Having had the honor of being asked by Commodore Gubelmann to join the Board of the 12 Metre Yacht Club in 2013, I’ve had some time to become familiar with the challenges facing the Class and more specifically the Newport Fleet. The efforts of the Club’s board are keenly focused on increasing participation in 12 Metre sailing, racing and related social activities in the Newport area. Clearly one very important job that the Board of the 12 MYC is faced with is to promote the 12 Metre Class. We, the board, need to do all we can to get the Class and the Newport Fleet all the attention and interest we can. Growing the fleet and interest in the 12 Metre Class is a big priority! Having exciting sailing at innovative events, followed by good press is one of the strategies we are pursuing to grow your fleet. Several ambitious projects are in the works to achieve these ends.
My personal interest in seeing the Newport 12 Metre Fleet succeed and grow stem from the privilege of sailing on Courageous from 2005-2009. Having watched 12 Metres race going back to 1980, I never would have guessed what a thrill and challenge it was to sail one. Now that I know what a great experience it is to sail and race a 12, I want to do all I can to provide the opportunity for more people to enjoy the same experience.
In addition to sailing 12 Metres, I’ve also enjoyed racing 6 Metres for the last 4 seasons. Sailing a 6 is every bit as challenging and fun as sailing a 12, but you only need one person to carry a Genoa for a 6! While sailing 6’s in Europe the last 4 summers I have come to appreciate the synergies that exist between the Metre boat classes. In fact, it is not uncommon to be at a 6 Metre regatta and find yourself speaking with a competitor who also sails 12s, or 8s or 5.5 Metres.
Sailors discussing shared interests and challenges with other sailors, recent studies indicate, is what spawned the “post-racing cocktail party.” These shared interests have spawned the idea for a combined Metre Boat Regatta. Due to a confluence of coincidences it may be that many 6s will be transiting from Europe to Vancouver, BC via Newport in 2017. We are also in contact with members of the Toronto 8 Metre fleet who also expressed initial interest in participating in a Metre Boat Festival.
While logistics and dates are still being explored, we are optimistic that this could become an historic gathering of formula racing yachts and sailors in Newport. We feel we can draw many great sailors and a lot of attention to our Newport 12 Metre fleet by holding events such as this. If you’d like to get involved in helping to make the “MeterBoatFestival2017” happen please contact us.
Also, I am working to produce a series of videos, one with the owner of each yacht in the Newport fleet, for this website. (The first with KZ-3, New Zealand owner, Gunther Buerman is already posted here.) The more we reveal the unique story of each boat along with the “whys” and “hows” the owner or syndicate came to sailing 12 Metres, the better our chances become for like-minded people to say: “Hey that’s pretty cool, I’d like to speak to them about getting my own 12 program together.” If you would like to participate or have suggestions for interview candidates, please contact me.
Stay tuned, good things are happening with 12 Metre sailing in Newport!
James A. Hilton, Treasurer
12 Metre Yacht Club, Newport Station