Brighton and Seacliff Yacht Club veterans Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh, sailing Hawaii Five-O, made history in the 505 class last week when they took out their sixth national championship in the class in a challenging five-race series at their home club.
The pair sailed consistently all regatta and managed to hold off the fast-finishing American duo of Mike Holt and Rob Woelfel in IO Integration in second and the ever-impressive Canberra team of Daniel Keys and Daryl Roos in Intergalactic in third.
The regatta was definitely a challenging one for both the competitors and the race committee, with two days of no racing and two days where only one race was completed — meaning the third day, Wednesday, was the only day with multiple races with three sailed in difficult southeasterly conditions.
The local knowledge of Higgins and Marsh proved to be a big help in the unique Adelaide regatta, which did not see a traditional southwesterly sea breeze throughout the entire five-day event.
With only one race allowed to be sailed on the final day, as per the Notice of Race, Higgins was four points clear of Holt and was starting the race as the pathfinder.
He said his strategy was to tack back to the left as soon as the one-minute gate start was complete and get back in touch with Holt as there was going to be no drops after five races — he just needed to be in touch.
Both sailors sailed a sound last race with Holt taking the win ahead of Higgins and Higgins winning the series by a comfortable three-point margin.
The win puts the pair of Higgins and Marsh in the highest echelon of 505 sailors, winning their sixth nationals title in the class together and makes them the most successful Australians at national level.
The fleet saw a number of great competitors involved, including the talented Shelley White who decided to jump in the 505 with veteran Ian Gregg as she begins her 470 campaign for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Shelley said the class helped improve her technical sailing and she loved the support she received from all the 505 sailors, who were always willing to lend a hand.
She finished in 10th overall out of the 33-boat fleet and was the first female and junior skipper. Check out our interview with her at the presentation below.
The class has seen a solid resurgence in female skippers with four of the boats skippered by ladies with a few also in the crewing position.
There are also a number of young sailors involved in the class, including a 16-year-old jumping up on the wire on one of the boats, which bodes well heading towards the future.
The class also has an under-25 junior trophy, which is awarded each year.