Rinse Off Salt

Rinse salt water off the boat, rinsing out blocks, lines and once in awhile, inside the tanks. If the tanks ever leak, you get salt in the tanks, and you want to rinse that out from time to time.

No Bow Drain

Do not install a drain in the bow tank unless you really need to! It is the most likely source of leaks. There are very few or no fittings holes into the bow tank, so if it doesn't leak, simply air it out by leaving the port open when not sailing. If the bow tank does leak, why not fix the leaks rather than installing a drain and probably introducing leaks.


Ensure the boat is well supported on the trolley. Most of the boat's weight should be taken by the center support, less by the supports on the rail and near the bow. Many people pad the trailer supports with carpet or close celled foam to better pad the hull. Some people also pad or wrap carpet around the main cross piece and the uprights of the trolley, so the hull is not scratched when you are floating the boat on or off the trolley. You should also tie the boat to the trolley so that it cannot be blown off, and in some areas, boats and trolleys should be tied to tie-downs in the ground, so that the boat and trolley cannot be blown over.

Loosen Taught Shockcords

If you have very tight shockcords, ease them off when packing up the boat. Shockcord left taught will not last as long. Lower the trapeze handle using the height adjusters, and un clip other high tension shockcords.

Lubricate Spreader Angle Adjusters

If you have adjustable angle spreaders, lubricate the adjusters. I use turnbuckle grease. If you don't lubricate these the stainless steel threaded part will permanently bond to the aluminum, and you will not be able to adjust them ever again.

Check the chainplate

There are lots of highly loaded areas on a 505. The chainplates are among them. Check where your shrouds and forestay or jib halyard attach to the hull. Watch for cracks that could let water into wooden reinforcements. Heavily loaded fasteners should be epoxied into the boat.

Gear Bag

After sailing, and after rinsing out or washing, and drying your sailing gear, put it back in a gear bag. Little is more frustrating than showing up at the sailing club on a a gorgeous day, only to discover that you left your sailing boots or some other piece of important gear, at home.