Newport to host 12 Metre Worlds

Next summer in Newport, Rhode Island a schedule of racing will be punctuated by the 2023 12 Metre World Championship, an International Twelve Metre Association (ITMA) event, organised by the 12 Metre Yacht Club Newport Station (official home of ITMA’s Americas 12 Metre fleet) in partnership with Organising Authority Ida Lewis Yacht Club.

With racing set to take place July 31-August 5, an international fleet of 12 Metres will converge on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound, much as they did in the years between 1958 and 1983, when many of these awe-inspiring sailboats competed for a chance to become a contender in the renowned America’s Cup.

More recently, the class vied for class titles at their 2019 12 Metre Worlds. (The most recent 12 Metre World Championship was held in 2021 in Helsinki, Finland.)

“It’s very special that this event is returning to Newport, especially because of the rich history this city shares with the America’s Cup,” said Peggy Hersam, Executive Director of the 12 Metre Yacht Club Newport Station.

2019 Traditional World Champion Columbia will compete – Chris Tucker pic

“A large concentration of 12 Metres, many of which have ties to the Cup, make their home in Newport; however, the fleet is worldwide and going strong. It will be amazing for visitors and locals alike to encounter these iconic boats tuning up for and competing in this most important event.”

Leading up to the 2023 Worlds, the fleet will be busy racing a full schedule of regattas and practices out of Newport, including two class-sanctioned regattas, the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, June 9-11 and the Sail Newport Regatta, July 7-9 (serving as the 12 Metre Pre-Worlds).

The fleet will be divided into four divisions — Modern, Traditional, Vintage, and “Spirit of Tradition”— and have healthy representation in each, including returning 2019 World Champions Columbia (US-16, Traditional Division) and Challenge XII (KA-10, Modern Division).

Other teams expected to compete include American Eagle (US-21), Courageous (US-26), Defender (US-33), Enterprise (US-27), Freedom (US-30), Gleam (US-11), Intrepid (US-22), Nefertiti (US-19), Onawa (US-6), and Weatherly (US-17).

12 Metres dockside in Newport for the 2019 Worlds – Ian Roman pic

Weatherly’s owner/skipper, Steve Eddleston, who also serves as Commodore of the 12 Metre Yacht Club Newport Station, said his work will be cut out for him: “It’s always exhilarating to be out on the water with our beautiful boat and our skilled and determined team sailing against other world famous 12 Metre yachts of such historic distinction,” he said.

“To paraphrase John F. Kennedy from 60 years ago when he spoke in Newport about the America’s Cup duel between Weatherly and Gretel, ‘We are most certainly racing against each other, but we are also racing with each other against the wind and the sea.’ Nothing comes close to competing in a 12 Metre World event!”

A base camp for the teams during the five days of Worlds competition will be established at the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS). Organizing Authority Ida Lewis Yacht Club will provide another stellar Race Committee and support volunteers for a variety of posts during the regatta, while a cadre of all-star international judges will fly in for this prestigious event.

Social events are planned for every evening of the Worlds, including the Opening Ceremonies, a ‘Legends’ Dinner at the Clarke Cooke House, post-racing socials, and an Awards Gala at IYRS.

The 12 Metre Yacht Club will further involve the community through its partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Rhode Island, giving underserved children a chance to learn about the boats, their history, and the crews and science that drive them.

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