A Celebration of Yachting History
Published on May 15th, 2019
When the 12 Metre World Championship 2019 takes place over July 8-13 in Newport (RI), it will celebrate one of the greatest classes in world sailing history.
The 112-year-old International 12 Metre Class attracted the world’s foremost naval architects with the resulting boats represented the pinnacle of yacht development from 1907 to 1987 for the highest levels of international sailing competition: the Olympic Games (1908-1920) and the America’s Cup (1958-1987).
“It’s going to make quite a statement to the world when 21 of these historic 12 Metres – the largest gathering ever in the U.S. – converge in Newport and it becomes clear that they are still being sailed at such a high level,” said Gary Jobson (Annapolis, Md.).
Jobson will serve as tactician aboard Courageous (US-26), an Olin Stephens design that will be helmed by Arthur Santry (Washington, D.C./Newport, R.I.) in the Modern class, for 12 Metres built between 1967 and 1983. (Santry also crewed on the 12 Metre Independence US-28 in 1977.)
Courageous was the first all-aluminum hulled 12 Metre and the second 12 Metre to successfully defend the America’s Cup twice, in 1974 and 1977. The first 12 Metre, also an Olin Stephens design, was the wooden-hulled Intrepid (US-22), which successfully defended in 1967 and ’70 (above).
Intrepid will be at the Worldsl in the Modern Division with skipper Jack Curtin (Toronto, Ontario/New York, N.Y.) at the helm.
“Courageous is in the best shape she’s ever been in,” said Jobson, explaining that her benefactors Ralph Isham, Steve Glascock, Alexander Auersperg and Ward Marsh (all Newport, R.I.), who also crew aboard her, lead a syndicate that was formed 15 years ago to charter the yacht after it was donated to the Museum of Yachting.
“There has been some work on her keel, rudder, and trim tab over this past winter, and she will be sporting new winches and sails. Our goal is to win every race, but you never know in this division. Otherwise, it’s to be a strong contender, to put on a good show and get better with each race.”
It just so happens Jobson was the tactician on Courageous in 1977 when Ted Turner defeated Alan Bond’s Australia (KA-5) four races to zero in a best-of-seven series. Turner’s America’s Cup victory (his second try) came long before he was a television media mogul, but with his famously quick wit and tell-it-like-it-is character, he was already well on his way to becoming an authentic American sailing hero.
Turner plans to return to Newport to watch the Worlds, eager to see Jobson and his fellow sailors from that era making Courageous spotlight-worthy again.
Significantly, four others on the Courageous crew of 16 have won the “Auld Mug” at some point in their lives.
• Jon Wright, who will serve as jib trimmer, sailed on three America’s Cup winners: Courageous in ’74, Freedom (US-30) in ’80, and Stars & Stripes (US-55) in ’87 (he also sailed on Independence in ’77 and Liberty US-40 in ’83).
• LJ Edgcomb, who will serve as navigator, sailed on Courageous in ’74 and ‘77 (he also sailed on Courageous again in ’80).
• Robbie Doyle will serve as main trimmer, just as he did on Courageous in ’77 (he also sailed on Mariner (US-25) in ’74 and Courageous again in ’80).
• Stu Argo, who will serve as jib trimmer, sailed on America3 in ’92 (he coached the All Women’s team on America3 in ’95 and raced on Oracle Team USA in 2007).
According to Jack Curtin, who salvaged Intrepid in as a “massive labor of love” after it ran aground on Nantucket, his crew hasn’t changed much from when it was first assembled in 1998, after a two-year complete restoration of the yacht. “I’m most proud that we don’t bring in any rock stars,” said Curtin. “It’s staggering the amount of time people are willing to sacrifice for this summer’s racing schedule, but that’s how strongly everyone feels about each other.”
Among Intrepid’s crew members are two father-son combinations. Travis Pierce, son of starboard trimmer Reggie Pierce (Courageous ‘74, Independence ’77), will work the bow, while Ian O’Brien, son of port trimmer Tom O’Brien (Courageous ’74, Independence ‘77), will work the pit. Other America’s Cup veterans crewing are tactician Scott Perry (Independence ’77) and main trimmer Skip Beck (Clipper US-32 ‘80).
“We’ve started practicing already, so we are serious, and we’ve done whatever we thought we could do to make us more competitive,” said Curtin, noting he has now completed major improvements to Intrepid a total of four times (including this year in preparation for the Worlds).
He pointed out other American owners such as Dennis Williams, Charles Robertson, Jack LeFort, and Gunther Buerman – owners, respectively, of Victory ’83 (K-22), Freedom (US-30), Challenge XII (KA-10), and New Zealand (KZ-3) – who have invested great amounts of money and effort into either restoring or totally rebuilding the magnificent 12 Metres that will be racing in the Worlds.
“In addition to being as beautiful and significant as ever, the fleet is the fastest it has ever been,” said Curtin. “Every boat that’s racing is in better shape than when it first sailed decades ago.”
Competing 12 Metres (to date):
Grand Prix Division
KZ-7 Kiwi Magic, Johan Blach Petersen, Arhus, Denmark
KA-12 Kookaburra II, Patrizio Bertelli, Porto Santo Stefano, Italy
KZ-5 Legacy (nee Laura), Jesper Bank, Denmark
KZ-3 New Zealand, Gunther Buerman, Highland Beach, Fla./Newport, R.I.
KA-10 Challenge XII, Jack LeFort, Jamestown, R.I.
US-26 Courageous, Ralph Isham/Steve Glascock/Alexander Auersperg/Ward Marsh/Arthur Santry, Newport, R.I.
US-27 Enterprise, Clay & Nancy Deutsch, Newport, RI
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.
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.
K-17 Blue Marlin, Henrik Andersin, Kotka, Finland
US-12 Nyala, Patrizio Bertelli, Porto Santo Stefano, Italy
US-6 Onawa, Earl McMillen, Newport, R.I.
N-11 Vema III, Vema Syndicate, Oslo, Norway
12 Metre Spirit
US-42 America II, New York Harbor Sailing Foundation, New York, NY
US-46 America II, New York Harbor Sailing Foundation, New York, NY
Other potential competitors: US-23 Heritage, US-24 Valiant
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 the race course at vantage points along the shores closest to Narragansett Bay’s East Passage, including Fort Adams, Beavertail Light and Castle Hill.
Source: Media Pro Int’l