2023 12 Metre World Championship: Ready to Roll

The 2023 12 Metre World Championship, sanctioned by the International Twelve Metre Association and hosted by the 12 Metre Yacht Club Newport Station in partnership with Organizing Authority Ida Lewis Yacht Club, starts Sunday, July 30 and will continue with five days of racing (Monday through Friday August 1-5). For those who may not know, this is one of the most significant events related to Newport’s heritage as an epicenter for world-class sailboat racing. 

The America’s Cup, one of the most famous competitions between countries, was held here in Newport 12 times from 1930 to 1983, and for nine of those times, from 1958 to 1983, the sailboat used to determine the winners was the 12 Metre, a single-masted sloop of approximately 68 feet (21 metres) in length.

Ten historic 12 Metres will compete in the World Championship, which was last held in the U.S. (in Newport) in 2019. They include four yachts that have successfully defended the America’s Cup: Columbia (US-16)- 1958, Weatherly (US-17) -1962, Courageous (US-26) – 1974/1977 and Freedom (US-30) – 1980.

On the 2023 roster, all but Weatherly and Nefertiti (US-19) competed at the 2019 12 Metre Worlds, which sawChallenge XII (KA-10) and Columbia each winning their respective divisions – Modern and Traditional – with returning helmsmen Jack LeFort (Winter Park, Fla./Jamestown, R.I.) and Kevin Hegarty/Anthony Chiurco (Newport, R.I./Princeton, N.J.), respectively.

In Modern Division, returning 12 Metres Courageous, Defender (US-33), Freedom and Enterprise (US-27) all will be sailed by new groups. America’s Cup Hall of Fame member Dawn Riley (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) will skipper Courageous with a young and diverse crew from Oakcliff Sailing aboard. Andrew Rose (Newport Beach, Calif.) will take the helm of Defender, while Japan’s Takashi Okura will lead his team aboard Freedom, and Peter Askew (Key Largo, Fla.) will skipper Enterprise.

This is a highly competitive group and we expect extremely close racing,” said 12 Metre Yacht Club Director Peggy Hersam. “You won’t want to miss it!

In Traditional Division, returning American Eagle (US-21) will be skippered by Robert Morton (Middletown, R.I.), while newcomers to the Worlds Weatherly and Nefertiti will be skippered by Steven Eddleston (Bristol, R.I.) and Jack Klinck (Concord, Mass.), respectively.

In Vintage Division, which will be combined with the Traditional Division for racing purposes here, Onawa (US-6)returns with Mark Watson (Newport, R.I.) at the helm.

12 Metre Pre-Worlds

Congratulations to Enterprise, sailed by Peter Askew (Key Largo, Fla.) for winning the 12-Metre Pre-Worlds in the Modern Division. Columbia, with Kevin Hegarty (Newport, R.I.) and Anthony Chiurco (Princeton, N.J.) leading the charge, won the combined Traditional/Vintage class. The Pre-worlds were part of Sail Newport’s 2023 Newport Regatta, held July 8-9 in Newport. Seven of the 10 Twelves registered for the Worlds competed over four races. 

12 Metre Parade

At 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 5, fans can cheer on their favorite teams during the international Parade of 12 Metres. The Parade, led by Race Committee Signal Boat Casta Diva and dignitaries and VIPs aboard a special Palm Beach Motor Yacht, will consist of 12 historic 12 Metres (many of which sailed here during Newport’s America’s Cup days).

The 12 Metres will start east of Goat Island and parade clockwise around the harbor, past Newport Yacht Club, Bannister’s Wharf, Newport Yachting Center/Hammetts Hotel, IYRS, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, and New York Yacht Club where they will be saluted by cannon before heading out for their final race of the series. Catch them from these locations and just about every wharf on the east side of Newport Harbor. Give them a hip hip hooray, and look for Newport’s Boys & Girls Club kids who will be riding on Heritage (US 23) and Intrepid (US 22). The latter Twelve is a two-time winner of the America’s Cup and one of the most famous yachts worldwide!

Schedule of Racing

A total of nine windward-leeward races are scheduled over five days. (Four completed races shall constitute a regatta.) Yachts will sail either on Rhode Island Sound or north of Pell Bridge on Narragansett Bay.

Tuesday, August 1 – Friday, August 4.  Rendezvous location announced on VHF Radio channel 72 at 9:00 a.m. with the first warning signal at 11:00 a.m.

Saturday, August 5 Rendezvous location announced at 9:00 with first warning signal at 12:00 noon following the boat parade.  No race will start after 3:00 on Saturday.

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