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International 505 By Dave Ellis

In 1953, there was a contest to name the next Olympic two-person performance sailboat. It was later found that the Flying Dutchman had actually already been chosen and only had to sail well to be confirmed. Two Dutchmen were allowed in the regatta and one of anything else.


ut the winner of the regatta was a design by John Westall called a Coronet. At 18 feet and with 175 square feet of sail, the boat was so impressive that the French development-boat class of the era asked Westall to cut the Coronet down to their maximum of 5.05 meters in length and 150 square feet of sail. The result was what we now call the 505. In 1954 Eric Olsen and Glen Foster were given the pieces of a 505 in the parking lot at Yachting’s second One-Of-A-Kind Regatta. They borrowed an International 14 main and stepped into the boat for the first time. They then sailed this new boat to an easy win. The 505 quickly became an international class, now sailed in upwards of 18 countries with strong fleets in the United States and Canada. What is it like to sail this high performance monohull? It keeps you on your toes. In the case of the crew, this is literal, as the trapeze gets them well out to windward. Some of the original boats actually had a foot-stop forward of the shrouds along the shear to keep the crew from catapulting around the bow.


March 2004