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Pip Pearson's guide to the who's who of the 2019 5O5 Worlds

2019  5O5 Worlds – Fremantle, Australia

“Runners & Riders”   :   “Could Be’s & Might Be’s” 

Pip’s Crystal Ball “Guesstimation” for the 2019  Worlds Results. 

This gets harder every year !  

Having picked 7 of the top 9 boats at Annapolis in 2017 and 8 of the top 11 at Gydnia this year, I guess I’m still qualified to once again make an “Educated Guess” as to possible results for the 2019 “Top Ten. “.

As at time of writing, the “Updated” Entry List is 87.

This is a decrease from the 127 finishers at Gydnia – but to be expected for a Worlds outside Europe. By coincidence it’s the same as the 87 starters we had in Annapolis in 2017. Still time for more, what can Australia deliver?

Scanning through the list of entries it’s quite easy to select 15 to 20 boats capable of winning at least 1 race, but to be on the podium as a winner at the end of the series requires a much greater talent, experience & focus - than just winning a heat.

My “brief” is to select a “Top Ten”. 

The summary below is simply selected in order from names as they appear on the Entry List. 

My prediction for finishing positions is at the end of this article.

1        “Sandy” Higgins  / Paul Marsh

Somewhere… someday, there’s a major result emerging here with “Team Aussie”. 

With 6 Australian Titles and a total of 5 heat wins in the Worlds in ’07, 11 & 13 also a 2ndin a heat in 2013 and 3 x 2nd’s at the Worlds in 2015, “Sandy & “Marshy” have clearly shown they’re a team to beat on the International race track!

If you could put all their 1st’s  into a single “series” ”Team Sandy & Marshy” would already have been World Champions. One day they will!

Australia is long overdue for a win and “Sandy & Marshy’ might just be the team to break the long drought….. With one reservation……. They haven’t done a lot of sailing this season and you don’t win World Championships without practice, practice, practice !

                        2.         Pete Nicholas and Luke Payne

This Team are not “regular starters” on the International 5O5 scene but when they are, they always make an impression. They’ve had an amazing schedule on the International Yacht Racing circuit with a high degree of success. Their match practice, youth and teamwork is going to put them at the very top end of the fleet.

Plus.. they are on their home waters at Freo. A “Dangerous Duo” to contend with for anyone else who has ambitions for the title. 

  1. 3. Ian Pinnell / Reeve Dunne

This year Ian has teamed up with Reeve Dunne from California. Reeve has now had significant International standard competition and is as fit and strong as any crew in the fleet.

“Nelly” is about the most successful dinghy sailor in Europe. Just peruse his record of World, European & National Championship wins in various classes and you’ll be impressed. 

It’s been 11 years since “Nelly” won the 2008 Worlds in Palermo, that’s a long time between drinks, and he’s very thirsty and so is Reeve!  

4          Nathan Batchelor  /  Harry Briddon

Nathan has teamed up with Harry for this year’s Worlds. A change of crew can often break up the “Team Work” but with Harry’s 6thplace in Gdynia with Tom Gillard, I reckon this Team are a formidable twosome. 

Nathan was 9thin Annapolis in 2017 & 4ththis year at Gdynia.

With plenty of High Performance dinghy racing experience there’s more than a good chance for a podium finish for this boat.

5.   Jan-Phillip Hoffman /  Felix Brockerhoff  

Their 3rdPlace finish at Gdynia gave a very clear message to the 5O5 Fleet. 

We are very fast, watch out for us”.

These guys are young, fit, and enthusiastic. And let me tell you after 50 + years of experience, “there is no substitute for enthusiasm”.  

Their recent season’s results throughout Europe have drawn the eyes of attention to their talent. Almost every year sees a new rising star and 2019 could see this star reach its zenith. 

They are very ambitious to see a better than 3rdplace… well it’s only two more steps to the top and these two know how to climb ! 

                        6.         Wolfgang Hunger  / Holger Jess 

Well…. Where does one start with this incredible duo ?.

Along with Krister Bergstrom, Wolfgang is our “Champion of Champions” having won 5 Worlds, 2001, 2003, 2005 with Holger as Crew and in 2010 & 2011 with Julien Kleiner. 

Last season almost every boat that Holger crewed on was a winner.

It’s been quite some time since Wolfgang & Holger teamed up, but there’s no substitute for experience and they would have to be “Odds On” favourites. 

The bookmakers have stopped taking bets on this team !

7.         Mike Martin / Adam Lowry .

Mike’s a World Champion at both the back & front end of the boat. His competiveness is quite scary. As W.C. crew with Howie in 1999 and W.C. as helmsman in 2009 probably gives Mike a better knowledge of what makes a 5O5 go fast than anyone else on the race course. The W.C. team of Mike Martin / Adam Lowry in Weymouth in 2016 and the 2ndin Annapolis in 2017 puts this team right in the spotlight.

Add to this, the 2018 1stplace at the Bellighmam P.C.C’s in June in light weather and the total domination of the heavy weather N.A’s in San Francisco in August, shows this team are well geared to be successful in any wind condition that Freo puts into their sails.  

The teamwork and talent of this team is just awesome to watch.  

                        8.         Mike Holt  / Carl Smit

Four times in 2ndplace and 3 times World Champion, Holtie is “aching” for a 4th W.C. title.

His training, preparation & participation regime in recent times probably exceeds any other entrant in the event.

2ndat Gydnia & 2ndat Bellingham for the P.C.C’s with Rob Woelfel along with wins in Australia, France and the UK in ’18 and a 1stat the recent U.S. East Coast Championships, with Carl Smit has this team in readiness for any conditions the race track provides.

Mike has mastered the technique of flexibility and is now a major threat in any conditions on any continent.

With a W.C. with Carl in 2015 & 2017 and twice “2nd” with Carl 2009 & 2011, Carl is desperate to also make it the “triple” W.C. in Freo.

If you look at the past results Carl only wins a Worlds in alternate years – so he’s keen to keep the pattern, 2015, 2017 – 2019?

Following Carl’s “incident” earlier this year, I’m not sure his “Resurrection” has him back to full fitness yet. But his comeback is quite remarkable. He’s done better than Jesus Christ who I’m told only came back for 3 days. Carl is still here after almost a year and ready to fight another fight! Go Carl – we’re all on your side! ! !  

9.         .           Howie Hamlin / Jeff Nelson.

It’s no show without Howie! Arguably the most recognised name in 5O5 circles and the ultimate competitor. Howie & Jeff literally personify ‘Team America”.

Howie’s 7 times “Runner Up” at Worlds & 9 N.A’s to his name spanning 28 years from 1990 to 2017 includes a World Title in 1999. Always at the very top of competition in any Fleet in any conditions. Recently 2ndat the windy N.A’s in San Francisco and his crew Jeff was 3rdcrewing for Ted Conrads. Jeff is W.C. as crew for Mike Martin at the 2009 Worlds and is just so consistent & reliable a crew as any helmsman could wish for.

The experience on board this boat is mind boggling. The advantage of this is, no matter what conditions you are sailing in, they’ve experienced it all before – many times – nothing will rattle “Team USA”. .

10.            Ted Conrads / Brian Haines

I’m always astonished at this team’s ability to get the maximum speed out of their boat despite quite limited “match practice’. Just study the SAP analytics from previous Worlds and you’ll see what I mean. 

Ted was 3rdbehind Mike Martin / Adam Lowry & Howie Hamlin / Andy Zinn and the N.A’s in August with Jeff Nelson as crew. 

They may lack a bit of “grunt” if the “Fremantle Doctor” dominates the event, but I’m predicting that won’t happen. With 11:00am starts for the 1strace and over the course of a week, there is always a variety of conditions. It won’t be a “totally heavy weather” series !

Ted & Brian are young fit & exceptionally talented and it would not surprise me to see them at the top of the fleet.


So….. that’s my top ten - but - I also reserve the right to include a “Dark Horse”! 

11.       Michael Babbage / James McAllister

This is a new entry on my list of “Could Be’s” and one that will be unknown to most overseas entrants. Mick & James are the current Australian Champions.

Whilst they may lack experience in big fleet racing at World Championship level, I’m confident they have the potential to make an appearance at the top end of the fleet. You can’t be as fast as they are for so long without one day making an impact. This year might just be the year for this Team to make an impact on the International stage. 

 ( In addition to the “Dark Horse”,  If I was given the brief to select 12, it would also include the teams of Parker Shin / Eric Anderson & Doug Hagan / Paul Von Grey.)


O.K. Now for the hard part. 

I’ll stick my neck out this year and actually nominate a “Top Ten” in order. 

  1. Mike Martin / Adam Lowry
  2. Wolfgang  Hunger / Holger Jess
  3. Peter Nicholas / Luke Payne
  4. Jan-Phillip Hoffman / Felix Brockerhoff
  5. Mike Holt / Carl Smit
  6. Nathan Batchelor / Harry Briddon
  7. Sandy Higgins / Paul Marsh
  8. Howie Hamlin / Jeff Nelson
  9. Ian Pinnell / Reeve Dunn
  10. Ted Conrads / Brian Haines


And….Don’t be surprised to see the teams of:-  Parker Shin / Eric Anderson, 

Doug Hagan / Paul Von Grey & Mick Babbage / James McAllister up there as well. With plenty of others all having a shout and maybe some last minute entries to stir it up.

That’s it for the 2019 tipping, I hope you all have a fantastic 2019 5O5 Worlds. 


Pip Pearson.

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