International 505 measurement class rules issue

There has been much discussion on the social networks around Parker’s comments on the measurement issues around the current International 505 fleet and I thought it would be appropriate to outline our position, our reasons for bringing this matter up and  an explanation of our views.

The International 505 committee and IRC (including the ISAF) have a duty to apply the measurement rules set out in section B of the International 505 class rules. These rules are a reflection of John Westell’s desire and design to ensure that the International 505 fleet remained as far and as equal as possible.

These rules clearly outline what is and what is not allowed in the building of an International 505 and it is the duty of the IRC and the builders/suppliers to ensure that the sailers, investors and clients who purchase such boats have a legally measured hull, rig, sails and foils.

But let’s clear one thing up for sure. Parker’s are about fair play, I have no issue with boats that measure Waterat’s, Fremantle’s and others. I do have a problem, when a manufacturer pretends to sell boats that they know don’t conform to the rules, but are too lazy to do anything about it!

It is a purely commercial position that Parker’s do not lend or give boats away, after investing heavily in producing an all new boat, we need to make boats for paying customers, so please resist the chanting in the hallways about Parker’s proving themselves, we did that in the past and won 15 world championships in the making. If you would like to sail a Parker 505, then we will be delighted to build one for you.

So here we go.

1. It’s not good enough to say “let it go . . .”, “lets move on . . .”, when it is clear the class has a problem with boats that don’t measure. Let me put it this way, most of the fleet would complain like screaming cats, if a competitor had a centerboard that was 147 cm below the hull-band, or a main roach that was too big, an oversized spinnaker or mast too long, right? So don’t be hypocritical and walk away from the boat measurement issue when you know it’s wrong.

2. Parker’s when re-entering the class measured many early 900X boats and found none exactly measured the same, in fact they were way different, so we raised this with and chief measurer, president and IRC of the class in La Rochelle at the 2011 worlds. Our feeling was that their was a little bit of a cover-up going on, it was clear during our discussions that we had hit a raw nerve somewhere and the impression we were left with was – “please go away and don’t make trouble”, again not an acceptable position by the 505 IRC.

3. Then you have to look behind the reason to why the class has boats that don’t measure and this lies firmly with the manufacturer and with the management of the IRC. A builder must know what he is building and surely any good builder would measure his own boats before delivering them to the client? Clearly this has not been the case.

Secondly, you would have thought that the class measurers and the IRC would have noticed during each boats official measurement certificate inspection that they did not measure? Again not the case, because we know that many boats were not even measured and just issued with a “pre-filled measurement certificates.” So for all of those out there commenting on Facebook about “my boat measures because I have a certificate” – I personally wouldn’t be so confident that this is the case!

4. There is a problem with rule 4.6 that states the “client is responsible for ensuring that the boat measures”, well that’s true in part, however, the client must also presume that the goods provided are “fit for purpose” actually are! So I think this rule does not protect the sailer in any way and needs modifying to some extent.

5. In the “old days” all boats were measured as far as possible before they left the builders factory, ensuring that if there was a measurement problem that this could be rectified before the client received the boat. This common sense approach appears to have vanished.

6.  Now boats are scattered all over the world, I cannot see sense in the fact that “any authorized” in country ISAF approved measurer can issue a measurement certificate for a boat. What happens to boats that go to Oman? The Int. 505 is not a straightforward boat to measure, you really need to know where to lay the templates, particularly because of the issues around the perpendicular transom lines at section 11.

There is no consistency in the IRC measurement process, I have seen many measurers not knowing where to put templates on the boat and as a result measuring incorrectly. Parker’s have the luxury of having Bill Parker a 25+ year veteran of the International Rules Committee as technical advisor and good friend of John Westell to ensure that our boats do comply.

7. It is unacceptable just to give boats “dispensation” when they don’t measure, someone is at fault and the manufacturer should replace the boats. The current “walk-away” policy of the IRC is wrong. Would this happen in F1, or the America’s Cup, no, so why is it acceptable to allow illegal boats to sail in the class?

8. There is a consumer protection law in the UK that states that “goods must be fit for purpose and represent a true reflection of the service or product sold”, clearly not in this case. I would expect that the manufacturers warranty would cover any customer who wishes to return his boat.

9. The builder responsible for these boats, even claimed on Facebook on XXX that “the Ovington boat will measure (referring to the past Rondars)”, which to me is a fairly damning admission that the previous boats didn’t. What’s more disturbing is that the builder obviously knew he was supplying illegal boats into the class.

10. SAP are a major corporate sponsor of the Int. 505, to such an extent that without there involvement the class would be in dire-straights, so you would have thought that at the least the Int. 505 class could ensure that everyone is playing by the rules. I bet they will not be happy if they were more aware of the situation.

11. All world champion winning boats from the last 10 years should be remeasured (if they are still sailing) and if found to be illegal they should be removed from the winning boat register.

So in closing our complaint, is the fact that it is “the Class Ruling Committees” that are the guilty parties and they have been hiding and ducking away from their responsibilities and bringing their own sport into disrepute. This has been going on for some time and unfortunately by not doing anything about it, they have backed themselves into a corner. It’s now time for the ISAF ruling body to sort this mess out.

Finally, Parker’s measure all of there boats as far as they can to ensure that we comply with the rules, why shouldn’t the others have followed a simple common-sense approach as none of these measurement issues would have arisen.

David Parker

505 Rig Tuning – Craig Thompson – USA

Here’s an interesting view from Craig Thompson on tuning a 505 rig.

If you spend any time doing boat calibration/setup this weekend, I think it would be worth while to try to verify the consistency of the conventional rake measurement system. My suggestion would be to put your rig at what you think is the base setting of 25′-8″ and then measure your mast rake using the alternate method that Ethan Bixby came up with many years ago:

Without the jib hoisted, attach a tape measure to your jib halyard and hoist it until the zero mark is at the top of the boom black band. Cleat the halyard and swing it forward to the extreme upper forward corner of the bow, where stem, gunwales and deck all meet. Essentially the top forward point on the centerline of the bow. Rig tension does change this measurement slightly, but mast bend does not. Therefore it is much easier to check and relate rakes over a wide range of hulls and rigs.

Measurement range should be as follows:

Mast Rake Mast Rake
Measured Forward Measured Aft
3′ 4″ 25′ 8″
3′ 5″ 25′ 6″
3′ 6″ 25′ 3.5″
3′ 7″ 25′ 2″
3′ 8″ 25′ 1″
3′ 9″ 24′ 11″
3′ 10″ 24′ 8″
3′ 11″ 24′ 6″

My understanding is that when Glaser tuning guide was first developed with the west coast fleet, pretty much everyone was sailing a Larry Tuttle rigged Waterat which made it easy to compare setup. Now more than ever, we have people sailing many different boat types, and I think it would be an overall benefit to the class if we came up with a calibration system that was more repeatable. The standard calibration method has too many opportunities for error. Transom height, rig tension, how tight you pull the tape measure, mast bend, how high you raise the main halyard when attached to the tape measure can all significantly affect the intended reading of a given mast rake. I can tell you first hand because my old Waterat had a unique transom that was flush with Station 11 and was higher than the Waterat standard. This resulted in a reading that was about 2″ greater using the standard method. The Rondar transom geometry is different from the Waterat as well. In theory, Ethan Bixby’s system should be far more accurate and repeatable.

It would be interesting just to cross reference this alternate mast rake measurement and see how consistent people’s calibration is using the conventional measurement system. I hope you guys have a great weekend of training. I wish I could be there.

Craig Thompson

505 Hull tactics for the 2014 season.

Things are changing rapidly for the first time in many years in the hull and boat configurations now available in the 505 fleet. After 20 years of Rondar domination, with a few other waterat’s and fremantle hulls, 2013 see’s a major change in available hull designs.

The polish have entered the fleet, with what looks like a copy of the Rondar moulds. With few internal structural elements, between the hull center-line and the critical front bulkhead to centerboard casing, it will be interesting to see how stiff this boat will be particularly upwind in tough conditions. She does have an offset port-side spinnaker chute (originated by the USA teams back in the 1980’s), which is trying to lighten the ends to increase performance on the critical first windward leg.

Ovington are entering the market, supplying Holgar Jess and others, they have returned the Rondar moulds back to the manufacturer (Ouch! – lets see if Rondar’s can be bothered to re-engineer their moulds) after years of producing less than perfect boats. Let’s hope that Ovington can build boats that actually measure this time round?

Parker’s return with a revolutionary  and innovative International 505, engineered for maximum performance and acceleration, this boat has been optimized for the higher range performance, not ignoring the variable European and East Coast USA weather conditions, but primed for the very high winds and wave patterns of San Francisco bay.

Getting the most out of performance racing dinghy design is a combination of understanding how International 505 hulls perform. In the past most believe that extremely narrow and flat boats are best. However, these are slow in the turn and become sticky in tough acceleration and de-acceleration environments. Fuller boats, stand higher, though they have more surface area, they are more tolerant to variable speeds and as such accelerate much faster to the optimum speed.

So Parker’s have build an “acceleration” model, through extensive study of events like the San Francisco (2009) worlds and Hamilton Island (2011) top performers and 30 years working with the likes of Steve Benjamin, Peter Colclough and Krister Bergstrom, to produce a hull that is super-stiff. With (17) interconnecting mono-cock hull structures (a structure, such as an aircraft or boat, in which the skin absorbs all or most of the stresses to which the body is subjected) with rigid fore and aft structures connecting the forward bulkhead, through the mast gate to the front of the centerboard case, thus reducing flexing and energy dispersion (that slows the hull down). This maximizes the power generated through the hull, and when you power up, you want this power in straight-line speed not bending the hull out of alignment.

Parker’s have also maximized the boat width, being some 8 mm wider than the past Rondars and to the maximum hull length, ensuring maximum upwind performance.

The addition of the first A-frame mast-gate also stiffens the boat in critical areas and locks the boat in (essentially the boat hull cannot flex in any direction), but this also opens up the crowded mast-gate bulkhead/deck intersection, making the boat easier to rig, operate and set-up.

So the worlds in Kiel 2014 will be interesting, lots of older Rondar 505’s will be on the water with world class sailors and a few new Ovington’s (perhaps) and a similar handful of Polish and Parker’s, game-on!~

Being biased, I know which boat I will be in.

David Parker with Bruce Parker are the co-designers and builders of the Parker International 505.

An Interview with Parker Shinn – East Coast US 505 sailor

David Parker, had the opportunity to interview Parker Shinn who has been delivering some great results recently, so here’s some insights into sailing the International 505.

Parker 505

“What is it about the International 505 experience keeps you attracted to the class?”
Parker Shinn The 505 is in many ways the perfect combination. The boat is exciting, challenging to sail and offers excellent racing all around the world. At the same time, it’s hard to find better people in any class. There is a strong sense of friendship and camaraderie which is easy to see based on how much people are willing to help one another. It’s hard to to find anything better.

“If there is one innovation that the class must do to keep the class growing what do you think this should be?”

I think it’s important to strike a balance when it comes to innovation and thus far the 505 class has done an excellent job managing that process over the past several decades. I’m not sure there are any huge changes I would make to the boat, but one thing I think would be easy to do is lower the minimum weight since pretty much every boat out there carries corrector weights. With all the new materials now even the older boats are underweight and a lighter boat would liven it up a bit.

“Watching you sail, I get the impression that you read the wind shifts a lot.How are you calculating/co-ordinating the shifts with your crew and what changes do you make in the boat once you decide on a shift tactic?”

That’s a pretty complicated question, but I think it’s critical to have good communication with your crew. As a skipper in a 505 your hands are pretty full making adjustments and steering the boat well so I’ll consistently ask my crew questions about how certain things are unfolding on the race course. Usually we’re talking about compass headings, our angles compared to other boats, what mode we should be in based upon what we are trying to do tactically, and where pressure is on the course. If we’re consistently talking about these things it helps me to keep a mental picture of the race course. Then I can take shorter glances away from the boat to ultimately make a tactical decision.

“Which past or current 505 sailor inspires you and why?”

Howie Hamlin and Mike Martin have had the largest impact on my 505 sailing. They were the ones who helped me get into the class when I was young and gave me a lot of great examples to follow. The professionalism of their entire program was something that I hadn’t seen before and gave me an understanding of what it took to be the best, but it never detracted from their willingness to help other people in the class (myself included).

“I believe that the Barbados 505 worlds in April is your 4th 505 worlds event. What’s your personal goal?”

The last one I raced was in Adelaide and we had a respectable finish in the top 30, but I think there’s a lot plenty of room to improve. I learned after that worlds that I had been sailing with a centerboard beak that was too short for the past several years, which made it difficult to put the bow down in breeze so we always felt off the pace. The boat I’m racing now feels tuned really well so I’m excited to see how we do and I’m hoping for a personal best.

“Give a new-comer some advice on sailing the 505?”

Find the best people and ask them tons of questions. Sit next to them at dinner or find them after racing in the boat park and pick their brains on tuning, tactics, rigging systems, technique and anything else you can think of. The 505 is a complex boat but that’s part of the beauty of it. It takes a long time to learn how to tune it perfectly for every condition and you can dramatically speed up the process. There is a wealth of knowledge and most people are glad to share it.

Parker, thank you for sharing some insights.