JAMES (Jamie) HILTON, Treasurer
Jamie’s fist involvement with the 12mR Class came when he was recruited by a friend to crew as mainsail trimmer aboard Nefertiti (US-19) for the 2004 Wall Street Challenge. He remembers, “We had a great time and although it was a light air regatta, we managed to keep Neffy moving.” This did not go unnoticed by his friend Andy MacGowan who was sailing on another 12 that day. When a few weeks later MacGowan called to ask if he’d be interested in the same position for the upcoming Edgartown 12mR Regatta onboard Courageous (US-26) he leapt at the chance!
Thirteen-year-old Jamie first admired US-26 when he would sneak into the shed at Minnefords to watch her being lofted, framed and plated. Among all of the 12s, Courageous was always his favorite; years later being asked to crew aboard her was a childhood dream come true.
“I fell in love with sailing 12s. Few boats are as technically challenging to sail well, are so critically dependent on highly choreographed crew work and physically demanding. No boat I’ve ever sailed on gave such a sense of satisfaction when all of those things go just right.” – JH
The following season, Hilton was invited to race with the Courageous Syndicate as helmsman. That year US-26 went on to win the 2005 12mR World Championship in Newport and Jamie continued to drive Courageous to victory at numerous regattas and championships through 2009.
It was during this time that he formed a close friendship with Jimmy Gubelmann, then syndicate head and pitman for US-26. When in 2013, Gubelmann took on the role of Commodore for the 12 Metre Yacht Club to revitalize the Newport 12mR fleet and asked for Jamie’s support, he was happy to help. Jamie was involved with the 5-year planning period for the 2019 World Championship lead by Jimmy along with SallyAnne Santos and Peter Gerard. The result was a spectacular regatta raced by 22 International teams and one of the most successful events ever to be sailed at Newport.
Jamie is committed to carrying forward the momentum achieved to date by the 12 MYC to ensure that the iconic 12mR fleet continues to thrive as an integral part of Newport’s waterfront. Hilton added, “The remarkable thing about sailing on a 12 is that a person can start out as a charter guest and with some effort and a bit of luck go on to earn a crew position and compete at a very high level at North American and World Championships. I’ve had a heckuva lot of fun and built some really important friendships through my involvement with the Newport’s 12mR fleet.”
Contact James Hilton