DEFENDER (US-33) was optimistically named “Defender” in anticipation of the role she hoped to play at the competition for the 25th America’s Cup Races in 1983. Designed by David Pedrick, she was built at Newport Offshore, LTD, in Newport, RI in 1982. Despite being masterfully skippered by Tom Blackaller, she was out-paced by both Liberty (US-40) and Courageous (US-26) in the elimination Trials. After spending the late 1980s-1990s on the West Coast and from 2000-2010 in Florida, she was purchased and given a complete restoration by Dennis Williams. After successful racing seasons in Newport (2015-2017) she was donated to the United States Merchant Marine Academy Sailing Foundation in 2019.
POINT OF INTEREST: After undergoing a complete refit courtesy of her then-owner Dennis Williams, US-33 took first place in her division at the New York Yacht Club’s 163rd Annual Regatta Around the Island Race / METREFEST NEWPORT on June 9, 2017. It was her debut return to the racecourse after 23 years!
Defender (US-33) along with her 12mR stablemates, Legacy (KZ-5) and Enterprise (US-27) are owned by the United States Merchant Marine Sailing Foundation (USMMA)– a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering maritime education and training. In addition to providing learning opportunities for students from all walks of life, the USMMA’s Warrior Sailing Program (WSP) introduces wounded, ill, and injured service members to the sport of sailing and sailboat racing. WSP offers the organizational and technical expertise to create opportunities ranging from introductory level sailing through world championship competition. Programming is achieved through partnerships and collaboration within the sailing community, military programs and funding from generous supporters.
The USMMA offers individual seasonal sponsorships of their 12mR yachts to offset maintenance costs and to keep them active on the racecourse. Seasonal 12mR sponsors support the missions of the USMMA and WSP by participating in the stewardship of these iconic 12mRs. For information on a seasonal 12mR sponsorship, please email program director Ralf Steitz or contact him at 516-423-6422.