Life beyond the Auld Mug

Published on July 14th, 2022

The history and relevance of the America’s Cup is fostered by the yachts that competed. Even America, a replica of the 139-foot yacht that won the historic Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Guinea Cup race in 1851, shivers the spine as it frequently sails the San Diego Bay.

The J-Class competed in the 1930, 1934, and 1937 America’s Cup, and lives on today in competition, but it is the 12 Metre Class, with the longest tenure of 10 defenses from 1958 to 1987, which rekindles the most memories.

While the enormously complex America’s Cup yachts of today won’t have much shelf life, the 12 Metre Class has done well to live on beyond the Auld Mug… here’s an update from International Class President Paul Buttrose:

As a dark cloud remains over Eastern Europe, we are fortunate to celebrate the vibrant activity of 12 Metre Fleets in Northern Europe, Southern Europe, and the Americas.

Twelve Metre yachts, first launched in 1907 to compete under the International Rule, have enjoyed a continuation of racing like no other class. Currently the largest keel boat class recognized by World Sailing, our regional and World Championships attract competitive owners and sailors throughout Europe and the USA.

In 2022, at least five 12 Metres were restored and launched while two Modern Division 12mRs, both America’s Cup winners, are competing under new ownership.

Continuation of the Class at this level is due to the devotion by owners to their yachts, a strong 12 Metre Rule, and the dedication of a volunteer 6-person Executive Committee with a 3-person Technical Committee led by Ken McAlpine. Most recently, Robert deHaer has filled the long-vacant role of Class Registrar; Class Secretary, SallyAnne Santos now also serves as ITMA’s Communications Director.

Two items on the agenda at our 2021 International Twelve Metre Association (ITMA) Annual Meeting, held in Helsinki during the World Championship, were an initiative to stimulate 12mR racing in Southern Europe and a worldwide membership drive.

Congratulations and thanks go to our Fleet Vice Presidents; Patrick Howaldt in Northern Europe, Bernard Minvielle in Southern Europe, and Steve Eddleston in The Americas for the success of these initiatives.

The 115-year-old International Twelve Metre Class is far larger than the current membership. The effort and resources required to maintain and campaign a 12 Metre are sizeable. Fortunately, knowledgeable and ambitious new stewards are discovering ‘the magic’.

It is the owners of 12 Metres who ensure continuation of the Class. Similarly, behind the scenes our small band of volunteers is following suit.

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