Courageous Prevails at 12 Metre North Americans

Published on September 27th, 2015

Newport, RI (September 27, 2015) – Ralph Isham and his brother-in-law Alexander Auersperg (Newport, R.I./New York N.Y.) co-skippered the 12 Metre Courageous to win the Bai Trophy for best overall performance at the 12 Metre North American Championship sponsored by Bai.

The event concluded today after three days of racing (Sept 25-27) on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound, with Courageous winning four of her eight races in Modern Division and never finishing worse than second. The team’s closest competitor was Dennis Williams’ (Hobe Sound, Fla.) Victory ’83, a defending champion here and a past 12 Metre World Champion.

“Victory ‘83 was one point behind us going into today,” explained Isham, noting that six races had been held in moderate to heavy breezes on Friday and Saturday and were replaced by weaker ones today. “With the light air, we thought there’d only be one race, so we knew we had to nail it. We caught every one of the 30-40 degree shifts and won that race.”

The wind held enough for a second race, but after a good start, a few mechanical things went wrong for the Courageous team. “It was okay – we just had to come in second, we couldn’t come in third. We were ahead of Victory ‘83 in a tacking duel, and Intrepid (skippered by Jack Curtin of New York, N.Y.) had its own race and won. We were literally one second behind Intrepid at the finish, but the most important thing was that we were ahead of Victory ’83.”

Courageous last won the North Americans in 2010. In 1974, she successfully defended the America’s Cup for the USA with the late Ted Hood (of Portsmouth, R.I.) at the helm. After the 1974 Cup, Hood built a new boat which he thought was faster than Courageous and sold Courageous to Ted Turner. Turner won the 1977 America’s Cup defender trials in Courageous, beating Hood in the process, and then went on to successfully defend the America’s Cup later that year.

Defending champion in the Grand Prix class, Gunther Buerman’s (Newport, R.I.) KZ-3, won all of its races against Kip Curren’s (Newport, R.I.) KZ-5/Laura, while Herb Marshall’s (Barnstable, Mass.) American Eagle won its Traditional class.

12 Metres were the iconic boat of choice for the America’s Cup races from 1958 through 1987. The aura of mystique that envelops these classic yachts has created a vibrant class association with large and competitive fleets on the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas, as well as on the USA’s northeast coast, especially in Newport, Rhode Island, which was home to the America’s Cup for 12 editions (nine sailed in the Twelves) between 1930 and 1987.

The 12 Metre Divisions are for Grand Prix (yachts built from 1983-1987), Modern (yachts built from 1967-1983), and Traditional (yachts built from 1958-1967).

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