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May 15, 2023

What Are Open 5.70s and Where Do They Sail?

At the recent Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show in Redwood City, we chatted with Andrew Leslie, who told us about the fun he was having sailing aboard an Open 5.70. A “what?” we asked. As Andrew began his animated chat about the fleet that sails locally, we realized we needed more info, so we asked him to send us something. And he did! After reading all about these little boats, and seeing how much fun the sailors were having, we knew we had to share. Here’s what Andrew wrote:

“Back in 2019 I was teaching a sailing class from Spinnaker Sailing in Redwood City, while Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation was hosting the Chubb US Junior Championships. One of the classes at that fleet was a funky-looking little sport boat that looked almost as wide as it is long. But whatever the boat looked like, the junior sailors (three to a boat) were having an absolute blast in the rowdy summer conditions. At the time I had no idea what the boat was, but I’m an ex-dinghy and keelboat racer and I thought, ‘That looks like a ton of fun!’

“I learned that the boats were Open 5.70s, a design from the drawing board of legendary French architect JM Finot, and the fleet of 11 boats was on loan from their owners for the championships.

“After the championship event, many of the boats stayed in Redwood City, where there is a dry storage yard and municipal launch ramp opposite Sequoia Yacht Club.

“The boat is quirky, with a fully battened rig reminiscent of an F18 catamaran, an asymmetric spinnaker set on a retractable sprit, twin rudders, and a hull that looks like a miniature version of the Open 60 ocean racers.

“Fast forward to 2020 and I became the second owner of Open 5.70 number 296. Since then, eight of the 11 boats in the fleet have been purchased by new owners. One more was bought out of state and brought to the Bay Area and we now have an active and engaged one-design fleet racing from Sequoia Yacht Club.”

5.70 sailing in Redwood City
Andrew’s 5.70 racing in the Sequoia Yacht Club’s Spring Regatta, skippered by Anja Bog
© 2023 David Chamberlain

Andrew also sent us more great photos of the Spring Regatta held on April 1.

Marton Neher looks pretty happy in his new 5.70, Spirit. “I was eyeing a J/92 but then the promise of a one-design racing fleet was something I couldn’t turn down. I like the immediate feedback I get from the boat, like driving a sports car. Love the speed, the agility, the low costs of ownership plus how it remains manageable in Bay Area winds. But above all, it’s the fleet.” Marton and his crew took third place in the regatta.
© 2023 David Chamberlain
New 5.70 owners Meaghan and Ian Brosnan, who were runners-up in the race, love their little boat. “It’s an exciting and accessible one-design fleet. Equally, if not more important, is that the community of Open 5.70 sailors, and the Sequoia YC racing community, are incredibly welcoming and supportive of their fellow sailors. It makes for great racing and great fun! Also … it’s a boat I see us racing with our children as they grow.”
© 2023 David Chamberlain
Another new owner, Maggie Heilman, and her crew aboard her boat #570 were also runners-up. “I’ve been crewing on others’ boats for about five years, but rarely on the helm. I wanted to learn how to actually sail, and be the driver. My very experienced sailor friend sent me a link to purchase a 5.70 — so we went for it! And now I helm my own boat, with a little help from my friends :)”
© 2023 David Chamberlain
Regatta winner Sergey Morozov aboard his sailboat #290 enjoys the 5.70’s features. “For most of my life I raced in OD fleets and we have a friendly and competitive fleet at Sequoia Yacht Club in Redwood City. People in the Open 5.70 fleet are just awesome. The boat is fun in S.F. Bay conditions, beamy, stable, easy to get on the plane, simple controls, but still plenty to master and learn, and it’s easy to train newcomers. You don’t need a big crew, it’s not hard to find one or two people to sail with you. I also like the affordability.”
© 2023 David Chamberlain

The first 5.70s were brought to the US in 2007. Andrew tells us they’re aware of 29 of the boats and are in contact with 15 of their owners — 12 are in the Bay Area.

As for the technical details, he writes, “Length 19ft, Beam 8.4ft, Draft 5.8ft, All-up weight 990lbs, Keel ballast 400lbs, Upwind sail area 208 sq ft, Asymmetric spinnaker area 380 sq ft. PHRF (if you care) 138, Fun Factor — off the scale!

“Boats were built by Phileas in France, and by Columbia Yachts in the USA. Construction is both durable and repairable, hardware is from readily available manufacturers, and the fleet sailmaker is UK sails.”

Are you a 5.70 sailor? The fleet welcomes new crew (and skippers) and is especially interested in hearing from other Open 5.70 owners looking for new racing opportunities, or even to sell their boat to a new owner.

The fleet is well supported by the racing program at Sequoia Yacht Club, with weekend racing all year, Wednesday evening racing from April to September, and club regattas where the Open 5.70s race as a fleet. The latest addition to the calendar is a class regatta specifically for the Open 5.70s for the ‘CHISPA’ trophy offered by Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Association. “I believe ‘Chispa’ means lively or energetic, and the Open 5.70 is certainly that,” Andrew adds.

All race dates (except the CHISPA, which is on July 9) are at and on the YRA master calendar.

Sticker Shock: USCG Auxiliary Inspections

Believe it or not, there is a free sticker you can put on the mast of your boat that helps you either avoid, or pass, a US Coast Guard safety inspection. Shocking? Volunteer USCG Auxiliary Vessel Inspector Gerry Gregg described the approximately 30-minute process you can do from the comfort of your own slip, in the Sightings section of our current May issue.

Michelle Stevens aboard her Tartan 37, Savvy,
She’s got the sticker! Michelle Stevens aboard her Tartan 37, Savvy, is commodore of the Emeryville Yacht Club and holds an annual event to allow members to get the Auxiliary Safety Check.
© 2023 Gerry Gragg

What kind of stranger would come aboard your boat for free just to help you avoid or pass a safety inspection? Gerry Gregg has been sailing for over 30 years, and in 2000, Gerry and his wife Darby bought a Passport 42 from the Latitude 38 classified ads. They prepared their boat for cruising in Grand Marina, Alameda, before leaving the Bay Area for points south (and east) in 2005. They arrived in Italy in 2010 after cruising to Panama, Florida, Portugal, and Spain. They concluded their cruising life after sailing in the Med for two years, then sold the boat in Florida in 2014. Now retired and living back in the Bay Area, Gerry thought he’d offer some of his sailing and safety experience, learned across all those miles and years, to fellow Bay Area sailors. That’s a pretty good deal.

Damon Guthrie and his dog, Hopper,
Sailboat owner Damon Guthrie and his dog, Hopper, admire their new Safety Check decal.
© 2023 Chase Van Derveer

There are several reasons you might be motivated to do this. It’s free. You might avoid being stopped by the Coast Guard. And then there’s safety. Why not have an experienced, certified sailor like Gerry Gregg spend a few minutes aboard double-checking all your safety gear so you, your family and your crew are safe? And if you pass, you get a free sticker! Kids love them and so does the Coast Guard.

Vessel Examiner Laurence Boag
During a voluntary Vessel Safety Check, J.P. Haugen looks on as Vessel Examiner Laurence Boag inspects emergency flares on board La Pura Vida in April.
© 2023 Stephen Busch

Compared to mandatory equipment for this year’s Transpac or Baja Ha-Ha, the basic safety gear that is both advisable and required to sail the Bay is relatively minor but also supremely important. If you invite Gerry or any of the Bay Area’s certified inspectors aboard before you sail, you may be able to avoid the interruption of the actual Coast Guard inspection while you’re on the Bay. The USCG inspections are also free but, unlike the USCG Auxiliary inspections, they can be very inconvenient and may result in fines. Owners of inspected vessels think of it as a way to SOS — “Save Our Saturday” — by reducing the chance of inspection while having a good day on the water. Is it a guarantee of avoiding inspections? That’s impossible, but it can help to have a sticker showing you’ve done it voluntarily at your slip.

Marina Village
Gerry Gragg on the job awarding Sabrina Mathis of Marina Village a USCG Certificate of Appreciation for coordinating a well-attended Safety Check event.
© 2023 Gerry Gragg

Regarding what’s involved in the actual inspection, read in our May issue what our new friend Gerry and his fellow inspectors do when they meet you at your slip almost anywhere in the Bay Area.

San Francisco Boatworks Diesel 101 Workshop + Spring Special

Diesel 101 Workshop Saturday, May 27 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Space is limited, call to reserve your spot: (415) 626-3275.
Spring special: 33% off Buff & Wax with Bottom Job. Visit for more information.

Roll Out the Beer Can Racing in Brisbane

That’s the Brisbane in California, not the one in Australia!

Brisbane is a cute little city nestled up against the flank of San Bruno Mountain between San Francisco and South San Francisco on the Bay side of the Peninsula. Across Hwy. 101 lies Sierra Point, home of the Brisbane Marina and Sierra Point Yacht Club. The wind is brisk here, and hardy (hearty?) sailors take full advantage. SPYC’s treasurer, Lee Panza, reports:

“Sierra Point Yacht Club’s Beer Can Racing Program begins our 2023 season. We’d like to invite you down here to enjoy racing in T-shirts and shorts in the balmy southern arm of San Francisco Bay. Well, OK, I lied. It’s not balmy. In fact, it’s usually only a few degrees warmer than the Central Bay. But at least the sun is always shining, so it seems warmer. We still get the same powerful afternoon winds, making for some exciting racing (most of the time). But occasionally it actually is balmy, with barely enough breeze to push the boats around. We’ve never had to cancel a race for inadequate wind, and only a few times for too much.

“Our races are held each Tuesday evening from early May until the end of August. There are two divisions (the break is at PHRF 160) with the slower boats starting at 6 p.m., the faster boats 15 minutes later. The courses are generally down and back (with sometimes a reaching leg in between) ranging from about 4 to 7 miles in length. Elapsed times generally range from about an hour to about an hour and a half. Afterward, we enjoy swapping tales over burgers and beers.”

The Series Kicked Off on May 2

After last week’s race on May 2, Lee added: “Despite the stormy clouds all around us, we had our own little beam of sunshine for Sierra Point Yacht Club’s inaugural beer can race of our 2023 season!”

Refuge sailing toward the weather mark.
Lee Panza shot these photos from the weather mark.
© 2023 Lee Panza

“Well, OK, I lied again. My bad. That was just a brief ‘sucker hole’. We almost cancelled this race due to the lack of wind and the rain threatening to return.”

The weather mark
“Here’s the beginning of the ‘downwind’ leg, after the boats had rounded the windward mark and they’re struggling to get past the committee boat at the start line.”
© 2023 Lee Panza
The return leg, with the San Mateo Bridge in the background.
“Fortunately, the breeze picked up a bit on the return from a long, slow downwind leg, providing a pleasant ride home — sorta like rental horse rides when the horses suddenly pick up the pace as soon as you turn ’em around to head back to the stable.”
© 2023 Lee Panza

“We’d surely appreciate a mention in Latitude to invite some casual racers from other clubs to come down here to join us. For more info, contact our race committee at [email protected].”

See more of Lee’s photos at

Mill Valley’s R2AK Team Mojo in the Spotlight

You can’t make this stuff up. At least we couldn’t, but maybe “they” did. We’re never sure and we don’t even know who “they” are. The R2AK Wordslingers somehow keep creating R2AK team bios that feel truthful enough to believe, but absurd enough to cause doubt. We laughed our way through one bio only to discover the team’s homeport is near our Mill Valley office. There’s no use saying more since the R2AK Wordslingers say it all. Here’s what the they have to say about Mill Valley-based Team Mojo:

Team Mojo team members are Marine Dorotte, Erwan Menard, Jacques Guegau, Tanguy Delamotte hailing from Mill Valley, CA. They’re racing a 34′ 6″ Farrier F25C and, when there’s no wind, they’ll row.”

Team Mojo
Team Mojo in incognito mode on San Francisco Bay.
© 2023 Team Mojo / R2AK

“Not to get all Noam Chomsky up in these traditional grazing areas of intellectually questionable bios, but language is like, a thing. Language shapes thought patterns, affects behavior, interplays with a culture’s traditions as they shape each other through time. The shape of language is a causal for human patterns of behavior.

“Or something.

“If there was a language that turned people into fanatical sailors, apparently, it’s French. While the rare Golden Globe win might slip past them, French sailors are crazy good, dominate the offshore racing scene, and set a new speed record every other year or so. They’re so good at sailing that it makes us want to immerse ourselves so it might rub off, or at the very least act like we’ve just come back from study abroad to smoke cigarettes, work half weeks, and performatively keep talking about exactly how everything is better in ‘Fraunce.’

“What is it about the French that is so, what’s the word in English … vibrant?

“While the French may have no word for ambition, these four plucky sailors have it in spades. Why else would they cram into a 25’, carbon fiber trimaran, then fling themselves at rocket speeds into the driftwood-infested wilds of the remote Pacific Coast? These four Frenchies are showing up to the race with no rules, with hands down the fastest boat on the course. Que bueno.

“We sat down with Marine of Team Mojo over a bowl of Duo Lingo to talk about je joue au tennis, mon anniversaire, and qui est la bibliothèque.”

What are the necessary components of a good adventure?

Killer whale, grizzly? Good food, good music, good friends, a woman on board! Be ready for the unknown!

What’s your claim to fame?

We don’t have a claim to fame. Just enjoy the moment; life is for the living, so live it !!

It’s drizzling, freezing cold, and you’ve missed the tide. The cabin is leaky and the stove won’t light. How do you keep the good vibes going?

Billy (a 6-year-old) instructed: “You make a video of yourself dancing with your favorite music,” so we will make sure to do so. We will also add a good laugh and some saucisson and candies!

Forget the 10k or the steak knives. What does success look like for you and your team?

Finish the Race and spread the word for two not-for-profits: SeaTrees and SR3 who protect our beloved oceans.

Defend your vessel. What makes it worthy?

She is beautiful; has 3 hulls that can be folded on a trailer, she is relatively fast, and can be driven from California to Washington and back from Alaska. Mojo Eskroin also has beautiful red bow sprits and rudder. For Jacques and Marine, it is the first boat they owned.

Blank space, baby. Share some things:

We are a 100% French team, US-based, who loves the Beatles and got the Mojo.


Welcome to the Race to Alaska, Team Mojo. Remember, it’s only hypothermia if it’s from the Champagne region. Out here it’s just sparkling low body temperature.

– R2AK Wordslingers


We’ve written about the R2AK many times in the past but there’s nothing like the real thing. If you want an occasional update from the R2AK you can sign up for their newsletter here. You can follow the race, which starts on June 5, here. First prize is $10,000. Second prize is a set of steak knives.