DISASTROUS PROPOSAL TO ALLOW CARBON FIBER MASTS AND REDUCE THE 505 MINIMUM WEIGHT SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED.

Howard - who has not yet arranged for access to Internet and e-mail - asked me to circulate this and post it on the home page.
Commentary By: Howard Hamlin

As a previous boat builder and with 20 years of 505 racing, I have never seen a proposal that could cause such tremendous damage to the class as the two now being presented at the 1995 annual general meeting. With all due respect to those presenting the proposal, the concept of allowing carbon fiber masts and reducing the minimum weight, would merely increase the cost to every 505 owner, would not make the boats any more enjoyable to sail and would reduce the number of active racing boats.

Those proposing the rules even admit that a carbon fiber mast can cost three times as much as an aluminum spar. The proponents argue that carbon fiber spars are easier to repair if broken. In 20 years of racing 505's, I have only broken one mast, and furthermore, I would argue that a carbon fiber mast is not easy to repair. Carbon fiber spars are banned in the Australian 18' skiff class, the ultimate trapeze dinghy, because they add tremendous costs with imperceptible speed gains. The point imperceptible speed gains is important, in other words, if you went sailing all alone in a 505 with a carbon fiber mast, you would not notice the difference between that and an aluminum mast, however side by side, the carbon mast would be superior to aluminum, therefore, requiring every competitive 505 owner to spend a couple of thousand dollars to stay competitive.

The next proposal is to reduce the all up minimum weight by 5 kilos. I feel this would be absolutely disastrous for the class. Again, the perceptible speed gains would be non-existent. Yet, you would immediately make nearly every 505 in the world obsolete. The proposers of the rule change argue that the weight savings from carbon fiber spars would amount to 5 kilos. First off, there is no reason to allow carbon fiber spars, but if they were allowed, the weight savings might be approximately 1-2 kilos.

Bottom line is, we will gain nothing in terms of enjoyment of sailing the 505, but will increase the cost, therefore reducing the number of actively competing boats.

The 505 is the greatest 2 person dinghy in the world, because they are inexpensive, long lasting and very high performance. Therefore, we should not vote in rule changes that will increase the cost and reduce the number of competing boats in the world.