Nostalgie in Newport

NEWPORT, R.I. (September 14, 2005) -- A wave of nostalgia is set to wash over Newport this week with the arrival of more than a dozen 12-Metres for the International 12-Metre Association's 2005 World Championships sponsored by The Jibe. This homecoming is a welcome return to the waterfront that these classic boats glamorized during the hey-day of the America's Cup, with which the class was synonymous for 30 years.

The last time the 12-Metres raced for the Cup in Newport was during the headline-making races of 1983 when Australia ended the longest (132 years) winning streak in modern sport history. In 1987, when Stars & Stripes beat Kookaburra III in Australia, to reclaim the Cup for the U.S.A., the era of the 12-Metres ended with the explosion of technology that sent many of the boats into the charter business where they became workhorses for corporate entertainment and team building. Fast forward nearly 20 years to the renaissance that began after several owners undertook restorations that sparked renewed interest in this international racing class. In a number of cases the effort of preserving these classic boats, some now 35-40 years old, has put them back in competitive condition, and several are even more high-performance now than during their pre-adolescent years on the race circuit.

The International 12-Metre Association's 2005 World Championships, which also will serve as the class's North American Championships, will be held September 14-18, and hosted by New York Yacht Club. On Wednesday, September 14, the skippers' meeting at 1800 will be followed by a reception at Harbour Court, with racing, Thursday through Sunday, September 15-18, starting daily at 1100. At the conclusion of racing on Sunday, September 18, the boat with the best overall performance will be presented with a Rolex timepiece during the awards ceremonies, also at Harbour Court. Interested spectators may tune to VHF channel 79 at 0900 each racing day for the announcement of the course location, or they may call 401-845-9633 for that information. Results will be posted online at as they become available.

For the duration of the event, a majority of the 12-Metres will be docked at the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) where competitors will enjoy wines courtesy of event sponsor The Jibe of New Zealand at the conclusion of racing each day. The public is welcome to visit IYRS to view this classic assemblage of 12-Metres between 1600 and 1900.

The event has brought together the largest collection of 12-Metres racing together since the last World Championships (held in 2001 during the America's Cup Jubilee in Cowes, England) along with many veteran America's Cup sailors. Entries to date, grouped by racing division, are: Grand Prix (Hissar, Kiwi, Kiwi Magic and US 61); Modern (Challenge 12, Columbia, Courageous, Freedom, Intrepid, Lionheart and Valiant); Classic Traditional (American Eagle, Nefertiti, Weatherly); and Classic Vintage (Gleam, Northern Light and Onawa -- pictured above). Columbia, Courageous, Freedom, Intrepid and Weatherly have all won various America's Cups -- indeed Courageous and Intrepid have each won the America's Cup twice.

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