5.5 Metre (keelboat)

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5.5 Metre
5.5 Metre insigna.png
Class symbol
5.5 Metre (keelboat).svg
Current specifications
Crew 3
Type Monohull
Design Development class
Keel Fixed
LOA About: 9.5 m (31 ft)
Beam Minimum: 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in)
Draft Maximum: 1.35 m (4 ft 5 in)
Hull weight Minimum: 1,700 kg (3,700 lb)
Maximum: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb)
Main & jib area Minimum: 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft)
Maximum: 29.0 m2 (312 sq ft)
Spinnaker area About: 50.0 m2 (538 sq ft)
Year 1949 (rule design)
Designer Charles E. Nicholson (rule designer)
Infobox last updated: 08-AUG-2011
Former Olympic class (Vintage Yachting class)

The International 5.5 Metre class was created to yield a racing keel boat giving a sailing experience similar to that of the International 6 Metre Class, but at a lower cost.

The main class regulation is a restriction on a single quantity output from a formula involving the boat's rating length L, weight (expressed as a displacement D) and sail area S; the regulation states that the output of this formula must not exceed 5.500 metres. There is considerable scope for variations in design while still meeting this restriction, and as a result each 5.5 metre boat is unique.

If the design parameters of a proposed new boat result in a formula output exceeding 5.5 metres, then one or more of the parameters must be suitably adjusted. Performance data gained from testing models towed in a long water tank (referred to in yacht design as Ship model basin) can suggest optimal combinations of parameters. The 5.5. metre rule is a variant of the International Rule (sailing) that was established already in 1907. The 5.5. is therefore closely related to larger metre boats such as the 6mR, 8mR and the 12mR.

Since 2010 the 5.5 Metre is one of the Vintage Yachting Classes at the Vintage Yachting Games.


5.5-metre class Olympic race in Helsinki 1952. Boats are German Tom Kyle (G I), Gold medalist Complex II (US I) and Danish Jill (D 2).

The 5.5-metre class was a redesign of the 6-metre class by Charles E. Nicholson in 1937. The first boats conforming to the 5.5-metre rule were built in 1949. There had been an earlier attempt to build a cheaper alternative to the Sixes. In 1929 the 5-metre class was established by the French "Union de Societes Nautique Francaise" and the class was accepted in London. It achieved a position as the smallest new international metre class and some hundreds boats were built. Nevertheless the 5 metre never managed to achieve an Olympic status. The 5.5-metre class replaced it quickly and was raced in Olympics for first time in 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. The Scandinavian Gold Cup has also been competed with 5.5m boats since 1953. 5.5 metre boats replaced the International 6-metre at the 1956 Olympic Games held in Melbourne, Australia. The 5.5 metre participation in the Olympic sailing events continued at the 1960 Olympic Games and 1964 Olympic Games. During the 1960s it however began to draw similar criticism as preceding six-metre class - namely, increasing costs - and the boat lost Olympic status after 1968 Olympic Games, due to excessive design and building costs of one off boats, marking the end of development class keel boats in Olympic regattas. However, the class remained active thereafter and 5.5-metre boats are still very actively raced.

The formula[edit]

The measurement formula is given in the 2006 International Five Point Five Metre Rating Rules:

5.500 \mbox{ metres} \ge 0.9 \cdot \left( \frac{L \cdot \sqrt[2]{S}} {12 \cdot \sqrt[3]{D}} + \frac{L + \sqrt[2]{S}} {4} \right)


  • L = length for rating
  • S = measured sail area
  • D = displacement in cubic metres


Olympic Games[1][edit]

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Sweden (SWE) 2 1 1 4
2  United States (USA) 2 0 2 4
3  Australia (AUS) 1 0 0 1
4  Great Britain (GBR) 0 1 1 2
 Switzerland (SUI) 0 1 1 2
6  Denmark (DEN) 0 1 0 1
 Norway (NOR) 0 1 0 1
5 5 5 15
Event Gold Silver Bronze
1952 Helsinki
 United States (USA)
Britton Chance
Michael Schoettle
Edgar White
Sumner White
 Norway (NOR)
Peder Lunde
Vibeke Lunde
Børre Falkum-Hansen
 Sweden (SWE)
Folke Wassén
Carl-Erik Ohlson
Magnus Wassén
1956 Melbourne
 Sweden (SWE)
Lars Thörn
Hjalmar Karlsson
Sture Stork
 Great Britain (GBR)
Robert Perry
David Bowker
John Dillon
Neil Kennedy-Cochran-Patrick
 Australia (AUS)
Jock Sturrock
Douglas Buxton
Devereaux Mytton
1960 Rome
 United States (USA)
George O'Day
James Hunt
David Smith
 Denmark (DEN)
William Berntsen
Steen Christensen
Sören Hancke
 Switzerland (SUI)
Henri Copponex
Pierre Girard
Manfred Metzger
1964 Tokyo
 Australia (AUS)
William Northam
Peter O'Donnell
James Sargeant
 Sweden (SWE)
Lars Thörn
Arne Karlsson
Sture Stork
 United States (USA)
John J. McNamara
Joseph Batchelder
Francis Scully
1968 Mexico City
 Sweden (SWE)
Ulf Sundelin
Jörgen Sundelin
Peter Sundelin
 Switzerland (SUI)
Louis Noverraz
Bernhard Dunand
Marcel Stern
 Great Britain (GBR)
Robin Aisher
Paul Anderson
Adrian Jardine

World Championships[2][edit]

Further information: 5.5 Metre World Championships

Vintage Yachting Games [3][edit]

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Finland 1 0 0 1
2  Germany 0 1 0 1
3  France 0 0 1 1
Event Gold Silver Bronze
2012 Lake Como  Finland
Anders Nordman
Robert Segercrantz
Johan Hjelt
Hubert 'Biwi' Reich
Wolfgang Oehler
Christian Hemmerich
William Borel
Yves Duclos-Grenet
Adrien Baumelle

Pan American Games[4][edit]

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  United States 1 0 0 1
2  Canada 0 1 0 1
3  Ecuador 0 0 1 1
1 1 1 3
Event Gold Silver Bronze
1959 Chicago  United States  Canada  Ecuador

European Championships[5][edit]

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1   Switzerland 7 4 7 18
2  Norway 2 2 0 4
3  United States 1 0 1 2
4  United Kingdom 0 1 1 2
5  France 0 1 0 1
 Soviet Union 0 1 0 1
8 8 8 24

Event Gold Silver Bronze
1968 Neuenburger See[6]  Toucan IX (SUI)
Louis Noverraz
 Nadezhda VI (URS)
Konstantin Alexandrov
 Janael (FRA)
1980 Bénodet   Switzerland (F)
 France (F)
  Switzerland (Z)
1993 Cannes[7]  The Sting (SUI)
Christian Wahl
 Zenda Corn (NOR)
Kalle Nergaard
 My Shout (USA)
Glen Foster
1995 Thun[8]   Switzerland
Daniel Schenker
Christoph Schenker
Eric Waser
Jürg Menzi
Jürg Christen
Dino Fumasoli
Bruno Marazzi
Stefan Haftka
Flavio Marazzi
1997 Le Crouesty  United States (FRA)
Glen Foster
  Switzerland (SUI)
Jean-Claude Vuithier
  Switzerland (SUI)
Jürg Menzi
1998 Cannes   Switzerland (FRA)
Christian Wahl
 Norway (NOR)
Kalle Nergaard
 United States (USA)
Glen Foster
2000 Genoa[9]  Joker 8 (SUI)
Thomas Moser
Felix Meyer
T. Sprecher
 Salamander 5 (GBR)
Jonathan Janson
Mark Downer
Rupert Richardson
 Marie-Françoise 14 (SUI)
Jürg Menzi
Juerg Christen
Daniel Stampfli
2005 Attersee  Marie-Françoise 17 (SUI)
Jürg Menzi
Daniel Stampfli
Christoph Burger

Hans-Peter Schmid

2008 Mariehamn  Norway (FIN)
Kristian Nergaard
Petrus Eide
Johan Barne
 Norway (NOR)
Christoph Burger
Christof Wilke
Mathias Dahlman
Dominik Neidhart 1:st race only
  Switzerland (SUI)
Jürg Menzi
Daniel Stampfli
Léonard Gaume
2013 Benodet  Norway (FIN)
Kristian Nergaard
 Norway (SUI)
Bernard Haissly
  Switzerland (SUI)
Jürg Menzi

Scandinavian Gold Cup[edit]

Further information: Scandinavian Gold Cup

Class association[edit]

International 5.5 Metre

The object of the International 5.5 Metre Class Association is to promote and develop 5.5 Metre racing throughout the World. The first President of the association was Mr. Owen Aisher.[10]

Since the development of the class spanned more than half a century the early boats are not competitive to race against the modern designs. Therefore the association made, in 2007, divisions in the class based upon age of the boat:[11]

  • Classic Fleet (Designs before 1970)
  • Evolution Fleet
  • Modern Fleet (Designs from 1994)

During major races there are separate trophies per fleet, however if a classic fleet boat beats the modern fleet, the classic fleet boat wins the modern fleet trophee.


External links[edit]