One wonders if there will ever be a classic AC72 regatta. It’s hard to imagine such boats lasting 20 or 30 years, let alone being able to be sailed by the original skippers.
Media mogul Ted Turner returned to the sport he mastered many decades ago when he helmed the iconic American Eagle – the 12 Metre he once owned and raced around the world – in the 2011 12 Metre North American Championships held in Newport, R.I. Turner’s well-honed skills earned him first place in the Traditional division as well as the Pine Brothers Sponsor Trophy for Best Overall Performance.
Gary Jobson, Turner’s tactician said:
“It’s great to see that Ted, at age 72, still has the touch and the love of the sport.
The regatta included nine 12 Metres (Victory 83, Courageous, USA , Intrepid, American Eagle, Weatherly, Columbia, Northern Light and Onawa) racing in three divisions (Grand Prix/Modern, Traditional, Classic) and drew several other celebrity yachtsmen as well, including America’s Cup veterans Dave Pedrick, Richie Boyd, Scott Perry, Andy MacGowan, Jim Gretzky, Reggie Pierce, Tom O’Brien, Richie Sayer, and Stu Argo and other notable sailors such as Jeff Johnstone, Michael Keyworth, Brad Read and Jud Smith.
Event Chair Cindy Delotto said:
“Each of the beloved historic 12 Metres were packed with the best-of-the-best on board for competitive racing, in the spirit they were designed for.”
In the Grand Prix/Modern division only one point separated first place Victory ’83 from second place Courageous. American Eagle took top honors in the Traditional division over Weatherly, while in the Classic division Northern Light bested Onawa.
This year’s event inaugurated the Ted Turner Trophy, awarded for an individual’s contribution to the 12 Metre Class on and off the water. To a standing ovation and thunderous enthusiasm from the entire fleet, Turner himself presented the magnificent trophy – designed by Dan MacDonald of Three Golden Apples in Newport – to Guy Heckman, who campaigns USA.