Thursday, November 15, 2018
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SAP 505 Worlds report from Poland

505 Class: World Championships in Gdynia were a great success

The SAP505WorldChampionship2018 that ended on Friday, 27th, July, turned out as great success especially as far as organization is concerned. The regatta included almost 130 boats from 14 countries. It was the Polish Yachting Association, The City of Gdynia and naturally Polish 505 Class Association that organised the event.

The World Championship of the 505 Class - SAP 505 Worlds 2018 held in Gdynia was a great organizational success. Exactly 127 crews from 14 countries arrived at Gdynia, often with families and friends. The 505 World Champions 2018 became Lutz Stengeland Holger Jessfrom Germany. As far as the Polish teams are concerned, Jakub Pawluk together with Marcin Józefowski came as the 39th team overall. 

The organizers of the races have been receiving plenty of feedback and congratulations as the event was delivered according to the highest, world standards. The sailors fell in love with Gdynia, Poland, and the event itself. 

Upon arrival at the Race Office, the sailors were met by a qualified staff both at the office and the marina. And exactly there did the sailors find the regatta village, boat park, several shopping tents and an area to chill and relax. There were sailmakers - Narwal -  with the right equipment to repair torn sails, sail equipment and clothing at Sailovnia or Marine Works, Code Zero with great accessories made of sailcloth as well as White Wood, responsible for sailors’ accommodation.

The first days were assigned for the obligatory measurements of all the boats. Any world championship needs to include such procedures. The Measurement Committee working at the dedicated warehouse had to test the weight of the yachts that cannot be greater than 127,4 kg of the hull, mast, booms and the boards total. It turned out that some of the boats, event the newest ones had to add lead weights which was noted and certified accordingly. The measurements continued with two sets of sails, masts and the booms. The Measurement Committee checked also the necessary equipment.

While waiting for the official beginning of the races, the sailors used this time for individual trainings. But there were the Pre-Worlds as well, prepared by the organizers. These were three races, traditional mini-regatta for all - an opportunity to check the waters and the wind conditions. The Pre-Worlds were won by the Champions from Annapolis, Mike Holt and Rob Woelfel from the USA. It is worth noting that even though the skies were pure with full sunshine, the wind turned out to be pretty strong. The planing yachts were especially visible while the spinnakers were on. All 505 sailors happily commented on the event hoping for the weather to stay the same during the coming days.

Saturday was dedicated to a spectacular Opening Ceremony of the SAP 505 World Championship 2018. At Kościuszki Square, close to the marina, fifteen 505 boats were parked right in front of the great Destroyer - ORP Błyskawica. During each national anthem the flag of a particular country, represented in Gdynia, was put up the mast of a 505 dinghy, including the flag of the ongoing Worlds - the very same one that remained visible all over Gdynia. The city flourished with the signs of the yellow and blue banners, presenting the SAP 505 World Championship 2018 on the main streets of Gdynia.

The first races to be officially classified began on Sunday and were to last for five days altogether. The Race Officer, Tim Hancock from Great Britain, known especially from Weymouth, the Olympic Games races in London, had set the race waters far form the marina, on the Bay of Gdańsk with several options of the routes. We had the classic up&down as well as the triangle, each included two options of the finish line, leeward or windward. The finish line was well marked by a blue boat, impossible to miss even in the heaviest traffic on water. The jury boat was red and there the competitors could find the information of the course towards the upper buoy, pathfinder number, replacement number, pathfinder tack duration and the route number. During the Worlds in Gdynia, all ten planned races took place. As stated in the Regulations, two worst results were excluded from the general classification of each team.

What is characteristic of the regatta with considerable number of 505 boats is the gate start. It concerns an earlier chosen yacht (called the pathfinder), protected by a race officer’s rib, to sharply sail windward with port tack. The remaining dinghies need to sail behind it with starboard tack and in this manner begin their race. The gate start allows for many boats to set off without false start or the repetition of the procedures. 

The races on the Bay of Gdańsk took place in different wind conditions. This meant for the competitors to stay focused, call on their experience and make quick changes to the trimming of the dinghy. For the 505, the fully-blown planing sailing is very different to displacement sailing during lighter winds. These dinghies sail more than well even in extreme conditions. What has to be done though, as said before is to accordingly trim the boat and lead it well.

The teams, both Polish and international, were accompanied by friends and family, the greatest fans ever. They had a chance to see the races close-up. During the racing days, there were boats and ribs leaving the marina every now and then. We would like to thank the Yacht Club Gdynia especially, as the spectator boats - two beautiful yachts - were prepared by them. What is more, the accompanying persons could partake in all sailors’ parties, elegantly prepared by the organizers.   It was during one of the lavish dinners that the participants had the opportunity to witness the grand Night Race from the restaurant’s spectacular terrace. For the international guests this came as a great surprise as never before have they seen an event like that. Eight youngest teams raced first to and the on their 505s - marked with LED lightning. Exactly at 10:00 pm the helmsmen took off from the beach and ran to the boat with cheers and laughter of the guests and passers-by, and professional commentators letting the whole area know what’s going on.

This year’s 505 World Championship had a great partner. It was SAP, our titular sponsor and a supplier of advanced IT solutions for business. SAP has been involved for years with the services for sailing events. That was the reason it created innovative analytical tools. Each yacht was equipped with a GPS - a tracker. Thanks to them it was possible to follow the races live online. Similarly, after the races, the competitors could analyze their own races or compare them to others. SAP Sailing Analytics noted certain interesting data - for instance to highest registered speed reached was 20,9 kts. The highest temporary speed record belonged to the Polish crew: POL8812. During the SAP 505 World Championship 2018, all 505 sailors together sailed 9140 NM!

The organizers of the SAP 505 WorldChampionship 2018 were the Polish Yachting Association, the City of Gdynia, and the Polish 505 Class Association. A number of sponsors and media partners were invited to cover the event. We would like to thank the Race Office personnel, the teams supporting the Jury and Measurement Committee and also the technical support teams that did a great job at the marina and the regatta village helping out the sailors in any way they could. 

AB/PZ / ES

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