We’ve been sailing the new 500’s at Changi Sailing Club recently. Although we are all waiting for the impending onset of the Northeast Monsoon, we’ve had some balmy 5 – 10 knot breezes that has been ideal for some gentle shakedown sails.
The Nacra 500 is a long way from the Nacra 5.0 that we used to sail. For starters, visually she’s a very attractive package and has received many comments from all the sailors. The quality of the molding and gel-coat is clearly evident.
The new deck profiles that have a more molded in receptacle for the new beams are way tidier than the original setup. Next visual clew is the sails – some of our F16 sailors said they want sails that look that good! That’s a huge compliment.
The new sail plan not only gives it a more modern look but also steps up the performance somewhat i.e. especially the spinnaker! In our gentle 5 – 10 knots of breeze the 500 has had no problem turning in good speed numbers with the kite up. But more importantly, the sail is easy to control and the whole rig responds to all inputs from sheets and downhaul!
What’s not so obvious is that the hull shape has been slightly revised from the original. Look carefully and you’ll see that the 500 exhibits an upright transom and this has allowed a better rudder system to be installed for a very light helm sensation. The new beams have also added to the stiffness of the platform and that has also increased the control and response departments as well.
But the best bit about the 500 is that she is really easy to rig and simply sail straight off the beach. After a few years on more complicated rigs, the new Nacra setup is refreshingly simple. The rudder system is a revelation, one click and you’re away! These are also going to appear on a few of our Formula boats!
So far we’ve sailed it in 1 man, 2 man and 3 up modes and in each its remained balanced and good on the helm. As such all of the owners of new 500’s are extremely happy with the boats as exceeding their expectations.
Ah, if we’d had this boat when we sailed to Phuket, it probably would have got us there a lot quicker!