Article By Connie Bischoff
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND (September 17, 2010) – It is no surprise that Newport, RI is the epicenter of the 12 Metre “world” this week. It is also not shocking that Ted Turner and his former America’s Cup Tactician Gary Jobson, USSAILING’s current President, revealed that they still have their sailing skills after 33 years. The team and their able crew showed their expertise during the 3 day 2010 North Americans, earning 5 bullets in regatta and winning their division. The many on-the-water spectators included a whale. This was the perfect kickoff to the 2010 America’s Cup 12 Metre Era Reunion presented by Rolex and hosted by New York Yacht Club which extends through Sunday, September 19 at New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court.
The NAs took place out on Long Island Sound with the social events held at New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court. The PRO for the regatta was America’s Cup veteran Sam Wakefield. Watching the Twelves sail out brought back old memories of the America’s Cup which was raced in 12 Metres in Newport from 1958 to 1983. There were 11 of these classic boats in four divisions competing in the regatta.
In the oldest Vintage Division (also known as Division D consisting of 12 Metres built between 1918 and 1937), Northern Light ~ US 14 triumphed. She is owned by Elizabeth Tiedemann was and sailed by Kip Curren. The second place boat was Onawa ~ US 6. These beautiful wooden boats were built in 1938 and 1928 respectively. They showed that classic boats can still be super competitive.
The next oldest class, Division C, is the Traditional Class made up of boats built from 1958 to 1970. The winner was American Eagle ~ US 21, owned by Herb Marshall, chartered by Carol Swift with Ted Turner as the skipper. 1958 America’s Cup winner Columbia ~ US 16 and Easterner ~ US 18 followed closely.
Division B, Modern is made up of boats built between 1974 and 1983. The winner, Courageous had previously won the America’s Cup in 1974 and 1977 (with Ted Turner as the skipper in ‘77). In the 2010 NAs, Courageous was followed by Freedom ~ US 30, Victory ’83 ~ K 22 and Intrepid ~ US 22.
Grand Prix, the newest Division A, is made up of boats built for the 1983 America’s Cup. USA ~ US 61, with owner Guy Heckman at the helm, dominated the regatta with 7 bullets…one in each race. The other competitor in this class was America II ~ US 46.
The 2010 12 Metre North Americans concluded with the famous Candy Store Cup where the entire fleet (boats in all four divisions) raced from the Sound past Castle Hill and Ft. Adams into Newport Harbor to finish at Bannister’s Wharf. This is a spectacular race to see and the winning boat enjoys a magnum of champagne as they cruise around the harbor (known as the “harbor burn”) while they celebrate their victory. The victorious boat this year was Courageous.
The 2010 12 Metre NAs enjoyed fierce competition and great camaraderie as these big and beautiful boats sailed across the royal blue waves of Narragansett Bay. It was not just a great photo op; it was a perfect example of the “class slogan”…12 Metres…still elegant, still racing.
For More Photos of The 12 Metre North American Championships and The Candy Store Cup Click Here
What’s better than champagne sailing? Well if you’re one of the select few sailing in the Perini Navi Cup off the Costa Smeralda, it was certainly more like Bellini sailing – 30+ knots from the west which provided spectacular conditions for the 18-boat fleet.
Racing started pursuit style with the smallest yacht in the fleet, Elettra starting first at 1205; thereafter the yachts started every two minutes, with the last yacht off the line, the 184-foot sloop-rigged Salute.
The YCCS race committee sent the fleet on a 25 nautical mile course that featured mostly reaching: from the start off Porto Cervo, it was a beat up to Monaci island, once around a reach down to the rocky islet of Mortoriotto, then back on the wind again, though almost a fetch to the finish off the entrance to Porto Cervo.
While the pursuit start sent the boats on a bit of a parade up to Monaci, once around the reach to the leeward mark saw the fleet compress, making for an exciting leeward mark rounding at Motoriotto.
On board Perseus, Bill Lynn, a guest helmsmen, reveled in the conditions, saying “We saw 40 knots a little while before the start, but it was great — these boats handle just fine in that much wind, you just make the sails a little smaller and tell people to hang on a little tighter, and off you go. It’s a totally different beast to sail, everything happens that much slower, but then you get down to that leeward turning mark and there’s eight boats in a pretty small patch of water with rocks to the right, and rocks to the left, and you start getting a little nervous.”
The fresh conditions took their toll with some breakages. On Perseus, the port mainsheet winch failed, preventing the crew from trimming the main on most of the last beat, but they managed with a jury-rig and will work to rebuild the winch for tomorrows race.
While Perinis are massive yachts, under cruising conditions they don’t require a large number of crew to sail. But in racing mode, the crew numbers easily grow to 25 or so. Lynn explained, “We have the regular crew, the race crew which is about six or seven of us, guys that are here to race the boat, the owner and five or six of his friends, and a few other guests — I’m not sure if they snuck on.I never saw them before!”
Even a sailmaker can venture a huge smile after a spirited day of racing in big breeze on big yachts, such as the 174-foot Atmosphere. Robbie Doyle, had first sailed Perinis years ago onboard the newly-launched Andromedea La Dea, and in the 2006 Perini Navi Cup on Maltese Falcon — but he had never sailed the yachts in the strong conditions of today. Doyle said, “It was a testament to Perini that the boats all held together as well as they did. To sail in 30-35 knots and have as little damage done, well it’s big change from five to ten years ago. In general, super yachts when they go racing, you sheet everything in that much harder, and that’s when you break things. They’ve really resolved these systems very well.”
Doyle had high praise for the crew, “The owners son drove, he’s a tremendous sailor — a Melges 24 champion, so it’s a little different sailing this boat, but he did an excellent job. But we were grateful we didn’t have to put a spinnaker up today, since we haven’t practiced it.
The 164-foot ketch Baracuda stood out with their dark carbon hull and lavender-colored sails a striking sight against the emerald water. Former America’s Cup skipper Mauro Pelaschier helmsman onboard, said, “We sailed three days before the race, but in very light winds, so it was very exciting today, but difficult too as it’s not easy to trim the sails in the strong breeze.”
Baracuda was one of the last to start, and was several minutes late at that when another yacht crossed their anchor delaying their arrival on the race course. But they gained around the course and had a strong last beat, Pelaschier said, “We’re training the crew, they’re doing a great job. We know the boat a little better in strong breeze, so we do something better tomorrow.
Top five finishers today were: Maltese Falcon, Felicita West, Antara, Andromeda La Dea, Perseus.