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Six Metre World Championship at Royal Vancouver Yacht Club - Preview

by Chris Freimond 31 Aug 2017 17:10 BST 17-21 September 2017
2015 International Six Metre Worlds at La Trinite Sur Mer © Fiona Brown /

The Six Metre World Championship, a biennial international yacht race, will be held at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (RVYC) from September 17 to 21. This is the first time Canada has hosted the regatta since it began in 1973.

The crews of 45 participating yachts from 11 countries include former King Juan Carlos I of Spain who will be racing with Vancouver-based Olympian Ross MacDonald, four-time America's Cup yacht race winner, Dennis Conner from the United States, and Vancouver's Peter Wealick, the first Aboriginal yachtsman ever to participate in the race.

Among the other Canadian participants are Vancouver Island's Eric Jespersen, an Olympian and internationally-renowned boat builder who won the International Six Metre Class (6mR) classic division at the 2015 World Championship in France, the RVYC's Steve Kinsey who was third in the open division in 2015, and Ben Mumford, who placed third in the classic division.

With a history dating back more than 100 years, the 6mR class was once the most important international yacht racing class and was an Olympic event from 1908 until 1952. A Canadian crew won a bronze medal in the event at the 1932 Games in Los Angeles.

The six-metre designation refers to the International Six Metre Rule, a formula established in 1907 and amended several times since then. The rule is based on the measurement of several design components and not the length of the boats, which are typically 10-12 metres long and have a crew of five. Most of the older boats, known as "classics" have wooden hulls, while the newer yachts in the "open" class are fibreglass.

Gerald Cullen, Commodore of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, says hosting the regatta is a major honour for Vancouver and builds on the recognition of the city as a world-class venue for sporting events that flowed from the success of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

"The 6mR class is undergoing a renaissance all around the world including Canada," he says. "Classic yachts are being restored and modern ones are being built. We believe that more than 1,200 boats have been built since 1907 when the International Six Metre Rule was introduced, and about 400 still exist of which 300 are in racing condition. Many of the most beautiful of them will participate in Vancouver.

"The spectacle of 45 yachts in full sail racing across English Bay with some of the world's best sailors at the helm will be a unique experience for most Vancouverites who will be able to view the event from several points along the southern shore," adds Mr. Cullen.

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