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12 Metre World Championship 2023: Three months to go

by Barby MacGowan 15 May 2023 12:28 PDT July 31 - August 5, 2023
US 33 Freedom (foreground) and KA-10 Challenge XII will compete in the 2023 12mR World Championship this summer © Daniel Forster

Less than three months away and on the heels of the Ocean Race stopover, the 2023 12mR World Championship will be the next world sailing competition in Newport, R.I.

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, the event is scheduled for July 30-August 5 and will see ten or more historic 12 Metres sailing on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound.

The participating teams will hail from as far away as Japan and as close as Newport, which has become a universal hub for 12 Metre sailing and home to many 12 Metres in the Americas Fleet as a result of the America's Cup contested here in 12 Metres between 1958 and 1983.

Recent developments include the announcement that Oakcliff Sailing will campaign for the Worlds aboard Courageous (US-26), recently acquired by Kimbra and Mark Walter (Chicago, Ill./Los Angeles, Calif.) and famous for being one of only two Twelves to win the America's Cup twice. The Courageous team will be comprised of young, diverse sailors selected from Oakcliff's Acorn and Sapling training programs.

"This will be a bit of a David-and-Goliath situation with our young, aspiring sailors racing 12 Metres against the best of the best from around the world," said Oakcliff Executive Director Dawn Riley, who is a member of the America's Cup Hall of Fame and will helm the boat. "Most of our sailors and some of their parents were not even alive the last time this class competed for the America's Cup."

Nevertheless, the team has a fighting chance based on the skills and teamwork sure to be derived from Oakcliff's high-performance training programs. Located on the North Shore of Long Island in Oyster Bay, the organization is devoted to raising the caliber of sailing in the U.S. and is an official training center of the US Sailing Team, 11th Hour Racing, NYYC American Magic, IYRS, and the World Match Racing Tour.

Like many of the 12 Metres coming to Newport for the Worlds, Courageous will compete in two class-sanctioned regattas: the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, June 9-11 and the Sail Newport Regatta, July 8-9 (serving as the 12 Metre Pre-Worlds).

Practicing this week on Narragansett Bay was Japan's Takashi Okura and his highly competitive international team aboard US-30 Freedom. They will be up against packed talent in the Modern Division aboard the aforementioned US-26 Courageous; US-33 Defender, skippered by veteran 12 Metre sailor Andy Rose (Newport Beach, Calif.); US-27 Enterprise, skippered by renowned racer Peter Askew (Key Largo, Fla.); and KA-10 Challenge XII, skippered by 2019 12 Metre World Champion Jack LeFort (Winter Park, Fla./Jamestown, R.I.) with local sailing celebrity/champion Ken Read aboard.

Other teams competing in the Worlds are returning 2019 World Champion US-16 Columbia, US-21 American Eagle, US-19 Nefertiti, US-17 Weatherly, and US-6, Onawa.

The 12 Metre Worlds will be headquartered at the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) where the 12 Metres will be berthed throughout the event. The public can see the boats at IYRS from the water and will be able to view the 12 Metres during the Parade of Sail through Newport Harbor, which will take place Saturday, August 5 at 10:00 AM.

The 12 Metre Yacht Club will further involve the community through its partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rhode Island (BGCRI). Kids from BCGRI and local students involved in the Sail Newport educational program will ride aboard the Twelves in the Parade.

Closer on the horizon is a special "Golden Age of 12 Metres in the America's Cup" program, scheduled for June 8 and hosted by the America's Cup Hall of Fame at The Sailing Museum in downtown Newport. This ticketed event will relive the excitement and glamour of one of the most exhilarating periods in America's Cup history.

With many 12 Metre luminaries expected to attend, it will be emceed by Hall of Famer Gary Jobson, a renowned commentator who won the America's Cup in 1974 as crew aboard Courageous (with Ted Hood skippering) and again in 1977 as tactician (with Ted Turner skippering).

The celebration of 12 Metres will continue at a 12 Metre Legends party on July 30 at the Clarke Cooke House. Hosted by the 12 Metre Yacht Club and the America's Cup Hall of Fame/Herreshoff Museum, this event officially kicks off the Worlds.

Making the 12 Metre Worlds possible are sponsors Audrain Hospitality; Edge Realty; Flux Marine; Gill Marine; Grand Banks Marine Group; Hammetts Hotel; Lemon & Line; North Sails; Pallas Capital Advisors; PKF O'Connor Davies; Seabags; and Starkweather & Shepley Insurance.

Spectator and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, contact Peggy Hersam, 12 Metre Yacht Club Executive Director, , +1 (203) 807-1066.

Notice of Race and other race information available at www.12mrworlds.com

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