12 Meter North American Sailing Championship decided in Newport RI
NEWPORT – Over the course of three days of racing for their North American Championship, eight historic 12-meters faced all types of wind conditions.
As of Thursday, the fleet completed two races in slightly strong winds of 16-18 knots with gusts in the 20-degree range. Friday followed with two more races contested in moderate breezes of 8-10 knots after the Ida Lewis Yacht Club race committee delayed starts until late afternoon due to a squall that passed.
Finally, on Saturday, the races started early as the Race Committee anticipated a dying breeze in the afternoon. For the two final heats, the sailors faced light breezes of 5 to 8 knots.
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“If you had said last Tuesday that we were going to participate in all six races under the conditions set, I would have said ‘No way’,” said Brad Read of Middletown, who led Gunther Buerman’s New Zealand (KZ-3 ) to the north. American victory on the Modern and Grand Prix boats, which for the purposes of this Championship started together and marked as one class. “That the race committee delayed when they delayed and started early when they started early… that was great. “
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As for New Zealand’s stellar performance – with all but one of the wins in their scoring line – Read says many of the team have been sailing together for the past 10 years.
“The handling of the boat was impeccable which allowed us at the back of the boat to stay focused,” Read said. “It was very positive to sail so well with so many other seasoned crews around us.”
Read praised the tough competition, especially from second-placed Enterprise (US-27) who showed their pedigree with Peter Askew at the helm and his experienced offshore crew supporting him.
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Enterprise, as the third and 2019 Challenger XII World Champion, with owner Jack LeFort of Jamestown at the helm, is laying the groundwork for participation in next year’s 12-meter World Championship, slated for September in Newport.
The winner of the North American Traditional / Vintage Trophy (also combined with this regatta) was the 1958 America’s Cup winner and 2019 World Champion Columbia (US-16), with the owner at the helm. / 12-meter veteran skipper Kevin Hegarty of Newport.
The winner’s toughest competition came from second and 1962 America’s Cup winner Weatherly (US-17) and third Onawa (US-6).
Harry H. Anderson Memorial Pursuit Race
The 12-meter North American Championship featured a separately scored chase race on Sunday that commemorated Harry’s life. H. Anderson Jr.
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Won by New Zealand, it started and ended at Castle Hill, where spectators could admire the magnificence of these historic sloops (around 70 feet long) that competed for the America’s Cup between 1958 and 1987.
“It was magical,” said Peter Gerard, the North American 12-meter PRO, of the 14-mile race that took the fleet under the Pell Bridge and to the north end of Conanicut Island and return. “A cool and sunny fall sailing day with everyone including the sailors enjoying the show – it couldn’t have been more perfect.
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Anderson, a Newporter who died in 2020 at the age of 98, dedicated his life to racing and its rules and was instrumental in the development of the 12-meter class during and after the 12-meter era. America’s Cup.
He served on the New York Yacht Club race committee when leading the America’s Cup and the club’s selection committee for the selection of the NYYC defender for the America’s Cup. He also co-founded the International 12 Meter Association and is one of the reasons the 12-meter class is dynamic and present today in Europe and the United States.