The Five-metre class was conceived in France 1929 as a low-budget alternative to the ever pricier Six-metre. The Finns launched the Five on the Nordic market, and it spread like wildfire in Sweden. Only a few were built in Norway and Denmark. The Five gained Scandinavian status in 1935, but spread only to Italy and Argentine. It never gained Olympic status. The last new Five was built in the late 40's. A total of 300 Fives have seen the light of day. The Five is a lively and sporty open racer for a crew of three. The rig sports a Genoa, a main and a sizeable spinnaker, keeping the crew well occupied. The low cost of a potential failure helped many designers to the forefront. Tore Holm and Gunnar Stenbäck drew classically beautiful 'mini-Sixes', while Roy Scherman, Jarl Lindblom and Tord Sunden tried more radical box shapes.
The most extreme Fives were Knud Reimers' Hazard, using a solid head stay profile (which was disallowed), and the Gullah series of Arvid Laurin, testing a double-headed two-jib rig and pedal steering. The rudder still stuck to the trailing edge of the keel. In the 1990's, the class experienced a renaissance in Finland. Today it is in good spirits, with some 30 registered yachts. The class activists have managed to unearth a number of classical Fives from Finnish barns and Swedish gardens. The Fives roost mainly in Helsinki and Turku, in good company with their bigger sisters, the Sixes and Eights. Replicas of earlier Fives have been built in Sweden. Despite some proposals, the class has not approved the design or construction of Fives in modern materials
© Henry Clay Ericsson