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12 Metre North American Championship
Competing in a Variety of Wind Conditions, New Zealand and Columbia Emerge as Champions
NEWPORT, R.I. (Sept. 27, 2021) – Over three days of racing for their North American Championship, eight historic 12 Metres had every type of wind condition with which to contend. Starting Thursday (September 23), the fleet completed two races in marginally high winds of 16-18 knots with gusts in the high 20s. Friday followed with two additional races sailed in moderate 8-10 knot breezes after the Race Committee from Ida Lewis Yacht Club delayed starts until late afternoon due to a passing squall. Finally, on Saturday, racing started ahead of schedule because the Race Committee anticipated a dying breeze in the afternoon; for the two concluding races, sailors dealt with light breezes of 5-8 knots.
“If you would have said last Tuesday that we would get all six races in with the conditions forecasted, I would have said ‘no way,’” said Brad Read (Middletown, R.I.), who steered Gunther and Max Buerman’s New Zealand (KZ-3) to North American victory over the Modern and Grand Prix boats, which for the purposes of this Championship started together and scored as a single class. “That the Race Committee delayed when they needed to delay and started early when they needed to start early…it was brilliant. ”
As for New Zealand’s stellar performance (with all victories, save one, in its score line), Read says many of the team members have been sailing together for ten years. “The boat handling was flawless, which made it easy for us in the back of the boat to keep it dialed in. It felt very positive to sail that well with so many other seasoned crews around us.”
Read commended the tough competition, especially from second-place finisher Enterprise (US-27), which showed its pedigree with Peter Askew (Baltimore, Md.) at the helm and his experienced offshore crew backing him. “This is the boat’s fourth regatta, I believe, and it just keeps getting faster and faster.” Enterprise, like third-place finisher and 2019 World Champion Challenger XII, with owner Jack LeFort (Jamestown, R.I.) at the helm, is laying the foundation for competing in next year’s 12 Metre World Championship, set for September in Newport.
With Newport R.I. Columbia (US-16 on far left) Owned by Kevin Hegarty (Newport, R.I.) and helmed by Anthony Chiurco (Princeton, N.J.), won the Traditional/Vintage division at the 12 Metre North American Championship, held Sept. 23-26 off Newport. Others shown are Weatherly (US-17), Onawa (US-6), and Nefertiti (US-19). The 12 Metre Worlds will return to Newport next September. Photo credit: Daniel Forster Ctrl+Click photo to download in high resolution
Winning the North American Trophy in Traditional/Vintage (also combined at this regatta) was 1958 America’s Cup winner and 2019 World Champion Columbia (US-16), owned by Kevin Hegarty (Newport, R.I.) and helmed by Anthony Chiurco (Princeton, N.J.). The victor’s toughest competition came from second-place finisher and 1962 America’s Cup winner Weatherly (US-17) and third-place finisher Onawa (US-6).
Harry H. Anderson Memorial Pursuit Race
The 12 Metre North American Championship featured a separately scored pursuit race on Sunday (September 26) that commemorated the life of Harry. H. Anderson, Jr. Won by New Zealand, it started and finished off Castle Hill, where spectators could take in the magnificence of these historical sloops (approximately 70 feet in length), many of which competed for the America’s Cup between the years of 1958 to 1987.
It was magic,” said 12 Metre North American PRO Peter Gerard of the 14-mile race that took the fleet under the Pell Bridge and to the north end of Conanicut Island and back. “A crisp, sunny fall sailing day with everyone, including the sailors, enjoying the spectacle – it couldn’t have been more perfect.”
Anderson, a Newporter who passed away in 2020 at age 98, devoted his life to racing and its rules and was instrumental in developing the 12 Metre Class during and after the 12 Metre America’s Cup era. He served on the New York Yacht Club’s (NYYC) Race Committee when it ran the America’s Cup and the Club’s Selection Committee for selecting the NYYC’s defender for the America’s Cup. He also co-founded the International 12 Metre Association and is one of the reasons the 12 Metre Class is vibrant and racing in Europe and the U.S. today.
The 12 Metre North American Championship was hosted by the 12 Metre Yacht Club, Newport Station and organized by Ida Lewis Yacht Club. Awards were held on Saturday (September 25), where, in addition to the North American Trophies given for Modern/Grand Prix and Traditional/Vintage, the Ted Hood Trophy was awarded in three divisions for the best overall performance for the season. Those recipients were Onawa (Vintage), Columbia (Traditional), Challenge XII (Modern).
More About 12 Metres
The first 12 Metres were built in 1907 and sailed at the Olympic Games in 1908, 1912 and 1920. One of the first International Rule classes, the boats enjoyed increasing popularity throughout the pre-War years when many were designed as elegant racer-cruisers. However, it was not until they were selected for America’s Cup competition from 1958-87 that the 12 Metres gained their now iconic status. The 12 Metres raced for the America’s Cup in Newport between the years of 1958 and 1983.
(top three results follow)
2021 12 Metre North American Championship
Newport, R.I. September 23-26
Traditional/Vintage (3 boats):
- Columbia (US-16), Kevin Hegarty/Anthony Chiurco (Newport, R.I./Princeton, N.J.), 3-1-1-2-2-3; 12
- Weatherly (US-17), Steve Eddleston, (Bristol, R.I.), 1-3-3-3-1-2; 13
- Onawa (US-6), Chris Culver (Vero Beach, Fla./Newport, R.I.), 2-2-2-1-3-6(DSQ); 16
Modern/Grand Prix (5 boats):
- New Zealand (KZ-3), Gunther and Max Buerman (Highland Beach, Fla./Newport, R.I.), 1-1-1-3-1-1; 8
- Enterprise (US-27), Peter Askew (Annapolis, Md.), 2-2-3-1-2-3; 13
- Challenge XII (KA-10), Jack LeFort (Jamestown, R.I.), 2.6(RDG)-4(DNF)-2-2-3-2; 15.6
For full results for the 12 Metre North American Championship look HERE.
Copyright Daniel Forster (@danielforster01)
12 Metre Yacht Club Commodore Jack LeFort with Peter Gerard, recipient of the Ted Turner Trophy for noteworthy contribution to the 12mR Class on or off the water at the 12 Metre North American Championship dinner.
Copyright Daniel Forster
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