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12 Metre World Championship set for Newport in July 2019

by Barby MacGowan 11 Nov 2018 21:53 GMT 8-13 July 2019
12 Metres racing in Barcelona during the 2014 12 Metre World Championship. The 2019 Worlds in Newport will be the largest-ever gathering of 12 Metres in the U.S. © SallyAnne Santos / Windlass Creative

With a little over eight months to go, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, the International Twelve Metre Association (ITMA) America's Fleet and the 12 Metre Yacht Club are gearing up for the largest-ever gathering of historic 12 Metre yachts in the U.S. at the 2019 12 Metre World Championship.

Scheduled for July 8-13, the regatta will host 24 teams from seven countries, and the fleet will include Italian Patrizio Bertelli's US-12 Nyala, which is the defending 12 Metre World Champion, and five yachts that have successfully defended the America's Cup: US-16 Columbia (1958), US-17 Weatherly (1962), US-22 Intrepid (1967 and 1970), US-26 Courageous (1974 and 1977) and US-30 Freedom (1980).

"The last 12 Metre World Championship was in Barcelona, Spain in 2014," said Event Chair Peter Gerard, "so there is some pent-up energy for sure. Over the last two years, there has been an emphasis on developing new teams, training for the worlds and getting these iconic yachts into the best possible condition for competition."

Making the trip to Newport from overseas are teams from the Northern Europe and Southern Europe Fleets. They will join the Americas Fleet for racing on Rhode Island Sound where a dozen America's Cup competitions were held for just over five decades. Three of them (between 1930 and '37) were contested in the Universal J Class yachts, while nine (between 1958 and '83) were held in the 12 Metre yachts that are now famously etched into the "Golden Era" of America's Cup history.

The 12 Metres are divided into divisions based on when they were built. At the Worlds, eight of the contenders will sail in Grand Prix (for 12 Metres built in 1987, winged keel), seven in Modern (1967-1983), five in Traditional (1958-1966) and four in Vintage (1907-1958). Grand Prix, Modern and Traditional divisions mostly represent 12 Metres built for America's Cup competition, while the Vintage division represents those built prior to the Cup's 12 Metre era and when 12 Metres held a place in Olympic history.

Competing 12 Metres (to date):

Grand Prix Division

(expressing interest: US-42 America II)

Modern Division

(expressing interest: US-27 Enterprise, US-33 Defender, US-24 Valiant)

Traditional Division

Vintage Division Sponsors for the 12 Metre World Championship are Helly Hansen Newport and Code Zero, while Official Logistics Provider is Sevenstar Yacht Transport.

Road To The Worlds and New York Yacht Club's 12 metre jubilee

The global Road To The Worlds Waypoints Series, which started in 2017, has helped build competition in the Northern Europe, Southern Europe and Americas fleets and culminates with a series winner named at the conclusion of the 12 Metre Pre-Worlds Regatta, scheduled for just prior to the Worlds on July 6-7.

For some extended racing excitement beyond the Worlds, New York Yacht Club has invited the 12 Metre Class to participate in a "12 Metre Jubilee" at its 175th Anniversary Regatta (July 15-20) and compete for a series of historic 12 Metre Trophies.

"It will be a full summer of happenings," said Gerard, explaining that the last four WAYPOINTS SERIES events* are scheduled for 2019 in New England as tune-ups for the Worlds. "This remarkably large fleet of 12 Metres, known for their historic significance, beauty and grace, will create a spectacle of 12 Metre racing that has not been seen here since the America's Cup days of old."

During the Worlds and the Pre-Worlds, most of the fleet will be berthed at Fort Adams where visitors will be able to view the yachts before and after racing. A large on-water spectator fleet is expected, and land-based spectators can catch the fleet sailing to and from racing at vantage points along the shores closest to Narragansett Bay's East Passage, including Fort Adams, Beavertail Light and Castle Hill.

*2019 WAYPOINTS Series regattas: New York Yacht Club's 165th Annual Regatta (June 14-16), Edgartown Yacht Club's 12mR Regatta (June 21-23), Ida Lewis Yacht Club's Newport Trophy Regatta (June 29-30), and the Pre-Worlds hosted by Sail Newport (July 6-7).

For more information visit: 12mrworlds.com or 12mrclass.com or contact Peter Gerard at pgerard53@gmail.com.

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