Meet the 505 power team

Published on May 6th, 2021

Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year, Mike Martin and Adam Lowry, the high-performance gentlemen of the International 505 class, share their story with Jonathan McKee of Sailing World.


Entering the penultimate day of the 2019 International 505 World Championship in Fremantle, Australia, Mike Martin and Adam Lowry were leading the regatta comfortably, but while warming up for the first race, the hole that holds the centerboard pivot pin ripped open, leaving the ­centerboard free-floating inside its trunk.

With some quick thinking, Lowry says, they wedged a paddle, required equipment on a 505, into the trunk to minimize the board’s movement. Not ideal, but good enough to continue racing. “It moved all the way back in the trunk, and then it tilted backward, so the center of lateral resistance was all over the place,” Lowry recalls. “That was challenging, and we were trying to do a lot with our trim to compensate.”

With Lowry steering from the trapeze, Martin was able to ­occasionally reset it during the race, and they managed to finish fourth. But with the wind increasing, they’d surely have a difficult time ­managing the boat in the following race.

What now?

Their training partners from back home in California, Parker Shin, Eric Anderson, Mike Holt and Carl Smit, all of whom were battling for the world title, came to their rescue. “They had an extra centerboard onshore and a coach with a boat, and they said, ‘Go get our centerboard, and use our coach,’” Lowry says. “We went through all the procedures you have to with the jury afterward, but we used their centerboard for the last race that we sailed (another fourth). And that was enough to seal the regatta win.”

Lowry adds that he also had an issue with his trapeze harness the day before, a three-race day, and when it seemed his harness wasn’t going to last through the day, he borrowed Smit’s backup. Incredible sportsmanship, you might say, but Lowry and Martin would say it’s just the 505 way. Holt and Smit, by the way, finished second overall, and Shin and Anderson were third.

Nearly a year later, in early 2020, Martin and Lowry are standing astride in blue blazers on the deck of ­the ­aircraft carrier USS Midway in San Diego. They’re not there to tour the winged relics of military aviation history, but they are there for a different sort of historical moment.

Finally, after being shortlisted for sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award an incredible five times, Martin is getting his due. And just as he was on the wire when they won the world championship title, Lowry is right by his side, towering over his skipper as they both open their boxes to flash their shiny new golden timepieces. – Full story

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