12 Metre North American Championship
Published on September 22nd, 2019
The 12 Metre North American Championship 2019, held September 20-22 in Newport, RI, finished with Courageous (US-26) at the top of the scoreboard to win not only its Modern Division but also the newly contested 12 Metre North American Cup.
“This was a different North Americans than in years past,” said Event Chair Peter Gerard. “It was the first year we tried a handicap system, so actually we had two regattas going at the same time.
“We had the traditional North Americans, which is competed for by division, and a new event called the 12 Metre North American Cup, which is based on the handicapping of all the 12 Metres by the CRF MkII rating system managed by the Classic Yacht Owners Association.
“For the latter, it was the first time we started all of the 12 Metres on the same line and had them compete for the same trophy.”
Courageous, co-skippered by Newporters Ralph Isham and Alexander Auersperg, competed with the same crew (including helmsman Art Santry of Washington D.C./Newport, R.I.) that took third at this summer’s 12 Metre World Championship and first in the global ROAD TO THE WORLDS Waypoints Series.
“It would have been nice to peak at the Worlds, but instead we peaked here,” said Isham. “Our ability to tack and maintain speed was the best ever; we were pointing higher, and in our last two races (held “up the Bay” in 8-14 knot winds) we really showed our colors and won by major margins.” (Courageous also won the first two races held “outside” on Rhode Island Sound in a building breeze.)
Isham noted that Defender (US-33), which finished second in the Modern Division in the hands of charterer/tactician Andy Rose and helmsman Tom Purcell (both of Newport Beach, Calif.), beat Courageous “quite definitively” on Day Two, when two light-air races (six knots) were held on Rhode Island Sound.
A scoring penalty, however, put Defender behind Courageous in race four, and with only one victory compared to five posted by Courageous in the six-race series that counted for the North American Championship, victory was not within reach.
“It was great fun,” said Rose, who has been involved in four America’s Cup campaigns and served as tactician on Australia (KA-5) in the Cup match of 1977. “Everyone else has been sailing these boats all summer and we just got here last week, practiced for two days, and did well!”
Intrepid (US-22), with owner Jack Curtin (Toronto, Ontario/New York, N.Y.) helming, was the third and final North American Championship finisher in the Modern Division. The Traditional and Vintage Divisions each had only one boat sailing – Columbia (US-16) and Onawa (US-6), respectively – so sailing under handicap in the North American Cup took precedence for them.
Gerard conceded that the concept of handicapping 12 Metres is a bit mind-blowing, considering that the first 12 Metre was built in 1907 and the last one in 2015 (to a 1938 design), but the fleet of five competing for the North American Cup had no complaints. “Over that span of decades, technology has changed so much,” said Gerard, “but this was a pretty good test…an interesting perspective on the competition, and a worthy experiment that will continue.”
In order of finish, the North American Cup results were as follows: Courageous (built in 1974), Defender (built in 1983), Columbia (built in 1958), Intrepid (built in 1967), and Onawa (built in 1928).
Modern Division (3 Boats)
1. Courageous (US-26), 12 Metre, Ralph Isham / Alex Auersperg, New York, NY, USA – 1 -1 -2 -1 -1 -1 ; 7
2. Defender (US-33), 12 Metre, Andrew Rose, Newport Beach, CA, USA – 2 -2 -1 -2 -2 -3 ; 12
3. Intrepid (US-22), 12 Metre, Jack Curtin, Toronto, Ont, Can – 3 -3 -3 -3 -3 -2 ; 17
Traditional Division (1 Boat)
1. Columbia (US-16), 12 Meter, Anthony Chiurco / Kevin Hegarty, Newport, RI, USA – 1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 ; 6
Vintage Division (1 Boat)
1. Onawa (US-6), Christopher Culver, Newport, RI, USA – 1 -2 -1 -1 -1 -1 ; 7
North American Cup (CRF MkII – 5 Boats)
1. Courageous (US-26), Ralph Isham / Alex Auersperg, New York, NY, USA – 1 -1 -1 -2 -1 -1 -1 ; 8
2. Defender (US-33), Andrew Rose, Newport Beach, CA, USA – 3.5 -3 -3 -1 -2 -3 -4 ; 19.5
3. Columbia (US-16), Anthony Chiurco / Kevin Hegarty, Newport, RI, USA – 2 -2 -6 -4 -5 -2 -2 ; 23
4. Intrepid (US-22), Jack Curtin, Toronto, Ont, Can – 5 -4 -2 -3 -3 -4 -3 ; 24
5. Onawa (US-6), Christopher Culver, Newport, RI, USA – 3.5 -6 -6 -5 -4 -5 -5 ; 34.5
Source: Media Pro