And They’re Off!

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12 Metre World Championship: And They’re Off!

NEWPORT, R.I. (July 2019) – After a postponement ashore and then on the water this morning, a light breeze filled in nicely for the most part of two races on Rhode Island Sound at the 12 Metre World Championship hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club and organized by the International Twelve Metre Association’s (ITMA) Americas Fleet. The five-day event started today amidst much anticipation and excitement for the spectacle of such a large gathering of 12 Metres on one stage. Racing were 21 of the historic yachts, with many of those having once sailed in America’s Cup competitions here in Newport from 1958-1983 (Modern and Traditional Divisions); some having been built with winged keels specifically for the 1987 Cup (Grand Prix Division); and some dating as far back as the 1920s (Vintage Division). A 12 Metre Spirit Division also sailed.

Today’s first race, on a twice-around windward/leeward course of nearly 7 miles, was completed in 9-11 knots, but during the second race, sailed in a similar manner, the wind died enough so that the Race Committee felt it prudent to shorten course.

Courageous (US-26), topped the Modern Division on a tiebreaker with Challenge XII (KA-10), and did so even after a premature start in the second race. Famous for being one of just two 12 Metres to have won the America’s Cup twice (1974 and 1977), Courageous is owned by a Newport syndicate comprised of Ralph Isham, Steve Glascock, Alexander Auersperg and Ward Marsh and skippered by Arthur Santry. Gary Jobson, who won the ’77 Cup aboard Courageous as tactician for Ted Turner, is filling the same role at the Worlds and today had some interesting decisions to make.

Courageous (US-26) at the 12 Metre Worlds
Courageous (US-26) at the 12 Metre Worlds (Photo Credit: Ian Roman)

“The good news is everybody had a good attitude; no one got down when we were over the line early,” said Jobson. “It was a day of picking wind shifts, and we got some good ones. We passed a couple of boats on each leg to win.”

Isham, who sails on the boat with the other syndicate members, said it helped to be behind to see what was happening to others. “With the shifts it could have been anybody’s day, but Jobson made some great decisions and got us right back into the race. In the first race on the upwind leg we couldn’t separate ourselves from Challenge XII and Victory ’83 (K-22). We finally got around Victory ‘83, but Challenge XII won by 25 seconds”

The Danish team aboard Legacy (KZ-5), skippered by Thomas Andersen, won both its races today in Grand Prix Division.

 Legacy (KZ-5) at the 12 Metre Worlds (Photo Credit: Ian Roman)
Legacy (KZ-5) at the 12 Metre Worlds (Photo Credit: Ian Roman)

“It definitely was not easy,” said Legacy’s tactician Jesper Bank. “In the first race we were leading around the marks but not by much. In the second race we were with New Zealand (KZ-3) and Kiwi Magic (KZ-7) on the left and Kookaburra II (KA-12) was on the right, so we knew early on that we needed to win the group on the left. We were the first boat to come in from the left but Kookaburra II was slightly ahead. Then we took advantage of a massive wind shift on the downwind leg. When the wind died on the second beat and the Race Committee finished us at the top mark, we were lucky enough to be leading.”

American Eagle (US-21) topped the Traditional class while Onawa (US-6) and America II (US-42) won the Vintage Division and 12 Metre Spirit Division, respectively.

12 Metre Worlds (Photo Credit: Ian Roman)
12 Metre Worlds (Photo Credit: Ian Roman)

In reflecting on the overall picture, Gary Jobson said, “It’s two races down and seven to go, but the coolest thing is having all these 12 Metres sailing together. It’s the biggest thing in the U.S. in sailing this summer.”

With tomorrow’s forecast, the races are expected to run on time, with the first starting signal scheduled for 11 a.m.


(results below)

2019 12 Metre Worlds
Day One (July 9)

12mR – Grand Prix (4 Boats)
1. Legacy, Thomas Andersen / Jesper Bank, Munkebo, Fyn, den – 1 -1 ; 2
2. New Zealand, Gunther & Maggie Buerman, Newport, RI, USA – 2 -2 ; 4
3. Kookaburra II, Torben Grael / Patrizio Bertelli, Arezzo, ITA – 3 -3 ; 6
4. Kiwi Magic, Johan Blach Petersen, Aarhus C, DEN – 4 -4 ; 8

12mR – Modern (8 Boats)
1. Courageous, Ralph Isham / Steve Glascock / Alexander Auersperg / Ward Marsh, Newport, RI, USA – 2 -1 ; 3
2. Challenge 12, Jack LeFort, Jamestown, RI, USA – 1 -2 ; 3
3. Enterprise, Clay & Nancy Deutsch, Newport, RI, USA – 3 -4 ; 7
4. Intrepid, Jack Curtin, Toronto, Ont, CAN – 6 -3 ; 9
5. Victory ’83, Dennis Williams, Hobe Sound, FL, USA – 4 -6 ; 10
6. Freedom, Charles Robertson, Guilford, CT, USA – 5 -5 ; 10
7. Defender, Dick Enerson, San Rafael, CA, USA – 7 -7 ; 14
8. Lionheart, Harry Graves, Grand Isle, VT, USA – 8 -8 ; 16

12mR – Traditional (3 Boats)
1. American Eagle, Eagle 2019 Syndicate, Middletown, RI, USA – 2 -1 ; 3
2. Columbia, Kevin Hegarty / Anthony Chiurco, Newport, RI, USA – 1 -2 ; 3
3. Nefertiti, Jon Sears Wullschleger, Sarasota, FL, USA – 3 -3 ; 6

12mR – Vintage (4 Boats)
1. Onawa, Jim Blanusha / Steven Gewirz / Louis Girard / Earl McMillen / Mark Watson, Newport, RI, USA – 2 -1 ; 3
2. Nyala, Mauro Pelaschier / Patrizio Bertelli, Arezzo, ITA – 1 -2 ; 3
3. Blue Marlin, Henrik Andersin, Kauniainen, Uusimaa, FIN – 3 -3 ; 6
4. Vema III, Johan Troye, Oslo, Norway, NOR – 4 -4 ; 8

12mR- Spirit (2 Boats)
1. America II, Michael Fortenbaugh, Jersey City, NJ, USA – 1 -2 ; 3
2. America II, Scott Curtis, New York, NY, USA – 3 -1 ; 4

The 2019 12 Metre World Championship is sponsored by Château d’Esclans -Whispering Angel, Grand Banks Yachts, Gurney’s Marina and Resort, MJM Yachts, North Sails and Vhernier Milano. Official suppliers include Bacardi, Barton & Gray Mariners Club, Code Zero, Harborside Marina, Helly Hansen Newport, McMillen Yachts, Quantum Sails, Robbe & Berking Classics, Sevenstar Yacht Transport, Stella Artois and Trident Studio. Event venue partners are Clarke Cooke House, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, International Yacht Restoration School, Newport Shipyard, Sail Newport and Seamen’s Church Institute. For more information please visit:

A full list of competitors is here:

The 112 year-old International 12 Metre Class encompasses a living history of racing yacht design by the world’s foremost naval architects including Olin Stephens, Clinton Crane, William Fife III, Philip Rhodes, Johan Anker, Ben Lexcen and more who pushed their designs to the very limits of innovation. The resulting boats represented the pinnacle of yacht development from 1907-1987 for the highest levels of international sailing competition– the Olympic Games (1908-1920) and the America’s Cup (1958-1987).

For more information on the Pre-Worlds Regatta or the 12 Metre Worlds visit or contact Peter Gerard at

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Ida Lewis Yacht Club during the 12 Metre Worlds
Ida Lewis Yacht Club during the 12 Metre Worlds (Photo Credit: Ian Roman)


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