British designer John Westell originally designed the 18-foot “Coronet” as a contender for a berth as a two-person performance dinghy in the Olympic Games, but the deign lost out during the International Yacht Racing Union’s 1953 selection trials to the Flyting Dutchman. While this was a setback, the following year Westell was invited by the Caneton Association of France to modify his design, and he eventually settled on a design that was a moniker-generating 5.05 meters, LOA. Good-by Coronet, hello Five-oh-Five.
While the newly minted International 505 was a slightly decaffeinated version of the Coronet (shorter LOA, reduced sail area, reduced displacement), the two-person, single-trapeze 505 proved to be a rocketship and immediately started drawing some of the biggest names in high-performance sailing, including the late, great Paul Elvstrom, who claimed top honors in 1957 and 1958 and second-place honors in 1966.
The first boats were built from cold-molded plywood, but contemporary builds use fiberglass or carbon fiber and epoxy resins, as well as core materials such as foam or balsa wood, and modern rigs are aluminum with carbon-fiber booms and spinnaker poles. The class rules tightly regulate the boat’s sailplan and hull (shape and minimum weights), but the centerboard, rudder, mast, rigging, and, critically, the control layout, are open for designers and teams to innovate.
The class has held yearly World Championships since 1956 to determine its fastest guns, and the event typically migrates between North America, Europe and southern hemisphere destinations. The 2019 505 World Championships are being hosted by the Fremantle Sailing Club and will unfurl on the typically windy waters off of Fremantle, Australia from December 29, 2018-January 7, 2019.
I checked in with Andrew Cawley, who serves as Western Australian 505 President, via email, to find out more about the class’ exciting 2019 world-championship regatta.