Lionheart, K18 Returns to Racing in Newport

Recently, Lionheart (K-18) owner, Harry Graves’ yeoman efforts resulted in the welcome return of his K-18 to racing at the 2016 12mR North American Championship. His inspiring perseverance, “against all odds” is indicative of the momentum gathering in anticipation of the 2019 World Championship in Newport. Commodore Gubelmann asked Harry to share his recent “journey” with us…


Harry GravesFirst and foremost, a big hearty “thank you” to the Newport 12 Metre fleet for their welcome, kindness, and support of Team Lionheart (K18) as we returned to competition in Newport for the 2016 North American Championship after a decade hiatus. Special mention goes to Jimmy Gubelmann, Commodore of the 12MYC who consistently paved the way for our early participation at whatever level would be possible. In addition, a great thank you to Dennis Williams, Victory 83 (K-22) owner who had the foresight to invite me for a day of racing at the 2015 North Americans– that “set the hook” for our 2016 participation.

Lionheart racing at 2016 12mR North American ChampionshipHaving raced in the glorious “once in a lifetime” America’s Cup Jubilee in Cowes, Team Lionheart (K18) recognizes that the 2019 12 Metre World Championship at New York Yacht Club’s 175th anniversary celebration in Newport has all the markings of another “once in a lifetime” event. To work back into form, it was deemed important to participate in the 2016 North Americans as a first step and then work toward more competition in the next 3 years leading to The Worlds. While this seemed like a simple enough objective, there were many moments where it really would have been much easier to take the easy route and wait until next year. However, we persevered and against all odds did manage to participate in all races of the Championship and really enjoyed it all. The thrill of racing 12mR America’s Cup boats in Newport is truly exciting, historic, and competitive and it is a great honor to be a part of it! We had the added challenge of re-positioning the boat from Greenwich and supplemented our usual sailing tender with the powerful Ski Nautique from Vermont. The expert 12 Metre Class measurement team swung into action and was very helpful in getting Lionheart’s rating certificate updated upon arrival in Newport. The Bannister’s Wharf team was fully supportive and helped to make the event experience as smooth as possible. We were very fortunate to have good friends from Victory 83 (K-22), Intrepid (US-22), and others help us fill in with those inevitable broken or missing parts. We have a long way to go to get on terms with the finely tuned 12 Metre racing programs in the Newport fleet. This time around our only functioning instrument was a much appreciated depth meter. Likewise, we are still looking for our newest sails, but managed with the AC Jubilee sails.

2016-12mrna-lionheartteam-455cAll in all, we are very pleased to be able to say, “We did it!” and encourage one and all to join us in this great endeavor. We demonstrated that a “rowing team and friends” can get out there and have fun. Team Lionheart (K18) anticipates many upgrades and improvements while competing in 2017 and 2018 as a “work in progress” and we look forward to increasing boat speed as we race toward 2019.

With 37 twelves on the line, the 12mR Class became the symbol of the America’s Cup Jubilee in Cowes, England. As Newport is home to America’s Cup 12 Metre Era and with its status as “Sailing Capital of the World,” we fully expect that the 2019 Twelve Metre World Championship will be another iconic lifetime event, a “Newport Jubilee.” Team Lionheart (K18) hopes to be one of the 38 twelves on the line. Participation is welcome and fun!

H.H. Graves
Team Lionheart (K18)