Registration is open for the 5O5 World Championship and North Americans, to be held September 21 to October 1 at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California.
The two-day 5O5 Pre-Worlds and North American Championship will be sailed in advance of the regatta on September 23-24, followed by a day to complete measurements. The 5O5 World Championship will be sailed September 26 through October 1, with five days of racing plus one lay day for a total of six days.
Initially slated to be held in Santa Cruz, CA, the event was redirected to San Francisco due to harbor access issues in Santa Cruz.
“St. Francis Yacht Club is happy to host this world-class event,” said Beau Vrolyk, 2023 Commodore of St. Francis Yacht Club. He has helped run regattas for the 5O5 fleet for many years, including World and Continental Championships, and is thrilled to be hosting the 2023 World Championship.
“There is no boat like a Five-O. The extraordinary levels of skill in the fleet, and the tremendous camaraderie, make this one of our favorite fleets. Our Race Committee has been testing course options and working closely with the local fleet leadership, including a few World Champions, to ensure the best possible racing and parties.”
For three-time 5O5 World Champion Mike Holt, to be able to participate in a World Championship event on his own turf is exciting—particularly in a fleet as competitive and challenging as the International 5O5.
“It’s great to have the regatta in California. It’s an amazing venue in an iconic spectacular piece of water,” Holt stated. “It was very gracious of StFYC to step in at the last minute to host the event. It’ll be fun and I’m looking forward to it.”
The depth of talent in the 5O5 class is impressive, including sailors like Holt who started sailing the boat in 1985 when he was 16 years old.
“I’ve pretty much done only 5O5 sailing all those years. I’ve maybe taken a few years off here and there and sailed other things—keelboats, dinghies, 49ers, 18s—but it’s what I keep coming back to,” Holt, who resides in Santa Cruz, said. “When you live on the West Coast it’s really the only good high-performance sailing that you can do safely, and it is a great fleet.”
Holt will be racing with his two-time World Champion crew Carl Smit, from Annapolis, MD, and the pair have a long-time friendly rivalry with Mike Martin, “the evil other Mike,” Holt noted with good humor. Martin, who lives and trains in the Bay Area, is a four-time 5O5 World Champion and twelve-time 5O5 North American Champion.
“Carl and I are fairly well-rounded and don’t really care what the weather does,” Holt commented. “I think Mike Martin prefers it when it is windy and he probably has a slight edge on us when it’s windy, but we have a slight edge when it’s more variable.
Regardless, we are all hoping for good breeze and great racing in San Francisco!”
5O5 sailor Harrison Turner, chairperson for the 2023 5O5 World Championship, notes that the event is well-scheduled at the end of September when the strong summer breezes will be moderating, making racing in this high-performance dinghy less daunting. “September is our best month, with warmer weather and lighter winds,” Turner commented. “The racing will be located between the clubhouse and Alcatraz Island which will make for great spectating, too.”
Organizers are anticipating some 80 boats from around the world and North America on the start line.
“We’ve heard a lot of interest from Europe, Australia and from all over North America – we’re expecting as high or higher than numbers for Cork, Ireland last year,” Turner continued. “Holding the event on the West Coast of the US can be a bit of a hurdle for the European fleets, but we have fantastic support from the local fleet as well as the Port of Oakland close by, so logistics will not be as challenging as they may appear for our overseas competitors – we hope they come!”
Turner said his committee is creating a logistics hub where sailors can look for crew and boats if need be.
“Crew can be a hard thing to coordinate so we’d like to be able to connect visiting competitors with local sailors who can make the commitment when maybe their partner can’t,” Turner said. “Our goal is to get as many boats on the water as possible.”
StFYC’s Commodore Beau Vrolyk encouraged sailors to look forward to more than just world-class racing: “This fleet and its epic sailing style have a special place in the hearts of St. Francis members. It’s great to have them back again. This year, we are going all out to give everyone what they came here for: good breeze, close competition, and a racecourse in the most beautiful spot on the San Francisco Bay. It’ll be a beam reach to the bar!”