Spectacular racing at 12-Metre North Americans off Newport Rhode Island 26/9/06
A total of 12, 12-Metres competed off Newport, Rhode Island in the International 12-Metre Association’s (ITMA) 2006 North American Championships from 21-24 September.
The event’s organising authority was Newport’s Museum of Yachting while its host was Bannister’s Wharf, where the 12-Metres were docked in a scene reminiscent of America’s Cups past. (The last time the 12-Metres raced for the America’s Cup in Newport was in 1983 when Australia II narrowly beat Liberty, ending the longest winning streak – 132 years – in modern sports history).
In two days of moderate to brisk breezes, six races were held. Racing on the third day was cancelled due to 30 knots. A final stormy day mellowed enough for completion of another three races, which determined North American champions in four classes: Grand Prix, Modern, Classic Traditional and Classic Vintage.
Newport’s Clay Deutsch, the defending North American champion in Classic Traditional class sailing Weatherly US 17, said he could not have prevailed over American Eagle US 21, steered by Tony Chiurco if only two races had been held on the final day. “They would have beat us on a tie breaker, if that had been the case,” said Deutsch. “In the third race we were basically match racing. We were nose to nose at the start and we poked out on them a little, then we squatted on them the rest of the race. They were very even with us in speed during the entire regatta, so we knew that the last race would be a true America’s Cup experience for us either way: we would go home the champs or the chumps.” As it was, Weatherly edged out American Eagle by only a single point.
In the Modern division, 2005 North American champion Courageous US 26, owned by Craig Millard of Newport successfully defended its title with Newporter Jamie Hilton steering. Courageous is noteworthy not only as the first 12-Metre to be built of aluminum but also as having raced in more America’s Cup campaigns (five) than any other. Though the boat posted victories in all but one race, the competition was still close with the three other 12-Metres in its class. “The way these 12s are,” said Courageous crew and syndicate member Jimmy Gubelmann, “certain ones thrive in different conditions. For this regatta, we actually thrived in heavy air, a little bit of light air and everything in between.”
The 12-Metre class’s 2005 World Champion (and North American Champion in Grand Prix class) Edgar Cato won Grand Prix division aboard Hissar KZ 5, with Newporter Brad Read at the helm. The team won six of its nine races.
A host of America’s Cup veterans competed, including Bill Koch who drove Kiwi Magic KZ 7 to third in Grand Prix division behind Roger Wright’s Brazilian entry Wright on White KZ 3, steered by Lars Grael of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In addition to the North American titles at stake, The Museum of Yachting’s Ted Hood Perpetual Trophy was presented to the yachts with the best records for the 2006 season as determined by six American qualifying regattas. The winners were Onawa US 6, owned by Earl McMillen and Chuck Parrish in Classic Vintage class; American Eagle in Classic Traditional; Freedom US 30, owned by Ernest Jacquet in Modern; and USA US 61, owned by Ralph Isham in Grand Prix.
1. Hissar KZ-5, 1-1-1-3-1-1-1-(4)-3; 12
Owner/skipper: Edgar Cato, Charlotte, N.C.
Driver: Brad Read, Newport, RI
2. Wright on White KZ 3, 2-3-2-1-(DSQ/5)-2-2-1-1; 14
Owner/skipper: Roger Wright, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Driver: Lars Grael, Sao Paulo, Brazil
3. Kiwi Magic KZ 7, 3-(4)-3-2-2-3-3-3-2; 21
Owner/driver: Bill Koch, Osterville, Mass./Palm Beach, Fla.
4. USA US 61, 4-2-4-4-3-4-4-2-(5); 27
Owner/skipper: Ralph Isham, New York, N.Y.
Driver: Andrew MacGowan, Middletown, R.I.
1. Courageous US 26, 1-1-(2)-1-1-1-1-1-1; 8
Owner/skipper: Craig Millard, Newport, R.I./Palm Beach, Fla.
Driver: Jamie Hilton, Newport, R.I.
2. Freedom US 30, (3)-2-3-3-2-2-2-2-2; 18
Owner/driver: Ernest Jacquet, Boston, Mass.
3. Intrepid US 22, 2-3-1-2-3-(4)-3-3-3; 20
Owner/driver: Jack Curtin, New York, N.Y./Toronto, Canada
4.Lionheart K 18, 4-4-4-4-4-4-4-(5)-5; 33
Owner/driver: Harry Graves, Cincinnati, Ohio
1. Weatherly US 17, 1-1-(2)-2-1-1-2-2-1; 11
Owner: George Hill, Newport, R.I.
Charterer/driver: Clay Deutsch, Newport, R.I.
2. American Eagle US 21, (2)-2-1-1-2-2-1-1-2; 12
Owner/skipper: Herb Marshall, Barnstable, Mass.
Charterer/driver: Tony Chiurco, Princeton, N.J.
3. Columbia US 16, (3)-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3; 24
Owner/driver: Alain Hanover & Daniel Hanover, Weston, Mass.
1. Onawa US 6, 1-1-1-1-1-1-(DNC/2)-DNC/2-DNC/2; 10
Owner/driver: Earl McMillen, Beaufort, S.C. and Chuck Parrish, Vineyard Haven, Mass.