The largest collection of 12-Metres since the America's Cup Jubilee will compete at the class world championship in Newport Rhode Island next month

After summer sailing activities have wound down on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, the International 12-Metre Class Association’s 2005 World Championship will be cranking up. The event, set for 14-18 September in Newport and also serving as the class’s North American Championship, will be hosted by the New York Yacht Club at its Harbour Court clubhouse and sponsored by The Jibe wines of New Zealand.

Expected are 16 entrants divided into divisions for Grand Prix (Hissar, Kiwi, Kiwi Magic and US 61), Modern (Challenge 12, Courageous, Freedom, Intrepid, Lionheart and Valiant), Classic Traditional (American Eagle, Nefertiti, Weatherly) and Classic Vintage (Gleam, Northern Light and Onawa).

“The gathering will represent the largest collection of 12-Metres racing together since the last World Championships in 2001 at the America’s Cup Jubilee in Cowes, when 34 of the 12-Metres were on the line,” said Event Chair Paul Buttrose, who is also vice-president of the International 12-Metre Class Association. “It will also be the largest-ever collection of 12-Metres for a regatta in the US.”

Steven Wolff chairman of the New York Yacht Club’s Sailing Committee added: “The venue for the 2005 12-Metre World Championships is significant both as the current homeport of many of the remaining 12-Metres and as the stage for the America’s Cup races from 1930 to 1983, when we finally lost the Cup after 132 years. The New York Yacht Club will host these races, continuing to support actively a class that is such an important part of our heritage and traditions.”

Nine of the 12-Metres took the opportunity to practice for the Worlds in Newport at the Oxbow Regatta, organised by the Museum of Yachting in July. The Grand Prix division was won by Edgar Cato’s Hissar, with Bill Koch’s Kiwi Magic finishing second, heating up a rivalry that has become more intense since Hissar won the 2004 12-Metre North Americans and put an end to Kiwi Magic’s winning streak.

Koch explained that he has made significant changes to his boat to remain competitive and that this is the trend in the class. “When I bought KZ7 (Kiwi Magic), I was thinking it was the fastest in the world under all conditions, and I wouldn’t have to spend a fortune modifying it. Our first and second years, we won virtually all our races,” said Koch. “Now I’ve spent probably 150 per cent of the value of the boat in modifying it. But I joined this class because it’s small and friendly. It keeps me connected to the America’s Cup and keeps my foot in sailing. I also use it as a reunion for the sailors from my America3 campaign.”