A Sailing Spectacle Like No Other

12 Metre World Championship Set for Newport in July

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND (November 6, 2018) – With a little more than eight months to go, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, the International Twelve Metre Association (ITMA) America’s Fleet and the 12 Metre Yacht Club are gearing up for the largest-ever gathering of historic 12 Metre yachts in the U.S. at the 2019 12 Metre World Championship. Scheduled for July 8-13, the regatta will host 24 teams from seven countries, and the fleet will include Italian Patrizio Bertelli’s US-12 Nyala, which is the defending 12 Metre World Champion, and five yachts that have successfully defended the America’s Cup: US-16 Columbia (1958), US-17 Weatherly (1962), US-22 Intrepid (1967 & 1970), US-26 Courageous (1974 & 1977) and US-30 Freedom (1980).

 12 Metres racing in Barcelona during the 2014 12 Metre World Championship. The 2019 Worlds in Newport will be the largest-ever gathering of 12 Metres in the U.S. (photo credit: SallyAnne Santos/Windlass Creative)

12 Metres racing in Barcelona during the 2014 12 Metre World Championship. The 2019 Worlds in Newport will be the largest-ever gathering of 12 Metres in the U.S. (photo credit: SallyAnne Santos/Windlass Creative)

“The last 12 Metre World Championship was in Barcelona, Spain in 2014,” said Event Chair Peter Gerard, “so there is some pent-up energy for sure. Over the last two years, there has been an emphasis on developing new teams, training for the worlds and getting these iconic yachts into the best possible condition for competition.”

Making the trip to Newport from overseas are teams from the Northern Europe and Southern Europe Fleets. They will join the Americas Fleet for racing on Rhode Island Sound where a dozen America’s Cup competitions were held for just over five decades. Three of them (between 1930 and ‘37) were contested in the Universal J Class yachts, while nine (between 1958 and ‘83) were held in the 12 Metre yachts that are now famously etched into the “Golden Era” of America’s Cup history.

Left: Italian Patrizio Bertelli’s US-12 Nyala, the defending 12 Metre World Champion, will travel to Newport for the 2019 Worlds. (photo credit: SallyAnne Santos/Windlass Creative) Right: Also competing will be US-22 Intrepid and US-26 Courageous, which have each defended the America’s Cup twice. (Photo credit: Stephen Cloutier)

Left: Italian Patrizio Bertelli’s US-12 Nyala, the defending 12 Metre World Champion, will travel to Newport for the 2019 Worlds. (photo credit: SallyAnne Santos/Windlass Creative) Right: Also competing will be US-22 Intrepid and US-26 Courageous, which have each defended the America’s Cup twice. (Photo credit: Stephen Cloutier)

The 12 Metres are divided into divisions based on when they were built. At the Worlds, eight of the contenders will sail in Grand Prix (for 12 Metres built in 1987, winged keel), seven in Modern (1967-1983), five in Traditional (1958-1966) and four in Vintage (1907-1958). Grand Prix, Modern and Traditional divisions mostly represent 12 Metres built for America’s Cup competition, while the Vintage division represents those built prior to the Cup’s 12 Metre era and when 12 Metres held a place in Olympic history.

Competing 12 Metres (to date):
Grand Prix Division

US-46 America II, New York Harbor Sailing Foundation, New York, N.Y.
K-24 Crusader, Richard Matthews/Sally Morton, Ipswich, UK
KZ-7 Kiwi Magic, Johan Blach Petersen, Arhus, Denmark
KA-12 Kookaburra II, Patrizio Bertelli, Rosignano Solvay, Italy
KA-15 Kookaburra III, Maurizio Vecchiola, Morrovalle Macerata, Italy
KZ-5 Laura, Jesper Banks, Denmark
KZ-3 New Zealand, Gunther Buerman, Highland Beach, Fla./Newport, R.I.
(expressing interest: US-42 America II)

Modern Division

KA-10 Challenge XII, Jack LeFort, Jamestown, R.I.
US-32 Clipper, Hugo Stenbeck, Stockholm, Sweden
US-26 Courageous, Ralph Isham/Steve Glascock/Alexander Auersperg/Ward Marsh/Arthur Santry, Newport, R.I.
US-30 Freedom, Charles Robertson, Guilford, Conn.
US-22 Intrepid, Jack Curtin, Toronto, Ontario/New York, N.Y.
K-18 Lionheart, Harry Graves, Grand Isle, Vermont
K-22 Victory ’83, Dennis Williams, Hobe Sound, Fla./Newport, R.I.
(expressing interest: US-27 Enterprise, US-33 Defender, US-24 Valiant)

Traditional Division

US-21 American Eagle, Bob Morton/Cindy DeLotto, Newport, R.I./Edgartown, Mass.
US-16 Columbia, Kevin Hegarty, Boston, Mass.
US-18 Easterner, Scott Bernard, Annapolis, Md.
US-19 Nefertiti, Sears Wullschleger, Sarasota, Fla.
US-17 Weatherly, Jay Schachne, E. Greenwich, R.I.

Vintage Division

K-17 Blue Marlin, Henrik Andersin, Kotka, Finland
US-12 Nyala, Patrizio Bertelli, Rosignano Solvay, Italy
US-6 Onawa, Earl McMillen, Newport, R.I.
N-11 Vema III, Vema Syndicate Oslo, Norway


The global ROAD TO THE WORLDS WAYPOINTS Series, which started in 2017, has helped build competition in the Northern Europe, Southern Europe and Americas fleets and culminates with a series winner named at the conclusion of the 12 Metre Pre-Worlds Regatta, scheduled for just prior to the Worlds on July 6-7.

For some extended racing excitement beyond the Worlds, New York Yacht Club has invited the 12 Metre Class to participate in a “12 Metre Jubilee” at its 175th Anniversary Regatta (July 15-20) and compete for a series of historic 12 Metre Trophies.

“It will be a full summer of happenings,” said Gerard, explaining that the last four WAYPOINTS SERIES events* are scheduled for 2019 in New England as tune-ups for the Worlds. “This remarkably large fleet of 12 Metres, known for their historic significance, beauty and grace, will create a spectacle of 12 Metre racing that has not been seen here since the America’s Cup days of old.”

Plenty of 12 Metre action in store for 2019 at the 12 Metre Worlds in Newport, R.I. (Photo credit: Stephen Cloutier)

Plenty of 12 Metre action in store for 2019 at the 12 Metre Worlds in Newport, R.I. (Photo credit: Stephen Cloutier)

During the Worlds and the Pre-Worlds, most of the fleet will be berthed at Fort Adams where visitors will be able to view the yachts before and after racing. A large on-water spectator fleet is expected, and land-based spectators can catch the fleet sailing to and from racing at vantage points along the shores closest to Narragansett Bay’s East Passage, including Fort Adams, Beavertail Light and Castle Hill.

*2019 WAYPOINTS Series regattas: New York Yacht Club’s 165th Annual Regatta (June 14-16), Edgartown Yacht Club‘s 12mR Regatta (June 21-23), Ida Lewis Yacht Club’s Newport Trophy Regatta (June 29-30), and the Pre-Worlds hosted by Sail Newport (July 6-7)

For more information visit: https://12mrworlds.com/ or  http://www.12mrclass.com or contact Peter Gerard at pgerard53@gmail.com.



Event Chairman
Peter Gerard
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Manuka Sports
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Media Pro Int’l
Barby MacGowan
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International 12 Metre Class
SallyAnne Santos
+1 401-847-0112

August 2018 E-Newsletter

Dear 12mR Friends,

It is with great excitement that we anticipate welcoming the European 12mR fleets to Newport, for the 2019 World Championship!

In 2013, when first appointed 12MYC Commodore, my goal –in keeping with the mission* of our new not-for-profit organization– was to re-invigorate our then-dwindling local 12mR fleet… read more.

Wings Team Visits 12MYC Newport

Last evening, Commodore and Kate Gubelmann hosted an impromptu cocktail gathering at the 12MYC Newport Station to meet 12mR Wings (K-15) co-owners: Philipp Skafte-Holm, Jens Harder, Thomas Ahlstrøm and key crew members Peter Kampmann, Victor Skafte-Holm, Brit Lilja and Anna Klingspor. The Wings team is visiting Newport, racing the X-boat Foxtrot at NYYC Race Week and gathering logistics information re: the 2019 12mR World Championship to convey to their fellow Baltic fleet members.

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June 2018 E-Newsletter

In our June E-Newsletter, we feature:


Photos & Captions by: Stephen Lirakis, Historian

Clipper (US-32) was built at Newport Offshore in 1979, a David Pedrick design built on the foundation of the keel and keel apron of Independence. I believe this was the first time parts were re-purposed in the 12 metre class. Subsequently the concept would be utilized by the America II group to interchange parts as part of a 2 boat testing program.

Independence Cut-Up

Independence Cut-Up

Independence Keel

Independence Keel

Independence fitted to the frames of the future Clipper

Independence fitted to the frames of the future Clipper

Clipper at Bannister's Wharf

Clipper at Bannister’s Wharf

Constellation: Money, Genius, Craftsmanship, Patriotism

New York Herald Tribune, Paris, Friday, March 13, 1964 - Page 9 AMERICA’S CUP FORMULA INCLUDES MONEY, GENIUS, CRAFTSMANSHIP, PATRIOTISM By Anthony Bailey- from the Herald Tribune Bureau

New York Herald Tribune, Paris, Friday, March 13, 1964 – Page 9


By Anthony Bailey- from the Herald Tribune Bureau

New York. – The formula that defines the Twelve Metre class of racing yachts, the class that will compete in the America’s Cup matches coming up in September, is expressed by the equation:

12mR FormulaWhich takes into account such factors as length (L), skin girth and chain girth (d), sail area and freeboard. It might just as well be expressed: money, plus genius, plus craftsmanship, multiplied by X (which includes desire for fame, love of the sea, patriotism, competitiveness, etc.).

The money and the X-factor are where the yacht begins, as you can see in Walter Gubelmann’s pink-walled office on the 19th floor of the Seagram Building, the Twelve-Meter of Park Avenue towers. Over the couch there is a painting of Windigo, Gubelmann’s crack 70-foot ocean-racing yawl. On a side table rests a leather-bound volume of clippings concerning Seven Seas, the three masted, square-rigged ship that belonged to Gubelmann pere (inventor of adding and subtracting machines), and on which with 27 crew, Walter Gubelmann as a young man raced young Huntington Hartford’s Joseph Conrad, the only other privately-owned square rigger at hand. Next year there may well be a scrapbook and a portrait of Constellation, a new “Twelve” designed as a candidate to defend the America’s Cup against the British this fall.

Working Name

Constellation is only the working name, mind you,” says Gubelmann, with the air of a man constantly balanced between reservation and decision. “We can change it at any time up the launching.” Constellation was also the name of the United States frigate, nicknamed “The Yankee Racehorse,” which the British blockading fleet kept bottled up in Hampton Roads through the entire War of 1812, but for all that, it isn’t a bad name for a syndicate-owned craft that will cost roughly $500,000 to design, build, equip and campaign for one sailing season on Long Island and Block Island Sounds.

I’ve been thinking about the America’s Cup since 1957, without doing anything about it,” Gubelmann said recently. “Then last summer there seemed to be a great lethargy over here in the face of what appeared to be a very serious British challenge. They haven’t won back the Cup in nearly a century of trying, but for 1964, they are trying harder than ever. And we were resting on our laurels after the workout the Australians gave us in ’62.

My crew on Windigo talks about it. The New York Yacht Club is in charge of the Cup and its defense, and when I talked to the people there, they said: “Go ahead, the more contending boats we have the better.” So I went to Delphi, that is to Harold Vanderbilt. He twice defended the Cup successfully — once with an inferior boat— against the British the 1930s. Mr. Vanderbilt said he would take a share if I formed a syndicate. That did it— I felt pretty good.

Safety Margin

“Well they say you need $500,000 and we’ve now got a little more than that— call it a safety margin. I have friends in Philadelphia, people we sail with in Main in summer. I have friends in Palm Beach, where I’ve lived half of my life. I’m afraid I have friends who are also Pierre du Pont’s friends, but he denied to build a new Twelve a littler later than we did, and I got to them before he did. All told, 25 people put up roughly $25,000 each. Eric Ridder, publisher of “The Journal of Commerce” and a great pal of mine in Oyster Bay, took a share. So did his father, and his brother.

“Some people gave me a check for the whole amount— one said he never bought anything on the installment system, and wouldn’t start now— but others are paying over six or eight months. Of course, there were those who said they’d take a share then after talking with their financial advisers, found they couldn’t. It’s not tax-deductible.

Gubelmann is syndicate manager and originally had himself slotted as the Constellation’s navigation. “I’m out for the job,” he had said, “but if I start making mistakes or if someone better turns up, I’m through. That goes for everyone on the boat.” Gubelmann meant what he said. Two weeks ago, he relieved himself of his navigator’s berth in favor of K. Dunn Gifford.

The Details

There remains, for Gubelmann, more than enough to do. The pre-war Twelve Nereus has been chartered as Constellation’s sparring partner, and Briggs Cunningham’s powerboat Chaperone will act as tender to the engine-less yachts. The Castle Hill Hotel, overlooking the entrance to Newport’s harbor, has been rented for a campaign base. Among other details to arrange was a $1,000,000 / $2,000,000 insurance policy to cover any boat used and a $1,000,000 / $3,000,000 umbrella policy to cover everything else, from a car a crew member may borrow, to slander.

About the design Gubelmann had no worry. There are fewer than a dozen naval architects in America with the experience and skill to take the Twelve-Meter formula and produce a successful Twelve-Meter yacht. Philip Rhodes, designed Weatherly, the last champion, and A.E. (Bill) Luders, who is designing the new du Pont boat, Aurora, worked on Weatherly’s modifications. Ray Hunt designed Easterner, which has never been raced steadily enough to show whether her occasional flashes of brilliance could, in other hands, be made more than occasional.

There are a few other naval architects, like Bill Tripp and Charles Morgan, who are waiting and willing, because the job is, of course, the plum of the profession. When the time came, however, Gubelmann chose Olin Stephens. “I don’t mean any disrespect to the other designers,” he said cautiously, “but we know Olin Stephens and his brother, Rod. They designed Windigo 17 years ago. We felt a little closer to them.”

Renewed Interest

Olin Stephens once wanted to be a good painter, and studied under Heliker and Kuniyoshi. But he lacks the conventional “artistic” appearance. With brown suit, bow tie, glasses, a quiet, efficient manner, he might be a foreign service career officer, or a scholar of the medieval history he enjoys reading. Running the world’s largest yacht design firm ties him down to his office on lower Madison Ave. most of the time. What leisure he has is spent on his farm in Sheffield, Mass. And he doesn’t own a boat.

But Stephens regards any view of himself as disinterested in boats as either exaggerated or somewhat out of date. “There was a time, during the war, after it, and through the Korean affair when we did a lot of Navy work. I was busy running the office, keeping men employed, doing stacks of paperwork and I didn’t have much time for yacht design. But then all that slacked off, and the America’s Cup matches were revived. The commission to design Columbia party my interest again. When Mr. Gubelmann asked me if I would design a new Twelve, naturally, I said yes.” Stephens is not the man to point out that he is ta most logical choice to design a boat for a new America’s Cup defense, and that on that assumption he ad already been doodling with and pondering the design. Once commissioned, he spent three involved months with “the tank.” Stephens was the first yacht designer to tank-test hull models.

Stephens Institute

He helped Dr. Kenneth Davidson develop the research facilities at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, which are the best in the world, and indeed his identification with the place and the similarity of the names is such that foreign journals occasionally describe his boats as designed by the Stephens Institute. There, six-foot-long models costing $1200 each are put through various tests to determine resistance, lateral force, and leeway angle. The trials are also a test of accuracy; before the 1958 series, the Davidson lab found that dust collecting on models overnight could cause a one percent error in model resistance. For this series David Boyd, the British designer has also used the Hoboken tank, so the advantage has not been all Olin Stephens’s.

The Cup rules are being tightened, however, and after this year all design work including tank-testing will have to be done in the challenging country.* England by then will have an adequate take of its own. Any other country, such as Australia and Italy, will be seriously handicapped, since they have no such facilities. Stephens is worried about this. He says: “I used to think Twelve-Metre design was just a matter of refining what we already knew. The rule is very tight. But I’m beginning to think there are areas in which breakthroughs can be made. The tank has made this knowledge possible— it has shown, I think, that the V-sectioned keel is an advantage, and it should be able to show us a lot more.”

Computers in Future

“Soon I intend to start using a computer. Of course, you have to know what questions to ask a computer or a tank, and the tank isn’t perfect— it makes mistakes, which might lead a designer astray. And it can’t possibly show you every condition a yacht gets into. Although we have rough water arrangements at Hoboken, they provide primarily for taking the seas head-on and that isn’t entirely satisfactory.”

The best of Stephen’s series of models provided the hull lines for Constellation and with that conclusion the first and biggest of his headaches was over. The construction has to be supervised. Rig, sails and gear arrangements have to be made. But a Twelve-Metre’s function is entirely speed— to comply with the rule and win races— and the designer doesn’t have to make the compromises instead upon by cruising boat owners.

Human, Fallible Crew

He doesn’t have to worry about— though he probably will— the time to come when Constellation will be out of his hands and in those of a human, fallible crew. Crew— brilliant on Weatherly, middling on Columbia— was a big reason why a Stephens boat did not defend the Cup in 1962. There is always a chance that his boat may have the edge inherent ability, and the helmsman of the opposing craft emerge as a Vanderbilt or a Mosbacher.

These anxieties, at any rate, are premature. They concern the late summer days in the Brenton Reef swell of Newport, and not the winter mornings, twice a week when Olin Stephens and his brother Rod, the firm’s field engineer, drive out to City Island to call in at Minneford’s the yard where Constellation is building.

Minneford’s has in addition to its own men many of the skilled craftsmen who built Columbia at the now shut-down Nevins yard next door. Paul Coble, who was Stephen’s man-on-the-spot at Nevins in 1958 is assistant superintendent at Minneford’s. Nils Halvorsen who lofted Columbia, is doing the same for Constellation. He is a small, elderly Norwegian, springy and close-grained, a man who has spent a long life in company with good wood.

The Maze

A few weeks ago Constellation was still on the loft floor at Minneford’s. There are huge sheets of plywood, covered with a maze of black crayoned curves and diagonals and, as Nils Halvorsen points them out with a batten, they begin to form three views the craft: to one side the sections, as seen from down and stern, a wine-glass with no base; the rest, nearly 70 feet long, the profile and plan view superimposed, which can be disentangled to look something like a boat or a bullet.

These are Constellation’s lines, life-size, as drawn by Nils Halvorsen from the architect’s 3/4-inch-to-the-foot scale plans. It is a job for a craftsman, because no matter how accurate the designer is when he draws the yacht on a drawing table, there are bound to be places in the scale of 70 feet where one dimension will not coincide with another— where, if the boat were built that way, a rib might be too narrow by several inches or planking might be forced to take an “unfair” curve. And when he finds these gaps of an inch or two between one plane and another, points to where section and plan do not quite intersect, Nils Halvorsen either “fairs in” the curve between them, using his own judgement, or if it strikes him as an especially crucial spot, he calls up Olin Stephens.


When Stephens talks about “breakthroughs” he is thinking in terms of changes of a fraction of an inch here and there. Fractions here and there are the difference between a winner and a loser. Bill Luders and David Boyd, the British designer, might be able to look at those lines and see in which direction Stephens has gone, and they would probably like to; but for most it is guesswork, with guesses based, perhaps, on Gretel’s down-wind ability and Weatherly’s stiffness— has Constellation a little more flare in the topsides than Columbia? Is there a triple more flatness in her run aft?

Once in a while, there is a reminder that you shouldn’t take it too seriously. Yachting is a sport. Boats are boats, though this is very much an ultimate boat, designed to furnish not only the maximum of completion to any challenger, but the most response to wind and sea as well. Quite possibly a form of masterpiece, a work of art. To that suggestion Olin Stephens returns a shrug and a laugh. “I don’t know. It’s just a question of doing your best.” Together with Paul Coble, Nils Halvorsen, and Walter Gubelmann, he hopes that his best is good enough to defend the Old Mug against the British Twelve, and that Constellation, if she is chosen, won’t be the first in the long history of the match to let the side down.

*The Australian challenger Gretel, tank-tested in Hoboken, outfitted with Hood sails, and probably a faster boat than Weatherly seems to have worried the New York Yacht Club. In the course of the Cup history, the club has often fiddled with the Deed of Gift that controls the terms of challenge, most recently in 1956, to allow Twelve-Metre boats in place of the giant J Class, and to strike out the clause that said challengers had to cross the Atlantic on their own bottoms. The club’s “Fortress America” policy in regard to the Hoboken tank seems more than a little bit “chicken.”