505 Interstate Flying

By Howard Hamlin

Modern fully cored, epoxy 505s are so strong, they survive almost anything, and last forever. Could your boat survive this?


An awful sound jolts me awake, I look out the back window of the van and the 505 transom is dragging on the pavement. The front hold down line on the trailer is broken, the 505 is on the portable launch pad pointing 30 degrees skyward, it's 11:00 at night, we are going 70 miles per hour on Interstate 5, the crosswinds are blowing 40 knots +, and Don Smith is driving looking out the front window trying to figure out what's making the noise. Before I can tell Don to slow down, the rear line snaps and the 505 launches straight skyward 20 feet, then lands on the transom corner, and does cartwheels off into the darkness. "holy shit don, the boat just blew off the trailer!".

While Don is pulling over to the side of the Interstate, I am thinking my luck must have finally run out. Only seven weeks before, Cam [Lewis] and I were snowboarding at June Mountain on an outrageous powder day and I skied off a 12' drop off straight into a giant boulder, shattering my pelvis into three pieces. First me, now my boat; gosh is there going to be nothing left of the boat, I am thinking.

While Don runs, I limp back to the blast off zone and to our surprise, the 505 is in one piece, scratched and dinged on every corner, but laying in a bed of rock and gravel about 100' from the Interstate up against the highway fence. The sails that were in the boat were scattered a couple hundred yards down wind in the farm fields. In fact, one main sail was never even found. Just to prove to us that the boat was doing cartwheels, a screwdriver in the Velcro pouch on the main bulkhead flew out of the pouch and forward several feet then through the 6" inspection port onto the forward watertight bulkhead."

A few hours of cosmetic repairs at Larry Tuttle's shop and the boat looked good as new. Three months later, Cam and I won the North American/Pre-World Championships in Santa Cruz, which seems to say that a 15 year old 505 is as good as new, even after going for an Interstate test flight.


- Howard Hamlin

Editor's Note. Howard sold the boat to Don Smith sometime after the Santa Cruz Worlds. The boat was up in Vancouver for the 1995 Canadians and North Americans, where it hit the gate boat several times, and the big KYC steel pier twice, without sustaining any noticeable damage. It is now 17-18 years of age, and still racing hard.