For example, an older boat probably does not have a Waterat centerboard and rudder, new North sails, and a Proctor "d" mast rigged to current specifications. You could add all that, a centerboard is over $500, a rudder $300, a new suit of sails is about $1400, and a mast is about $1000. You could spend $3200 on your old boat, and you have not even started repairing it and updating the control systems! These investments are probably not reasonable for a 3000 hull number boat, but might well be if you bought a used Superboat such as a Lindsay-hulled Lindsay in the 6900-7300 hull number range (such a boat would also likely have a Proctor "d" and Lindsay or Waterat foils).
There are lots of things you can do to make your old 505 better, and even more competitive without spending that kind of money!
Some of your priorities for improving an older boat might be:
Check the most highly stressed areas of the boat. Check the mast step, the shroud and forestay attachment points, the hiking strap attachment points, the transom and rudder fittings and the centerboard and rudder. Have someone more familiar with 505s look over the boat, and point out any potential problem areas they see.
Fixing the boat so it won't sink is important; your life could depend on it! If you sail the boat with leaky tanks, and you capsize, water will collect in the tanks. Long before the boat has lost bouyancy, it will be harder to sail, and less stable. You will probably capsize again, getting more water in the tanks, making the boat all but impossible to keep upright.
Leaks can easily be fixed - the key is to find them! Buoyancy tanks normally leak where holes have been drilled for fittings, or at the tank/hull joins. The most common approach is to use a vacuum cleaner that can blow air. You pull out the drain plug, sponge soapy water all over the tank, and then very gently bring the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner close to the drain plug opening. Do not simply butt the nozzle right up against the drain plug opening. You could blow the tank off the hull. Gently push air into the tank, and watch for bubbles forming where air is escaping - those are leaks. Leaks where fittings are mounted can be fixed by removing the fitting and re-installing it with silicone seal, or if the mounting holes are worn, filling them with epoxy and then re-drilling and re-installing the fittings. Leaks between the hull and tank join can sometimes be fixed by cleaning and roughening a two inch wide strip over the join, and then epoxying two inch fiberglass tape over the join.
Test your leak repairs, by capsizing the boat in the water, and sitting on it to keep the tank immersed for ten minutes. If you have more than a cup or two of water when you check the tank, look for more leaks!
Leaky bailers can be replaced. You simply need to describe which model of bailer you have to the chandlery where you are purchasing a replacement. Most of the time, the fixed portion of the bailer is fine, but the moving portion and/or the seals between the moving and fixed portions need to be replaced. The seals are separately available. If the moving portion has to be replaced, buy a complete new bailer, remove the moving portion and replace the one in the boat with it. I use soap to lubricate the bailers enough for me to remove and then install the inner moving piece (you have to bend a small stainless steel tab at the back of the moving portion to get it in or out). A more detailed discussion on replacing the inner portion of the Elvstrom bailer is available on this home page.
Leaky centerboard bolt holes can be repaired by buying new rubber washers, and ensuring that the bolt fits tightly in the bolt hole. If the bolt hole has become enlarged, you can repair it by taping over the holes on the inside of the centerboard trunk, filling the holes with an epoxy filler mixture, and then drilling a new bolt hole. Be careful to drill the new hole "squarely" in the boat. Check the tuning sheets for the preferred CB bolt measurement, and fill the old hole and drill a new one in the preferred location if necessary.
Assuming your boat has a jib halyard rather than a stuff luff, you can control rake by easing or tightening your jib halyard. Do you have adjustable shrouds? Most older boats do not. If you have an adjustable forestay/jib halyard AND adjustable shrouds, then you can consider the forestay to be the rake control and the shrouds to be the tension control (yes, I know they both alter both, but this is sort of a first approximation to simplify things).
Try not to think of the mast ram as a mast rake control, but rather as a mast bend control.
The most important setting is the "standard" 25' 8" rake." Assuming you do not have adjustable-while-sailing shrouds, then 25' 8" rake" is where you want to set up the boat. You can always change your shroud length on shore before the race if you are expecting strong wind.
You set up at 25' 8" by hoisting the tape measure on the" main halyard to where you normally hoist the main. Tension the forestay/jib halyard until the shrouds are somewhere around 300-450 lbs. (I use the Loos tension gauge to check this on the shroud, the forestay is usually looser than the shrouds), and then sighting up the mast to see if it is straight sideways and fore and aft. If it is not straight sideways, the shrouds may not be the same length, or the mast gate or mast step may not be exactly in the center of the boat. You may need to adjust one or the other shrouds to get the mast to be straight sideways. To straighten it for and aft, use some ram (you can use wooden blocks in the mast gate) to push it straight. I do not sail with a straight mast, but I measure rake with a straight mast (makes it easier to reproduce settings). Now, once the mast is straight sideways and fore and aft, and you've got close to the right tension on the shrouds. Measure the rake. You almost never want to have a number greater than 25' 8"." Some 505s go to 25' 9" or even 25' 10" for light air, but most don't.
If shrouds and forestay/jib halyard are adjustable, alter them to get to the 25' 8" measurement. whenever you alter" anything, check the mast is still straight fore and aft, and use the ram to get it back to straight. Unfortunately, you can spend a little time easing one control, tightening another, checking tension, then checking mast bend and changing the ram, then checking rake and realizing you've gone to far, and so on.
Even if your shrouds are not adjustable while sailing, you probably have some adjustment available on chainplates, so you can change shroud length on shore while you are checking rake. To increase rake (raking aft, reducing the rake number) for a windy day, you would have to easy everything, undo the shrouds from the chainplates, shorten them by a hole, and then tighten the jib halyard, adjust the ram to keep the mast straight, and check the rake measurement. To decrease rake (raking more upright, increasing the rake number) for a light air day you would ease everything, lengthen the shrouds, tighten the jib halyard, adjust the ram or blocks to straighten the mast, and check the rake measurement.
There is disagreement amongst top North American 505 sailors about light air settings. Some people like raking aft and lots of rig tension (similar to heavy air settings) to flatten the sails. (this requires you to ease the forestay/jib halyard and tighten/shorten the shrouds) I choose to leave the rake at 25' 8" and ease the" rig (by easing my adjustable shrouds) to "soften" the jib luff. You can accomplish the same by lengthening your shrouds on shore, and not putting much rig tension on.
Most 505s rake to depower in heavy air. You would accomplish this by shortening the shrouds on shore, prior to launching. We rake as far back as 25' 4" or even more back."
Remove the aluminum strips, then mount the new gaskets at the front of the centerboard trunk with a couple of screws. I punch a hole in the back of each of the gaskets - behind where it will be cut off to fit the trunk - and use some line to stretch the gaskets - I tie them to the rudder fittings. Then drill through the existing holes in the aluminum strips, and put screws in all the holes. If your gaskets were over-wide - most are as delivered - you can cut them flush with the aluminum rails after they are installed.