AP over Newport

No racing at the 12 Metre World Championship as Cup skippers speak out

Friday September 25th 2009, Author: Jan Harley, Location: United Kingdom
There could hardly have been a more perfect fall day in the City By The Sea - unless you were racing in the 2009 12 Metre World Championship in which case you would have appreciated less wind than that which accompanied a cold front that swept through the area overnight. The brisk northerly whipping the flags into a frenzy on Bannister’s and Bowen’s Wharves also kept the AP flag flying prominently as the Race Committee headed out of the harbor to take wind readings north of the Newport Bridge. With gusts over 25 knots giving credence to the marine forecast for “a period of northeasterly winds gusting to near gale force” the decision was made to cancel all racing for the day. The bonus for competitors was the opportunity to enjoy more of the class reunion that has been the back story of the event, as well as take in one of the many tourist attractions in Newport.

Four races have been completed thus far by all four divisions - Grand Prix, Modern, Traditional and Vintage - which constitutes a series. However, the Race Committee has moved the first warning signal from 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for the final day of racing, Saturday, September 26, in hopes of getting in two races, plus a second attempt at the Candy Store Cup which was abandoned yesterday when the Twelves did not make the time limit for the race.

Last night the second of the Legends Forums brought together notables from the 12 Metre era of America’s Cup competition, including NYYC Commodore Dyer Jones, designer Bruce Kirby, journalist Tony Chamberlain, Halsey Herreshoff, Dawn Riley, and photographer Dan Nerney. Almost 200 people listened as Gary Jobson briefed the audience on the background and relevance of each Legend and prompted questions that referenced, among other things, 1983 (when the Cup competition was last held in Newport) and the future of the Cup that’s gone “a courting.” The audience perked up when Jones, who was Regatta Director for the 32nd America’s Cup, gave his view of the current state of affairs for the proposed 33rd contest between Oracle and Alinghi. Riley added her own two cents’ worth: “Hopefully Oracle will win, and - as Larry Ellison has promised – put some rules into play that won’t allow someone to hijack the America’s Cup like Ernesto (Berterelli) has.”

The audience agreed with Jobson that the Cup needs to return to an “even keel” and be sailed in monohulls rather than multihulls, and with that, a contest began to determine the most efficient grinder at the grinding pedestal brought in to add some laughs to the tent party. Tonight the teams and their families will participate in a giant “wharf party” with music by the popular local band The Ravers.

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