The International 5.5 Metre class has joined the SSL Global Ranking and from today the sailors competing in the class are now among the 17,000 sailors in it; by then the Global Ranking will rise up to more than 40,000 sailors and double this quote in 2020, so that knowing who is the best sailor this week will be just one click away.
The 5.5 Metre class was born as 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. The 5.5-metre class was raced in Olympics for first time in 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki and then 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 and since 2010 it is one of the Vintage Yachting Classes at the Vintage Yachting Games.
Every year there is a World Championship and the reigning champion is a Bahamin skipper, as the class is very popular in the archipelago. He, probably thanks to the World title, he is also the leader of the 5.5 Metre ranking, Mark Holowesco, followed by another Bahamian skipper, Gavin McKinney and by the Swiss Jurg Menzi.