12 Metre fleet at start of racing ( Photo © George Bekris )

12 Metre fleet at start of racing ( Photo © George Bekris )

NEWPORT, R.I. (Sept. 24, 2018) – An eight-race series held Friday through Sunday (September 21-23) on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay determined title holders for the 2018 12 Metre North American Championship. The event, hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club and including divisions for historic 12 Metres from the Modern and Traditional eras (1974-1983 and 1958-1970, respectively), was especially competitive this year due to teams ramping up for the 2019 12 Metre World Championship, which also will be hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club on these same waters off Newport, R.I. next July.

Challenge XII passing Castle Hill Lighthouse ( Photo © George Bekris )

Challenge XII passing Castle Hill Lighthouse ( Photo © George Bekris )


Action aboard winners Challenge XII and American Eagle at the 2018 12 Metre North American Championship held in Newport, R.I.

12 Metre American Eagle ( Photo © George Bekris )

12 Metre American Eagle ( Photo © George Bekris )

“The boats that prevailed had to perform in all wind ranges and sailing conditions,” said Event Chairman Peter Gerard, explaining that the fleet of nine boats had three races on Friday that were held in ideal 12-15 knot winds “outside” on the open water where the America’s Cup 12 Metre races were held from 1958-1983. Saturday’s three races saw 15-18 knots at the racecourse “inside” the Bay (north of Pell Bridge), and Sunday’s last two races were held in challengingly light and variable breezes, also inside. “It was a true test for the championship and a great example of the 12 Metres committed to and prepping for the Worlds here next year.”

12 Metre American Eagle ( Photo © George Bekris )

12 Metre American Eagle ( Photo © George Bekris )

Topping five boats in the Traditional Division was American Eagle, which has been chartered by the American Eagle 2019 Syndicate for this year and next. The team is comprised of regional sailors mostly from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including Bob Morton (Newport) who skippers and leads the syndicate jointly with team member Cindy DeLotto (Newport/Edgartown, Mass.).

“This really showed that both our team and boat are tuned up,” said Morton after racing on Sunday. “I don’t know if we’ll do anything else to the boat; we’ll just continue to improve on what we are doing in preparation for the Worlds.”

 


The 2019 12 Metre North American Championship was hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, R.I., where the 2019 12 Metre World Championship is scheduled to take place.

 

 

Giving American Eagle its best run for the money was Weatherly, chartered by Jay Schachne (Barrington, R.I.) who plans to compete in the Worlds. Weatherly finished with 18 points to American Eagle’s 14; however, only two points separated the two boats going into Sunday. “We were working one-on-one with Weatherly because mathematically we only had to beat them to win,” said Morton, who took second in both races Sunday while Weatherly finished third in both. “It was crazy out there, all the back and forth, close racing all the time. We don’t have any real strengths…for instance, Columbia excels in heavy air, Weatherly is good in light air.  We just average out; we’re always there. You can see that in our scoreline; we were never worse than second.”

 

Weatherly ( Photo ©George Bekris )

Weatherly ( Photo ©George Bekris )

According to American Eagle’s tactician Dave Vietor (Edgartown, Mass.), Sunday’s races were “character building.” He knows a thing or two about 12 Metres, as he skippered Courageous in the Defender Trials for the 1983 America’s Cup. (Courageous, a veteran of five America’s Cup campaigns and twice a successful defender, finished third in the Modern Division with a new face, Arthur Santry of Arlington, Va./Newport, R.I., at the helm.)


Historic 12 Metres competing in the 12 Metre North American Championship participated in an exhibition race back to Newport Harbor on Friday (Sept. 21). The nine-boat fleet had just completed three races on Rhode Island Sound, where 12 Metres contended for the America’s Cup from 1958-1983.

Victory '83 ( Photo © George Bekris )

Victory ’83 ( Photo © George Bekris )

Going into Sunday, Victory ’83, skippered by owner Dennis Williams (Hobe Sound, Fla./Newport, R.I.), was leading the four-boat Modern Division by one point, but it was Challenge XII with owner Jack LeFort (Jamestown, R.I.) at the helm that ultimately won – by one point. “We were really concerned about Victory ’83, because it’s a very good boat and team, and we knew whoever won today was going to be the champion,” said LeFort, who sailed with America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Ken Read aboard as tactician. “It was fluky, it was hard and we ended up 1-2 and they posted a 2-3. All regatta, it was anybody’s game at any time. The 12 Metre racing is great competition, we love it. It will be nice when there are more boats at the Worlds.”

Easterner ( Photo © George Bekris )

Easterner ( Photo © George Bekris )

According to Peter Gerard, who is also heading up the Worlds, as any as 10 Modern 12 Metres are expected at that event, while five Traditional, six Grand Prix (built for the 1987 America’s Cup) and three Vintage 12 Metres (built before the America’s Cup 12 Metre era) are also expected, making it the largest gathering of 12 Metres ever in North America.

Ted Hood and Ted Turner Trophies

At Sunday’s afternoon Awards Ceremony at Ida Lewis Yacht Club, the Ted Hood Trophy was awarded to the teams in each division with the highest points overall for the season. Those teams were American Eagle and Challenge XII.

American Eagle is currently the top America’s Fleet contender in the Waypoint Series leading up to the 2019 Worlds.

 

Clockwise from left: Ted Turner Trophy photographed at 12 Metre Yacht Club/Clarke Cooke House; American Eagle team with the 12 Metre North American Trophy; Event Chair Peter Gerard, Alec LeFort and his father Jack LeFort with the Ted Hood Trophy.  (Photo credits: SallyAnne Santos)

Clockwise from left: Ted Turner Trophy photographed at 12 Metre Yacht Club/Clarke Cooke House; American Eagle team with the 12 Metre North American Trophy; Event Chair Peter Gerard, Alec LeFort and his father Jack LeFort with the Ted Hood Trophy.
(Photo credits: SallyAnne Santos)


Clockwise from left: Ted Turner Trophy photographed at 12 Metre Yacht Club/Clarke Cooke House; American Eagle team with the 12 Metre North American Trophy; Event Chair Peter Gerard, Alec LeFort and his father Jack LeFort with the Ted Hood Trophy.

At the 12 Metre Yacht Club’s Annual Dinner, held at the Clarke Cooke House on Thursday evening (Sept. 20), the Ted Turner Trophy was awarded (in absentia) to James Patrick Howaldt (Copenhagen, DK), Vice President of the International Twelve Metre Association (ITMA). Gary Jobson made the presentation noting that Howaldt’s love of 12 Metres combined with his determination and dedication are largely responsible for the thriving Baltic fleet of Vintage 12 Metres, now 20 boats strong. ITMA’s Treasurer, Dr. Robin Wallace, read remarks of acceptance and thanks from Howaldt, while ITMA’s President, Dyer Jones, relayed additional words of praise from his Baltic fleet colleagues.

The Ted Turner Trophy is awarded annually to individuals(s) who have made an outstanding contribution to the 12 Metre Class on or off the water.

Nefertiti ( Photo © George Bekris )

Nefertiti ( Photo © George Bekris )

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

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12 Metre North American Championship Results
Sept. 21-23, 2018
Modern (4 Boats)
1. Challenge XII, 12 Metre 67, Jack LeFort , Jamestown, RI, USA – 3 -1 -2 -1 -3 -2 -1 -2 ; 15
2. Victory 83, 12 Metre 65, Dennis Williams , Hobe Sound, FL, USA – 2 -4 -1 -2 -1 -1 -2 -3 ; 16
3. Courageous, 12 Metre 65, Ralph Isham /Alexander Auersperg , Newport, RI, USA – 1 -2 -3 -3 -2 -3 -3 -1 ; 18
4. Freedom, 12 Metre 63’5, Charles Robertson , Guilford, CT, USA – 4 -3 -4 -4 -5 -5 -4 -4 ; 33
Traditional (5 Boats)
1. American Eagle, 12 Metre 67, Eagle 2019 Syndicate , Middletown, RI, USA – 1 -2 -2 -1 -2 -2 -2 -2 ; 14
2. Weatherly, 12 Metre 69, Jay Schachne , Barrington, RI, USA – 3 -1 -1 -3 -1 -3 -3 -3 ; 18
3. Columbia, 12 Metre 69’8, Kevin Hegarty / Anthony Chiurco , Newport, RI, USA – 2 -4 -4 -3 -3 -1 -1 -1 ; 19
4. Nefertiti, 12 Metre 68′, Jon Wullschleger , Sarasota, FL, USA – 4 -3 -3 -4 -4 -4 -4 -4 ; 30
5. Easterner, 12 Metre 65, Scott Bernard , Annapolis, MD, USA – 6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 -6 ; 48

 

12 Metres ( Photo © George Bekris )

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)