Craig Thompson builds out Parker 9108

Great to see that Justin Shaffer’s Parker 9108 is getting a great build out, be interesting to see her on the water this year in action.


Congratulations to Mike Holt and Carl Smit – great achievement in being the 2015 International 505 world champion’s.

Parker international 505
Congratulations to Mike Holt and Carl Smit – 2015 Int. 505 world champion’s.

Pure boat speed, empty race track, lots of time on the water and a man who now know’s how to win, in the best sailing class in the world.

Once may be lucky (I don’t think so), but twice in a row magnificent!

Will he match the great Peter Colclough by delivering 3 in a row in Weymouth 2016?

Watch this space!

Who will win the South African International 505 world’s.

Well it’s hotting up again in the 505 fleet, Mike Holt has hardly had time to polish his trophy from last year win in Germany and it’s up for grabs again (that’s if they find the container)!

So with only 35 boats at this year’s world (Parker’s actually offered to ship our moulds to South Africa 18 months ago to build the class for the event, but the offer was refused! – maybe a mistake) it’s going to be a bit of drag race to the finish.

So tactics, may not be the biggest play this year, but protecting your position will be as a right or left big shift if not covered could really mix up the final placings. So in reality there are only 10 boats in with a shout, but with so much space on the race track, a bad leg may not kill the opportunity to post good numbers.

So here goes. Mike Holt has to be the favorite, back with Carl Smit his long-term crew, he has more time on the water than anyone else, tactically he is much better through the wind-range and keeping his head out of the boat. He is on form, fast, becoming reliable and love’s the big winds and seas, so South Africa will suit his style.

Jan Saugmann is not a man to be mixed with twice world champion and now settled into his new Polish built boat, he is a fearsome competitor and is very hot on the first windward leg, he will post good numbers and has a real chance to take this title. He is using a boat with a port-side launcher (similar to the waterat’s of the past), will it be advantageous to have that greater projected sail-area on the first beat?

Then Ian Pinnell, a professional sailor, multi-talented, previous world champion will post some serious numbers and is very comfortable through the wind range, if he can post some early numbers on the board he will be a consistent danger throughout, tactically – the best.

Ted Conrads with Brian Haines, have posted many wins at the worlds, but just not been able to string the numbers in a consistent manner to threaten a title win. Ted with his new family, is probably short on boat time, but he knows his way around a fleet and has some serious speed. One day he is going to be a world champion I have no doubt.

Howie Hamlin, is just Howie, always a threat and with Jeff Nelson on board Mike Martin’s world champion winning crew, he is a dangerous competitor, but with boat troubles (he has one boat in that container fiasco), he has had to rig a new bear hull from scratch along with foils, sails, fittings and set-up, this is a tall order. However, if anyone can do it, Howie can!

Sandy Higgins, will always be up in the top 10 – hot Aussie will post good numbers in the big wind and waves, so watch-out for him.

The disruptors, Stefan Bohm and Terry Scutcher, two very talented sailors and Terry in particular from his current laser performances and affinity to high wind sailing could cause some problems.

However, after this the fleet is weak, so my money’s on Holty (with Ian hovering around closely), being able to polish that trophy (again!) when it finally arrives back on the shores of California.

The Polish enter the International 505 class as builders for the first time.

Parker International 505
Great to see another International 505 builder in the mix to compete against Holgar Jess over expensive Ovington designs

The 505 fleet has another builder, the Polish have produced a new derivative with a few modifications. Mainly an offset port-side spinnaker chute, copying the US teams of the 1980’s out of the Larry Tuttle (Waterat)/Lindsay shop. The overall design is remarkably similar to the Rondar but has (probably) been substantially influenced jointly by Jan Saugmann the twice Int. 505 world champion.

I sailed against Jan in Australia back in 2011 and he is very tactical on the 1st windward leg, always looking for clear air and climbs very high with speed when he can, so I can see where he is coming from. As the world’s fleets get bigger again 150 plus, it is vital to be in the top 20 at the windward mark otherwise you are dead in these predominately drag race upwind and gybing reaching legs.

The offset chute enables two things, a slightly lighter bow (not much by the way), but more importantly the ability to move the jib tack, much further forward, Steve Benjamin (USA) the 1980 world champion used this method very successfully (with bags in those days – but Steve came from the 470 class so was well equipped to handle the spinnaker (being quite small back then)). This means you have more apparent sail area on the wind, so potentially providing much more power up-wind, if you can control the slot.

If done right you are gone probably gaining 50/100 meters or more by the 1st windward mark. Also considering the 1st launch now is 90% on an initial starboard reach (because of the windward offset separator-mark for the first turn), then your 1st rounding is almost free of charge and considering you are only going to launch for 3 more times during the race, the risk of a gybe launch is fairly limited.

The only other problem that you may encounter is dropping the windward guy under the boat, this is a killer and ultimately non-recoverable without much disturbance. To counter this it’s generally recommended to put a 6″ wire/rod catcher on the bow to pick up the dropping loose guy.

After this major difference there is the usual comments on a finer bow and flatter stern in-common with the new Ovington the boat has a traditional deck-lines and tight forepeak. A carbon jib aperture that sticks out into the boat a little further forward than normal for the bow jib forestay, so the slot angles and leech tensions can be altered.

The boat is fairly empty in the middle with not much support around the mast gate and centerboard case, so there may be some movement here and a weird stern dip in the transom and the same (possible) problematic hull and deck joint inherited from the Rondar’s of the past.

The Polish fleet is very very active with one of the fastest growing fleets around and no doubt with the expense of the Holgar Jess boats being out of range for most sailors it’s a welcome change to see another builder entering the class with something different at a much lower price. Along with new foils from the same country Poland will be a keen builder and provider of International 505’s in the near future. I wish them all the best. As for the world’s:

The boat’s entrance into the 2014 world’s in Kiel will be interesting, the event can have variable wind ranges, the German’s will be mainly in new Ovington’s from Holgar and with a likely massive turnout, anyone having a chance to put some air between them and the rest of the fleet on the 1st leg has some chances. Personally the German’s may work the fleet to their advantage and don’t be surprised if Wolfgang Hunger picks up his 6th world championship title.

Is the 505 going back to the dark days . . . .

Is the Int 505 class loosing it’s way again, boat figures for 2013 were very low and 2014 will only be lifted by the fact that the worlds are being held at Kiel, Germany the current heartland of International 505 activity.

While you have to accept and congratulate John Westall’s rules on keeping the boat open for innovation, has this just gone too far? The result being we now new boats costing around 30,000 Euro’s too much for most sailors who can get better “bucks” for their money elsewhere.

Pip Pearson (President of the class) has openly suggested changes to the class, that I believe simplify and increasingly complex boat, but don’t reduce the excitement or performance of the racing.

Removing adjustable shroud tracks, lifting pins, gybing centerboards and dual spinnaker poles, will remove around $2,000 of cost of any boat and most of the class boats can be adapted to this change, It will also reduce the weight.

Also, why is the class using carbon spinnaker poles and booms, when every boat carries correctors to meet the minimum weight? Just doesn’t make sense, either ban them (reducing cost more) or reduce the minimum weight by 10kg, so it makes sense to use them.

Lighter boats are faster boats (and looking at the average of the sailors) we all need lighter boats, we are not getting any younger.

So we either let the Holgar Jess price the class out of existence (this is not a dig, he has done terrific work in keeping the class going), but it’s not the long term solution.

We need a competitive fleet on the water for less than 20,000 Euro including taxes, otherwise the class will continue to struggle in this competitive market place.

Take note everyone and stop sticking your heads in the mud, Holgar you can help, stop producing complicated boats and the class make some decisions for “g*d-sake” for the good of the class.

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

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.