The 505 Fleet descended into Kingston, Ontario from August 6th to 11th for the 2013 505 North American Championship. A fleet of just under 30 boats came to the line with a very impressive ten coming all the way from the West Coast. More impressive still, seven of the boats were driven by female skippers and there was also a very high number of young sailors racing with 10 sailors under 30. See the pics of these groups posted on the American Section Facebook page!
Racing was held over four days with sunshine and light winds being the predominant conditions, and Kingston’s famed sea-breeze only making an appearance for the final race – and of course for the packing of the container! The key to success was good starts, speed and more importantly nailing the shifts and staying in what breeze there was. The first two days of racing featured 40-50 degree shifts and 10 knot variations in wind strength across the course and keeping the score low was the game to play. Two boats were doing far better at this than the rest of us in the first half of the regatta – Mark Zagol and Drew Butner and Augie Diaz and Tommy Fink, with the former team slowly pulling away as the event ran its course. However the depth of the fleet was easy to be seen with seven different teams winning races over the course of the eleven race series, and almost every boat in the fleet getting into the top ten at some stage.
Socially, Kingston never disappoints. Flo and Jeff Boyd kindly held a spectacular BBQ party at their house. It was a real shame a back injury kept Jeff from competing and robbing us all of the opportunity to pilfer his local knowledge! We also had a very good night at the Kingston Yacht Club on the Saturday with a lovely dinner, great socializing, and many of the “younger” teams enjoying the spectacular Kingston nightlife.
Race management led by Steve Black did very well to get eleven races in despite the challenging conditions and the large number of other events going on across the lake, with gate starts pulled off with the help of Dave Megarry who also bought his RIB up from Toronto to perform the task and Rob Colwel in the mark set boat. Not to mention many others “behind the scenes”.
Back to the racing, Mark and Drew sailed fantastically well to win the event, counting nothing worse than a 5th which is an incredible achievement given the variability of the conditions and the competition. Augie and Tommy were second 4 points ahead of Parker Shinn and Jesse Falsone, who were getting better and better as the event went along and would have wished for a little more practice before the event. Carl and I finished 4th, just beating top female skipper Krysha Pohl sailing with Jon Henderson who sailed a great regatta including a race win in race 10 to cap off a great second half of the series. Sailing together after a long break, Doug Hagan and Stuart Park also had some outstanding races and rounded out the top six.
Despite some tricky racing early on, Kingston didn’t disappoint and the class hopes to return there soon for another championship. Many thanks to the Kingston Yacht Club, the volunteers, and the Boyd’s for putting on a great show!
For next year the fleet heads back to Santa Cruz for the NA’s, to be held over the Memorial Day weekend. Start making plans now!