“They” May Be Returning To Newport!
When owners and crew of 12 Metres gather at regattas or the 12 Metre Yacht Club at the Clarke Cooke House, it does not take long for a story to surface about America’s Cup campaigns. Hardly surprising considering a number of veterans from those campaigns circa 1970-87 are still sailing 12s.
As with most sports– it’s all about the people. Stories are less about tacking duels off Brenton Reef and more about the characters involved in designing, building and sailing the 12s. Shore-side supporters, particularly those from ‘Down Under’ who made it to Newport in 1983 add even more color to an already colorful story. Similarly, the 2001 World Championship held in conjunction with the 150th ‘Jubilee’ off Cowes attracted thirty-six Twelve Metres and at least several hundred of those same characters.
In 2019 the 12 Metre World Championship is scheduled to be held in Newport, hosted by the New York Yacht Club in conjunction with a regatta celebrating the Club’s 175th Anniversary. As plans for that celebration get underway in New York and Newport, another plan is being hatched 10,500 miles away in Melbourne, Australia.
The owner of the 1987 challenger Kookaburra I, who at one time also owned KZ-3, has been keeping his eye on Challenge Twelve, the trial horse for Australia II. She is currently in storage near Newport. He and his merry crew from ‘Down Under’ competed with ‘Kooka’ and KZ-3 at the ‘Jubilee.’ Reportedly, a recent conversation over a ‘quiet little drink’ at a Yacht Club near Melbourne resulted in a ‘why not’ decision.
“Let’s look in to the idea of acquiring Challenge Twelve and campaigning her in Newport, during the summers of 2017-18 and on to the World Championship in 2019.
Then bring her back to Melbourne.” The instigator was ‘egged on’ by several participants in that ‘quiet little drink’– they sailed on Challenge 12 in her duels with Australia II.
If this plan comes to fruition, the Syndicate will be aptly named. While fitting, ‘Geriatric Larrikins’ is already taken. Australian 12 Metre characters arrived on the docks of Newport from the 60s to the 80s, with a small kitbag, a large thirst, passion for the sport, a desire to win and a lovable sense of humor. This mob from Melbourne will be no different.