Action aboard Victory ’83 at last year’s 12 Metre North American Championship. (Photo © Richard Schultz)

Action aboard Victory ’83 at last year’s 12 Metre North American Championship. (Photo © Richard Schultz)

 

Season’s Grand Finale for the Americas Fleet Starts Sept. 22

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND (September 16, 2017) – Ten historic 12 Metres are sailing their North American Championship off Newport, R.I. over Sept. 22 -24 and promising a spectacular finish to their 2017 sailing season. The event, along with the METREFEST Newport, Newport Trophy and Edgartown Race held earlier this summer, counts toward points collected in the ROAD TO THE WORLDS Waypoint Series that leads to the next 12 Metre Worlds, scheduled for Newport in 2019.

“The game’s afoot,” said Event Chair Peter Gerard who also is Vice President of the Americas Fleet and spearheads the ROAD TO THE WORLDS program. “Everyone is ramping up for the Worlds, and it’s very exciting that we have several new revitalized and/or completely restored boats joining the Americas Fleet and adding depth to the competition as well as the rich history of the 12mR class.”

Ranging in length between 65 and 75 feet, the Twelves – as they are fondly called – are best known as the America’s Cup yachts sailed during the “Golden Era” of that event, which filled the years between 1958 and 1987. Since the America’s Cup was held in Newport from 1930 to 1983 and many of the Twelves now call Newport their home, these yachts are dear to the hearts of locals as well as sailing aficionados worldwide, remembered for their intriguing designs, keenly competitive teams and famous skippers, which included Americans Ted Turner and Dennis Conner.

This year’s North American Championship fleet will be hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club and docked, just like back in the day, at Bannister’s Wharf for viewing while not racing. The teams of 14 to 16 will compete in three divisions – Grand Prix, Modern and Traditional – from Friday through Sunday, and courses are planned for Rhode Island Sound and upper Narragansett Bay.

With course signals at 1055 each morning of racing, landlubbers who go to Bannister’s Wharf between 0900-1030 will have the best chance of seeing the 12s “docking out.”

Re-introduced to the sailing scene earlier this year, Defender (US-33), Challenge XII (KA-10), and Freedom (US-30) will bring the count of Twelves sailing in the Modern Division at the North Americans to five. The division is rounded out by longstanding favorites Courageous (US-26) and Intrepid (US-22). Sailing for North American bragging rights in the Traditional division will beColumbia (US-16), Weatherly (US-17) and American Eagle (US-21), while in the Grand Prix division, defending champion New Zealand (KZ-3) will spar with Laura (KZ-5).

International 12 Metre Association 2017 Newport Trophy Regatta  earlier this year. (Photo © Stephen Cloutier)

International 12 Metre Association 2017 Newport Trophy Regatta  earlier this year. (Photo © Stephen Cloutier)

At an Awards Ceremony on Sunday afternoon at Ida Lewis Yacht Club, the Gubelmann Trophy will be awarded to the three division winners, while the Ted Hood Trophy will be awarded to the 12 Metre teams in each division with the highest points overall for the season.

Courageous is currently the top Americas Fleet contender in the Waypoint Series standings. Gerard expects 25 boats – more than half coming from outside North America – will compete in the 2019 12 Metre World Championship.

For more information, visit http://www.12mrclass.com/ or contact Peter Gerard at pgerard53@gmail.com, +1 214-244-4955.

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Modern Fleet Strengthened with New Players

“With the addition of DefenderChallenge XII and Freedom to the Moderns, you can expect that division to be ultra-competitive,” said Gerard. “And next year when we have two additional Moderns on the line, as we’re expecting, it will be even more competitive.”

Freedom, designed by Olin Stephens and the last yacht to successfully defend the America’s Cup for the New York Yacht Club by defeating Australia in 1980, was completely overhauled by Charles Robertson (Guilford, Conn.). Freshly outfitted with new sails and a new crew, she made her debut at METREFEST Newport. Challenge XII, designed by Ben Lexcen for the 1983 America’s Cup, has been turning heads with her new refit and jet-black hull and sails. Her owner/driver, Jack LeFort (Jamestown, R.I.), proved his is the team to beat when he turned in a commanding victory at the Newport Trophy.

Defender, which was designed by Pedrick Yacht Designs and sailed in the Defender Trials for the 1983 America’s Cup, was this season’s early leader after having been saved from the scrap heap in 2010 and restored to racing form by Dennis Williams (Hobe Sound, Fla./Newport, R.I.). It was a tough decision for Williams to campaign Defender and bench his Victory ’83, which was the current 12mR class fleet, North American and World champion, but the long-game goal was to increase the size of the local fleet.

“We’re only guardians of these boats,” said Williams, who also owns a third 12 Metre, USA (US-49), which he hopes to also see racing again by the 2019 Worlds. “We leave them better than we found them and pass them along to others who we hope will do the same and continue to propagate the fleet.”

 

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(Full Entry List Follows)

Grand Prix Division
KZ-5 Laura, Kip Curren, Newport, R.I.
KZ-3 New Zealand, Gunther Buerman, Highland Beach, Fla./Newport, R.I.

Modern Division
US-26 Courageous, Ralph Isham/Steve Glaskock/Alexander Auersperg/Ward Marsh, Newport, R.I.
US-22 Intrepid, Jack Curtin, New York, N.Y.
KA-10 Challenge 12, Jack LeFort, Jamestown, R.I.
US-33 Defender, Dennis Williams, Hobe Sound, Fla./Newport, R.I.
US-30 Freedom, Charles Robertson, Guilford, Conn.

Traditional Division
US-16 Columbia, Kevin Hagerty, Boston, Mass.
US-17 Weatherly, Jay Schakny, E. Greenwich, R.I.
US-21 American Eagle, Bob Morton/Cindy DeLotto, Newport, R.I./Edgartown, Mass.

Dennis Williams’s Victory ‘83 won the Pine Brothers Trophy for overall best performance at the 2013 12 Metre North Americans. (credit SallyAnne Santos)

While the America’s Cup was finishing up on the West Coast, vintage 12 Metres from the Cup’s Golden Era were gearing up on the East Coast to prove they still can steal a sailing show when it comes to grace, beauty and competition.  The 12 Metre North Americans sponsored by Pine Brothers hosted six of the sleek Twelves sailing on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound over three days of racing (Friday, September 27 through Sunday, September 29), and it was clear for all who participated or simply caught a glimpse of the action on the race course or the docks at Bannister’s Wharf (where the fleet and teams congregated each morning and late afternoon, just as they did during Cups held here in the ‘70s and ‘80s) that the Twelves would forever proudly hold their place in history, not simply as chapters in a century and a half’s worth of tomes written about the pursuit of the Auld Mug but as living, breathing works of art, lovingly restored by owners who consider themselves privileged caretakers of the past.

“It was really special to have the 12 Metre North Americans follow the America’s Cup event,” said Dennis Williams (Hobe Sound, Fla.) whose Victory ‘83 (K-22) turned in a perfect score line over seven races to win Modern Division (for yachts built between 1974 and 1983), which also included John Curtin’s Intrepid (US-22) and Rich Moody’s Courageous (US-26). “We were out practicing on the day of the last race, so we cut it short so everyone could watch the final race.”

Dennis Williams’s Victory ‘83 (left) and Rich Moody’s Courageous in Modern Division at the 2013 12 Metre North Americans. (Photo by SallyAnne Santos).

Williams commended the Race Committee from Ida Lewis Yacht Club for its management of spirited racing, which on Friday consisted of three races held “up the Bay” in a perfect northerly of 11-18 knots, as there were high wind warnings for offshore.

cid:image009.jpg@01CEBE28.2287D6A0 Dennis Williams’s Victory ‘83 won the Pine Brothers Trophy for overall best performance at the 2013 12 Metre North Americans. (credit SallyAnne Santos) Available for download by clicking the photo above

“In the Modern Division, the racing was tight, as it always is,” said Williams, who was awarded the Pine Brothers Trophy on Sunday at the Prize Giving held at Ida Lewis, since his was deemed the regatta’s best overall performance.  “The gap between us and Courageous was three or four seconds in the first race; a bit larger in the second and third.”

Herb Marshall’s American Eagle (US-21), the only Twelve sailing in Traditional Division (for yachts built between 1958 and 1970), started at the same time as the Moderns.  Though older than the others, the Eagle—built for the 1964 Cup Defense and famous as Ted Turner’s champion in distance races as far back as the ‘70s and in 12 Metre events as recently as last year’s 12 Metre North Americans—challenged the Moderns tactically, adding some close cross-tacking to the on-water ballet. (Turner, forever a fan of the class, supplied Bison meat from his ranch for the 12 Metre dinner on Friday night.)

cid:image010.jpg@01CEBE28.2287D6A0 The 12 Metre fleet berthed at Bannister’s Wharf during the 2013 12 Metre North American Championship sponsored by Pine Brothers. (credit SallyAnne Santos). Available for download by clicking the photo above   On Saturday, the Twelves sailed offshore on the traditional America’s Cup course where the breeze was light despite predictions for a stronger northeast gradient in the open water. One long race provided the platform for an impressive come-from-behind win by Victory ’83, before the wind took a nap.

“You had to stay in the breeze on this race,” said Williams.  “If you got in a hole, you were slow for a long time. We got rolled at the start by Intrepid, but were able to fight our way back and win the race.”

Though still shifty with varying pressure, Sunday’s breeze was better, and on the same course three races—the first two in 10-13 knots, the second in six to eight–wrapped things up.

cid:image015.jpg@01CEBE28.2287D6A0 Dennis Williams’s Victory ‘83 team (left), sailing in Modern Division, won the Pine Brothers Trophy for overall best performance at the 2013 12 Metre North Americans. Gunther Buerman, with Brad Read, led New Zealand to victory in Grand Prix Division. (credit SallyAnne Santos) Available for download by clicking the photo above

Courageous and Intrepid took second and third, respectively, in Modern Division, while Gunther Buerman’s New Zealand (KZ-3), sailing in Grand Prix Division (for yachts built for the 1987 America’s Cup), won all races against Kip Curren’s Laura (KZ-5).

The Ted Turner Trophy, awarded to individuals who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the 12 Metre class, this year went to three crew members who, according to president of the 12 Metre Americas Fleet Herb Marshall, “have put their lives on the line for all, to allow us to race fast and free.”  They were Tony Pierce, USMC, aboard Victory ’83; Sean Klaboe, US Army, aboard New Zealand; and James Heckman, USMC, who campaigned USA (US-61) last season before heading to Afghanistan.

Pine Brothers, makers of Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops, has come aboard as the 12 Metre America’s Fleet sponsor for 2013 after having sponsored the 12 Metre North Americans in 2011, 2012, and signed on again for 2013. The company’s unique “soft drop” throat lozenge was first introduced in 1870 as America’s first-ever commercially produced cough drop and is a favorite of sailors everywhere.  Pine Brothers reflects the passionate spirit shown by the 12 Metre fleet, which works to not only perpetuate 12 Metre racing but also combine racing with charitable efforts when possible.

For more information visit http://www.12mrclass.com.

The 12 Metre fleet berthed at Bannister’s Wharf during the 2013 12 Metre North American Championship sponsored by Pine Brothers. (Photo by SallyAnne Santos)

 

Results  12 Metre North American Championship sponsored by Pine Brothers

September 27-29, 2013

Grand Prix 1. New Zealand (KZ-3), Gunther Buerman, 1-1-1-1-1-1-1; 7 2. Laura (KZ-5), Kip Curren, 2-2-2-2-2-2-2; 14

Modern 1. Victory ’83 (K-22), Dennis Williams, 1-1-1-1-1-1-1; 7 2. Courageous (US-26), Rich Moody,  2-3-3-3-2-2-2; 17 3. Intrepid (US-22), John Curtin, 3-2-2-2-3-3-3; 18

Traditional 1. American Eagle (US-21), Herb Marshall, 1-1-1-1-1-1-1; 7

Dennis Williams’s Victory ‘83 team (left), sailing in Modern Division, won the Pine Brothers Trophy for overall best performance at the 2013 12 Metre North Americans.

Dennis Williams’s Victory ‘83 team (left), sailing in Modern Division, won the Pine Brothers Trophy for overall best performance at the 2013 12 Metre North Americans.Gunther Buerman, with Brad Read, led New Zealand to victory in Grand Prix Division. (Photo by SallyAnne Santos)