CYC Member’s Boat was among 25 from U.S. at 505 World Championship in Denmark
Bruce Van Deventer
Kaløvig Sailing Center, Aarhus, Denmark – I knew I was in for an interesting regatta when I put my new Dacron mainsail on the measurement table, and one of the German sailors standing next to me said, “Vhat did you come here in, a time machine?” Jon Henderson and myself, Bruce Van Deventer, were in Denmark for the 2010 SAP 505 World Championship (http://www.505sapworldchampionship2010.com/), and that ended up being a great idea for our theme for the event and a good name for my nearly-new boat. We were the sole entry from the Northwest, with only about a dozen US boats in the 125 boat fleet.
Racing started off with a blast, literally, on Friday, July 30, for race 1, with winds 20 knots steady with gusts to 30 – what the race committee called “fresh winds”. The TracTrac GPS tracking system, which was installed on every competitors boat, recorded the top boatspeed of 18 knots. For us, it was the breakdown day as we blew up both jib lead blocks sailing out to the event, and then the tiller extension when we were setting the kite on the first downwind leg (resulting on my falling off the back of the boat), and then, after retiring, we broke the main halyard. So we got a little video coverage of our boat being repaired on the SAP webfeed.
Things moderated on day 2 and we had ideal 505 conditions, but again we broke something. This time it was our spinnaker twing line.. We managed however to get a 60th out of it. On day 3 there were two races, and unfortunately our replacement twing line system also failed to work properly, and we made some sailing errors, giving us a 94th (which we could not unfortunately discard), and a 59. After the lay day, we finally got our act together with a 54th and a 71st in light conditions.
Wednesday, day 5, was one of the strangest days I’ve ever sailed in a major regatta. We started racing in light air, gating late to get to the favored right side of the upwind leg, and got around the top mark in the top ten, only to have that race abandoned. After waiting two hours for a re-start, we finally got going around 5 p.m. Things seemed normal until this giant dark cloud bore down on the racecourse, bringing a torrential downpour and huge gusts and lightning. It was impossible to even see what way the wind was blowing because the wind and rain beat the water flat, but you could see boats flying everywhere, over a surreal mist. We recorded our topupwind speed of about 11 knots coming into the weather mark. We didn’t set the spinnaker on the downwind leg because we didn’t know if we would survive, but things eventually moderated and we were able to sail normally, although the last two legs of the course became reach-to-reach, giving us a 49th. Have a look at the archive of the live video feed, narrated by fleet captain Pip Pierson, from the racecourse of race 8, on bambuser.com (http://bambuser.com/channel/sailingaarhus/broadcast/932187).
The final race on Thursday was anticlimactic in comparison, but we recorded our best result of 43rd. Unfortunately another massive downpour enveloped the fleet on the hour-long sail back home, but this one only had modest winds. It was also our big hair day (ask me or Jon what that means).
This was by far the most technically sophisticated event I’ve ever been to, with title sponsor SAP providing fantastic overall media coverage, including daily interviews by Tucker Thompson, the Danish company Streamfactory providing live streaming on-the-water coverage from a commentator boat, integrated to the TracTrac GPS system, on-board video on multiple boats, and helicopter coverage on Tuesday. You can now replay every race on TracTrac, watch every video, and review the SAP analytics. So now your regatta kit needs to include a good laptop!
I was also again really impressed about how well the gate (rabbit) start system works in big fleets – we got off all nine Worlds races and all the pre-worlds races, with over 120 boats per start, with no recalls, and it works great for the media coverage. The skill level locally was also fantastic, and it was cool to see the Danish kids out every day in their Europe dinghies. When the Danish brothers Jorgen and Jacob Bojsen-Møller (seven times FD Word Champs) were asked how many Danish 505 titles they had won, they thought for a moment and said “well…we have never lost!” They ended up second overall – and their combined age is 108.
If you’re interested in 505 sailing, the next Worlds is coming up quickly in March 2011, and it will be in the fantastic sailing resort of Hamilton Island, Australia, which is the largest of the Whitsunday islands on the Great Barrier Reef. There are a couple boats for sale in Seattle, so what are you waiting for?