12mR: An Enduring Legacy

Published on March 4th, 2021

The 12 Metre Yacht Club (12MYC) has released ’12mR: An Enduring Legacy’, a 19-minute video filmed during the 2019 12mR World Championship in Newport, RI. The film captures racing footage and competitor interviews paired with the experienced insights of the 12MYC’s Station Steward Gary Jobson who also wrote and narrated this documentary.

From July 8-13, 22 12 metre yachts and more than 300 world-class sailors representing six countries converged on Newport to compete for the 2019 title. “The narrative of this film demonstrates why the people who race 12mRs are so passionate about the yachts,” said Jobson. “The feeling of sailing a twelve upwind connects sailors to the wind and the water in a way that makes you want to come back.”

America’s Cup, Olympic, and World Champions are attracted to the 12 metres for the elite level of racing, the history of the Class, and the raw power of the yachts themselves. “It’s nice to race boats that were in the Cup…they are still very competitive…with many good sailors,” said 5-time Olympic medalist and Kookaburra II (KA-12) helmsman Torben Grael.

“It was important for us to document the once-in-a-lifetime gathering of 12 metres at Newport for the 2019 World Championship,” explained co-producer Jamie Hilton. “Not only did we want to capture the legendary racing fleet in action, but also the voices of the participants — many of whom had raced on the twelves in America’s Cup competition when it was held in Newport between 1958 and 1983.”

Reunited aboard Courageous (US-26), three of Ted Turner’s 1977 America’s Cup winning crew — sailmaker Robbie Doyle, bowman LJ Edgecomb, and tactician Gary Jobson — remarked on “better-than-original” boat performance throughout the highly-competitive Modern division.

Together with Courageous, Newport’s iconic resident 12mRs – Columbia (US-16), Weatherly (US-17), Intrepid (US-22), and Freedom (US-30) – boast seven America’s Cup victories among them.

Three “pre-war” twelves – Nyala (US-12), Blue Marlin (FIN-1), and Vema III (N-11) – were shipped from Italy, Finland, and Norway respectively, to race against the United States’ oldest 12mR Onawa (US-6). The film offers seldom-seen footage of these beautiful European wooden twelves sailing in Newport waters.

In high-tech contrast, the three “plastic fantastics” – New Zealand (KZ-3), Legacy (KZ-5), and Kiwi Magic (KZ-7) – were together again battling for bragging rights in the Grand Prix division against Kookaburra II (KA-12). Although the competing 12 metres ranged in origin from 1928-1987, every yacht and her crew were thoroughly prepared for world championship competition.

12MYC Commodore and owner of Challenge XII (KA-10), Jack LeFort, is exuberant about the future of the 12 metre class in Newport. “This season we will welcome several new dynamic teams to our world-class racing fleet. And with the 12 Metre World Championship returning to Newport in 2022, we look forward to another highly competitive global event showcasing the legacy of our fantastic 12mR yachts.”

This summer approximately 20 twelves will compete at the 2021 12 Metre World Championship hosted in Helsinki by Finland’s premier yacht club, the Nyländska Jaktklubben (NJK) on August 12-24.

Next summer, the 2022 12 Metre World Championship returns to the USA, hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club from September 19-24 on the waters off of Newport, RI.

“The twelves will continue to thrive long into the future, because they are fun and yet challenging boats to sail,” remarked Jobson. “The 12 Metre Class is the epitome of what yacht racing is all about.”

Produced by Gary Jobson with Jamie Hilton and Scott Shucher, and made possible by contributions from Jeff Beneville, Peter Gerard, Steven Gewirz, 12MYC Commodore Emeritus James Gubelmann, Art Santry, and the 12 Metre Yacht Club Newport Station.

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