Open 5.70: 2007 One-Design of the Year

Fast, fun, and stable, the Open 5.70 was an instant hit with out judges.


Walter Cooper

Many of you are looking for a raceboat that's simple, stable, and sensational to sail, and we found it in the Open 5.70. My fellow judges agree that this Open 60-like craft is one of the best new European-bred one-designs we've tested in years.A few key attributes made the Open 5.70 a clear winner in this year's contest. First, its construction: Built by Phileas Boats in Rochefort, France, the 5.70's hull is a foam-cored, molded structure, making the boat not only stiff, but unsinkable, according to U.S. importer Jerome Sammarcelli. The hull is fiberglass-reinforced polyester with a large, fixed longitudinal structure that connects between the deck and the hull. The boat has a T-keel, which when fully deployed, draws 5'9", but it's possible to sail the boat with the keel lifted to a shallow-water mode, which draws 4'6". The twin-rudder configuration is great and essential because the 5.70 has a wide beam aft; a single rudder would lift and stall too quickly. Groupe Finot, which designed the 5.70, got it right by going with two smaller rudders, both angled out from the hull, which allows the leeward rudder to become vertical as the windward rudder comes out of the water and reduces drag. We never had stalling issues with the rudders on any point of sail, and quickly discovered that a good rule of thumb for getting the boat up to speed was to bear off and let it heel. To keep costs reasonable, and make replacement parts easy to obtain, the Open 5.70 uses the same rotating mast and boom as the Hobie Tiger catamaran. It also has the same stern-mounted mainsheet and traveler sheeting system you'll find on most cats these days, and, because of the extreme beam, has a huge amount length for the traveler bar. We sailed predominantly with the traveler on centerline because of the conditions, but we could see how the length would help de-power the square-top main when the breeze is stronger. As we discovered, the combination of leech tension and traveler throw is the key to making the 5.70 go uphill. The boat is a dream to set up, taking about 30 minutes to put the rig up, tighten things down, and launch. It can be ramp or hoist launched, and I'd recommend the hoist system, which allows you to do a quick bottom inspection and wet sand around hard-to-reach places where the trailer bunks touch the hull. When you hop aboard, you think it'll topple over like a dinghy, but the boat barely heels. Moving around while sailing is easy because the cockpit is so wide open. We sailed the boat with two-in Europe the boat is usually raced with three, and class rules stipulate a max weight of 573 pounds. The kite hoists through the space between the shroud and mast; one person can do both the hoist and takedown alone. When sailing with two, simply pass the halyard aft to the driver. When the 344-square-foot spinnaker goes up, the 5.70 takes off nicely and is a treat to drive. With the breeze on, a slight heel, and weight aft, you'll be screaming, easily hitting boatspeeds into the mid-teens in a 12- to 14-knot breeze. Finally, when all is said and done, the overall simplicity and stability of the 5.70 accommodates a wide range of sailors. The price of $30,000 is definitely not too high to pay for the performance. The Open 5.70 is a fun and easy boat to sail, and showed us awesome speed with complete control.