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Six Metre World Cup at Newport, Rhode Island - Preview

by Jan Harley on 1 Sep 2009 8-12 September 2009

Tailor-made to create magic

For sailors, and spectators too, few sights on the water this summer will have more visual appeal than the 30+ yachts that will gather in Newport from September 8-12, 2009, for the Six Metre World Cup. The genesis of the class, in 1906, coincides with the establishment of the International Rule, a mathematical formula used to design a number of sailboat classes. From 1906 to 1914, over 300 “Sixes” were built as they appealed to consumers with, and without, deep pockets. Ranging from 34 to 38’ long, the design’s rule, which allowed design differences, and the relative size-to-cost ratio, which encompassed the ability to ship easily by freighter in order to compete internationally, meant the owner could build a tailor-made craft. While over time the number of Sixes built grew to more than 1,200, today only about 350 of these treasured yachts remain in existence worldwide.

“Coming from the drafting tables of some of the most prolific yacht designers in history – William Fife III, John G. Alden, Bill Luders, Tore Holm and Sparkman & Stephens – the class reached its zenith in the 1930s,” said Bill Doyle, co-chair for the event. “It was an Olympic class from 1908 through 1952 and had large fleets on Long Island Sound and in Europe, the largest in the U.K. With that kind of pedigree, a gathering of Sixes guarantees to be a showstopper.”

Among the rarest of the yachts that will make the journey to Newport is the one that is also travelling the farthest. Martin Farrand has shipped NZL 1~Scout from New Zealand to race with his brother Kerry Farrand, nephew Bradley Farrand, son Earle Farrand and childhood sailing mate Evan Innes Jones as crew. Built in 1909, Scout is one of the rare first-rule designs (built between 1906 and 1920) still in existence. The scores for the 2009 Six Metre World Cup will reflect the division of the fleet by classification: Classics/1st Rule (built 1906-1920), Classics/2nd Rule (built 1921-1933), Classics/ 3rd Rule (built 1934-1965) and Moderns which are all Sixes built since 1966.

Of the Olympic Games veterans, three medal winners will compete in Newport. D22~Clarity (formerly known as Bonzo), which won silver for Denmark at the 1924 Games in Le Havre, has the shortest trip to the championship. Owned by Jed Pearsall, she has called Newport home for over 20 years. FIN67~Djinn won a silver medal for Argentina in the 1948 Olympic Regatta in Torquay and will be helmed by Henrik Andersin (Grankula, Finland). In 1952, NOR80~Elisabeth X won the silver medal on her home waters in Helsinki, having been built for a lottery sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club . At her helm during the Six Metre World Cup will be Hans Oen (Larchmont, N.Y.) who won a silver medal with her in Denmark at the 2002 Six Metre European Championship, almost 50 years to the day from when she won the Olympic medal.

Sailed by teams of five, the fleet of Sixes will represent ten countries: Bermuda, Canada, Finland, France, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The public is welcome to view the renowned fleet while they are docked at the Alofsin Piers at Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center. Spectators may also wish to watch daily the fleet sail past Castle Hill light enroute to the race course off Beavertail.

Organized by Sail Newport, and held on the grounds of the Museum of Yachting, the 2009 Six Metre World Cup is presented by Rums of Puerto Rico and The Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Supporting sponsors and partners include: A.T. Cross, Crystal Springs Water, Harbor Town Wine of New Zealand, Narragansett Beer, Newport Harbor Corporation, Newport Shipyard, Quantum Newport, Peters & May Logistics, Sweenor’s Chocolates, Walenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and Z Blok. For a preview of the event see youtube.com/watch?v=c7sxmpXbhPA and for more information, please visit 6metreworldcup.com

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