LIZZA is a 5.5mIC boat designed by Willem de Vries Lentsch Jr. and built in 1952 in the Netherlands at the G. de Vries Lentsch en Werf Het Fort te Nieuwendam, from mahogany on oak ribs. She participated in the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games, representing the Netherlands. A very capable, historic boat of the era, as she was the first 5.5’ ever built in the Netherlands and her original sail number was NED-1.
The Team had been looking to buy a classic yacht to participate for the years to come in the Spetses Classic Yacht Regatta. After long brainstorming sessions we felt that a 5.5mIC boat would be the most suitable solution for the purpose. These boats are very powerful, pointing remarkably high on windward legs and carrying very big spinnakers downwind.
The 5.5’s were, back in 1937, a stroke of genius of Charles E. Nicholson as a more economical alternative to the then very popular 6’s. The first boat was built in 1949 and by 1952 the 5.5’s achieved Olympic status in the Helsinki Olympic Games. In 1968 in Mexico City was their last Olympics. Russia having built a large number of 5.5’s, very fast boats with aesthetically pleasing lines, they attracted the rich, the famous and the Royals of the era. Hence the nickname “the boats of the Kings and the Communists” !!
Following their Olympic times, the class remained very active.
Being a development class, the design and the materials improved over time, hence, a very wide range of boats, with different ages, different material and designs, competing effectively to date. They are divided into three categories, the classics – built until 1970, the evolutions – from 1970 to 1994, and the moderns – after 1994. Some 700+ boats are believed to have been built over the years. Currently there are 418 boats in existence, out of which 112 actively racing.
We looked at a number of Classic 5.5’s for sale, but when we discovered LIZZA – at a warehouse close by Zurich – we immediately fell in love. She was with a very caring owner since 1989, in immaculate condition. We agreed buying her on the spot, with the only request of the former owner, to keep her under the same name – LIZZA. And we did keep our promise !