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 or contact Peter Gerard at, +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.”


(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.


Ted Turner At Helm of American Eagle ( Photo by George Bekris )

America’s Cup history will repeat itself this week in Rhode Island when the 12 Metre North American Championship features two of sailing’s most famous skippers, Ted Turner and Dennis Conner, reuniting with their winning tacticians, Gary Jobson and Tom Whidden, respectively.

Turner, an American media mogul and philanthropist, will sail American Eagle in the Traditional division at the regatta, while Conner, known as “Mr. America’s Cup,” will sail KZ-7 (Kiwi Magic) in the Grand Prix division.

The three-day regatta takes place from September 21-23 in Newport, Rhode Island, with racing starting each day at 11am on Rhode Island Sound, where the Cup races were staged from 1930 until 1983.

All nine participating 12 Metres will be berthed at Bannister’s Wharf, reminiscent of the glory days when America’s Cup legends roamed the docks there after racing each day and where those who attended the 12 Metre America’s Cup reunion two years ago revisited.

Turner has won the 12 Metre North Americans for the last two years here, sailing American Eagle as he did in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. His performance in 2011 earned Turner first place in the Traditional division as well as the Pine Brothers Trophy for best overall performance.

“It’s a great thrill to reconnect with my long-time friend Ted Turner,” said Gary Jobson, who served as tactician for his skipper when Courageous beat Australia to win the 1977 America’s Cup.

“Ted is one of the heroes of our sport. He retired many years ago, but when he is on the water his competitive drive continues.”

About Conner, Jobson added, “Dennis Conner is one of the most successful American sailors of all time. Any time he is on the water he has a way of lifting every competitor’s game.”

Conner, a four time America’s Cup Winner (1974, ‘80, ‘87, ‘88), will have an impressive crew aboard KZ-7 (Kiwi Magic), which is currently owned by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) Foundation.

Tom Whidden, one of the most experienced AC sailors in the world, sailed with Conner in three of his victories (1980, 1987 and 1988), while three others have sailed with Conner during various AC campaigns: Jerry Kirby (2003), Dave Kulver (’92, ’95) and Ralf Steitz (’92, ‘95). Joining them will be Michel Maeder, who sailed with Baron Marcel Bich in 1980.

“This will be Kiwi Magic, powered primarily by Stars & Stripes,” said Steitz, recognising the irony that during the Louis Vuitton Challenger series held in Fremantle, Australia during 1986/’87, Conner had challenged the fairness of KZ-7’s fibreglass hull against the slower aluminum hulls being used at the time.

“We will, of course, also have five USMMA midshipmen sailing as part of the 15-man crew. It’s great to give these young people an opportunity to sail with these great legends in our sport, these America’s Cup notables who also are truly among the greatest sailors in the world,” said Steitz of the program of which he is president.

Approaching Newport Harbor In The Candy Store Cup (Photo by George Bekris)

In addition to American Eagle and KZ-7, Columbia, Courageous, Intrepid, KZ-5, USA, Victory ’83 and Weatherly will be racing. Other celebrity yachtsmen participating include America’s Cup veterans Jim Gretzky, Andy MacGowan, Tom O’Brien, Dave Pedrick, Scott Perry, Reggie Pierce, Richie Sayer and Bill Shore.

Columbia (Photo by George Bekris)

A special private-invitation event on Thursday, September 20, will kick off the 12 Metre North American Championships in style and serve a good cause by supporting the national nonprofit Hope For The Warriors®. The organisation was founded by Robin Kelleher, the wife of a Naval War College Officer, and supports wounded U.S. service members, their families and families of the fallen.

Cocktails and dinner will be served at the 12 Metre Yacht Club, located on the third floor of the famous Clark Cooke House on Bannister’s Wharf. During the dinner, 12 Metre Yacht Club Station Steward, Gary Jobson, will introduce Jimmy Gubelmann as the new commodore of the Club.

Also making presentations will be Ted Turner and combat-wounded veteran and solo distance sailor Ronnie Simpson.

The event concludes on Sunday, September 23, with an Awards Ceremony at Ida Lewis Yacht Club, which also serves as the Organising Authority of the event.

Herb Marshall, Vice President of the 12 Metre Americas Fleet, will present the Gubelmann Trophy for the winner of each class in the North American Championships; the Ted Hood Trophy for the highest points overall for specific regattas during the season; and the Pine Brothers Trophy for best overall boat in the North American Championships.

Ted Turner will present the Ted Turner Trophy for noteworthy contribution on or off the water.

Regatta Sponsor is Pine Brothers, while Supporting Sponsors are Boston Beer Company, Harbor Town Wine of NZ (partner to the 12 Metre fleet), Sebago and Atlantis.


Grand Prix – yachts built for the 1987 America’s Cup
KZ-5 ~ KZ5, Kip Curren, Newport, R.I.
KZ-7 (Kiwi Magic) ~ KZ7, Dennis Conner, San Diego, California
USA ~ US 61, Andy MacGowan, Middletown, R.I.

Modern – yachts built between 1974 and 1983
Courageous ~ US 26, Ralph Isham, New York, N.Y.
Intrepid ~ US 22, Jack Curtin, New York, N.Y.
Victory ’83 ~ K 21, Dennis Williams, Hobe Sound, Fla.

Traditional – yachts built between 1958 and 1970
American Eagle/Hope for the Warriors ~ US 21, Ted Turner, Atlanta, Georgia
Columbia ~ US 16, Alain Hanover, Weston, Massachusetts
Weatherly ~ US 17, George Hill, Newport, R.I.

Further information:

Ted Turner (middle) and Gary Jobson (sitting) reunite aboard American Eagle, overall winner at the 2011 12 Metre North American Championships   (Photo by Billy Black)

Ted Turner (middle) and Gary Jobson (sitting) reunite aboard American Eagle, overall winner at the 2011 12 Metre North American Championships (Photo by Billy Black)

A blast from the past ,  media mogul Ted Turner returned to the sport he mastered many decades ago when he helmed the iconic American Eagle — the 12 Metre he once owned and raced around the world — in the 2011 12 Metre North American Championships held in Newport, R.I. over September 23-25. Turner’s well-honed skills earned him first place in the Traditional division as well as the Pine Brothers Sponsor Trophy for Best Overall Performance.

“It’s great to see that Ted, at age 72, still has the touch and the love of the sport,” said Gary Jobson, who served as tactician for Turner just as he did when Turner’s Courageous won the 1977 America’s Cup. The  regatta included nine 12 Metres (Victory 83, Courageous, USA , Intrepid, American Eagle, Weatherly, Columbia, Northern Light and Onawa) racing in three divisions (Grand Prix/Modern, Traditional, Classic) and drew several other celebrity yachtsmen as well, including America’s Cup veterans Dave Pedrick, Richie Boyd, Scott Perry, Andy MacGowan, Jim Gretzky, Reggie Pierce, Tom O’Brien, Richie Sayer, and Stu Argo and other notable sailors such as Jeff Johnstone, Michael Keyworth, Brad Read and Jud Smith.

“Each of the beloved historic 12 Metres were packed with the best-of-the-best on board for competitive racing, in the spirit they were designed for,” said Event Chair Cindy Delotto.  Principal Race Officer Peter Gerard added that even though the conditions — sometimes dense fog, light breezes and a swell from offshore — proved challenging, “when we got to race, it was good, fair racing.”  After five races over Friday and Saturday, scores were close going into Sunday, but light breezes led to postponement and eventually cancellation, leaving unfinished business between competitors.  In the Grand Prix/Modern division only one point separated first place Victory ’83 from second place Courageous.  American Eagle took top honors in the Traditional division over Weatherly, while in the Classic division Northern Light bested Onawa.

Bannister’s Wharf was home base for the yachts and crews, stirring memories of Newport’s America’s Cup days of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, when 12 Metre battle flags flew boldly above the docks as crowds inspected these beautiful, historic boats as they laid at rest.  And just as in 1977 and 1980, they thrilled to see Ted Turner mixing with sailors at the dock after a long hard day of 12 Meter racing.

The Awards Ceremony at Ida Lewis Yacht Club was high spirited despite the shortened race schedule, as so many of the 12 Metre teams have become as close as family over countless seasons of returning to 12 Metre sailing.  As Jim Gretzky said, “the beauty of 12 Metre sailing is that is breaks down all social and age barriers and melds all players into one team.”

Herb Marshall, Vice President of the 12 Metre Americas Fleet, presented the awards, with special thanks to Regatta Sponsor Pine Brothers and Supporting Sponsors Sebago, Atlantis, Boston Beer and BAI.

This was the last 12 Metre event to be scored for the Ted Hood Championship Trophy, given for best performance over the 2011 season.  This was awarded in the Grand Prix/Modern Division to Victory ’83; in the Traditional division to American Eagle; and in the Classic division to Northern Light.

This year’s event inaugurated the Ted Turner Trophy, awarded for an individual’s contribution to the 12 Metre Class on and off the water.  To a standing ovation and thunderous enthusiasm from the entire fleet, Turner himself presented the magnificent trophy — designed by Dan MacDonald of Three Golden Apples in Newport — to Guy Heckman, who campaigns USA.

12 Metre North American Championships

Newport, R.I., Sept. 23-25, 2011

Final results

Grand Prix/Modern
1.Victory 83, 1,1,1,2,2; 7
2. Courageous, 2,2,2,1,1; 8
3. USA, 4,3,3,3,4; 17
4. Intrepid, 3,4,4,4,3; 18

1. American Eagle, 2,1,1,1,1; 6
2. Weatherly, 1,2,3,2,2; 10
3. Columbia, 3,3,2,3,3; 14


1. Northern Light, 2,1,1,1,1; 6
2. Onawa,1,2,2,2,2; 9



Courageous, USA and Victory sail in the Grand Prix/Modern division at the 2011 12 Metre North American Championships  (Photo by Billy Black)

Courageous, USA and Victory sail in the Grand Prix/Modern division at the 2011 12 Metre North American Championships (Photo by Billy Black)

Article By Connie Bischoff   

12 Metre Class North American Championships (Photo by Amory Ross)

12 Metre Class North American Championships (Photo by Amory Ross)

 NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND (September 17, 2010) – It is no surprise that Newport, RI is the epicenter of the 12 Metre “world” this week.  It is also not shocking that Ted Turner and his former America’s Cup Tactician Gary Jobson, USSAILING’s current President, revealed that they still have their sailing skills after 33 years.   The team and their able crew showed their expertise during the 3 day 2010 North Americans, earning 5 bullets in regatta and winning their division.  The many on-the-water spectators included a whale.  This was the perfect kickoff to the 2010 America’s Cup 12 Metre Era Reunion presented by Rolex and hosted by New York Yacht Club which extends through Sunday, September 19 at New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court.   

Ted Turner At Helm of American Eagle ( Photo by George Bekris )

Ted Turner At The Helm of American Eagle ( Photo by George Bekris )

The NAs took place out on Long Island Sound with the social events held at New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court.  The PRO for the regatta was America’s Cup veteran Sam Wakefield.  Watching the Twelves sail out brought back old memories of the America’s Cup which was raced in 12 Metres in Newport from 1958 to 1983.  There were 11 of these classic boats in four divisions competing in the regatta. 
In the oldest Vintage Division (also known as Division D consisting of 12 Metres built between 1918 and 1937), Northern Light ~ US 14 triumphed.  She is owned by Elizabeth Tiedemann was and sailed by Kip Curren. The second place boat was Onawa ~ US 6. These beautiful wooden boats were built in 1938 and 1928 respectively.  They showed that classic boats can still be super competitive.

Northern Light At Start ( Photo by George Bekris )

Northern Light At Start ( Photo by George Bekris )

Onawa (Photo by George Bekris)

Onawa (Photo by George Bekris)

 The next oldest class, Division C, is the Traditional Class made up of boats built from 1958 to 1970.  The winner was American Eagle ~ US 21, owned by Herb Marshall, chartered by Carol Swift with Ted Turner as the skipper. 1958 America’s Cup winner Columbia ~ US 16 and Easterner ~ US 18 followed closely. 

American Eagle Start (Photo by George Bekris)

American Eagle Start (Photo by George Bekris)

Columbia (Photo by George Bekris)

Columbia (Photo by George Bekris)




Easterner (Photo by George Bekris)

Easterner (Photo by George Bekris)

Division B, Modern is made up of boats built between 1974 and 1983. The winner, Courageous had previously won the America’s Cup in 1974 and 1977 (with Ted Turner as the skipper in ‘77). In the 2010 NAs, Courageous was followed by Freedom ~ US 30, Victory ’83 ~ K 22 and Intrepid ~ US 22.

Spinnakers (Photo by George Bekris)

Spinnakers on Courageous, Freedom, Victory '83 and Intrepid (Photo by George Bekris)

Grand Prix, the newest Division A, is made up of boats built for the 1983 America’s Cup. USA ~ US 61, with owner Guy Heckman at the helm, dominated the regatta with 7 bullets…one in each race. The other competitor in this class was America II ~ US 46.

USA (Photo by George Bekris)

USA (Photo by George Bekris)

American II (Photo by George Bekris)

American II (Photo by George Bekris)

The 2010 12 Metre North Americans concluded with the famous Candy Store Cup where the entire fleet (boats in all four divisions) raced from the Sound past Castle Hill and Ft. Adams into Newport Harbor to finish at Bannister’s Wharf. This is a spectacular race to see and the winning boat enjoys a magnum of champagne as they cruise around the harbor (known as the “harbor burn”) while they celebrate their victory. The victorious boat this year was Courageous.
The 2010 12 Metre NAs enjoyed fierce competition and great camaraderie as these big and beautiful boats sailed across the royal blue waves of Narragansett Bay. It was not just a great photo op; it was a perfect example of the “class slogan”…12 Metres…still elegant, still racing.  

 For More Photos of The 12 Metre North American Championships and The Candy Store Cup Click Here

Approaching Newport Harbor In The Candy Store Cup (Photo by George Bekris)

Onawa and Columbia Approaching Newport Harbor In The Candy Store Cup (Photo by George Bekris)