2006-09-21 / About Town

12-meter yachts to race in bay this weekend

Narragansett Bay will see 12meter yacht racing for the first time since 1983, the last time Newport hosted the America's Cup races. The event is sponsored by the Museum of Yachting, and will be hosted at Bannister's Wharf, where the dozen 12-meters will be berthed before and after racing and may be viewed by the public.

Herb Marshall, ITMA vicepresident, Americas Fleet, and the event's presiding officer, said the 12 meters represent 30 years of America's Cup racing.

"The 12 meter era ended in 1987, after Stars & Stripes beat Kookaburra III off Freemantle, Australia, to reclaim the Cup for the U.S.," Marshall said. "Subsequently, an explosion of technology relegated many of the yachts to a life of chartering, serving as workhorses for corporate entertainment and team building. Soon, however, several owners undertook restorations that sparked a renaissance in this international racing class," he noted.

The entrants fall into four divisions - Grand Prix, Modern, Classic Traditional and Classic Vintage - which define the 12 meters not only by construction date but also by keel and rudder configuration. In addition to the North American title at stake, the Museum of Yachting's Ted Hood Perpetual Trophy will be presented to the team with the best record for the 2006 season as determined by six American qualifying regattas.

Among the yachts entered in the races are Hissar KZ5, Courageous, Weatherly, Onawa, and Kiwi Magic.

Racing takes place today through Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. each day.

For more information, contact Jan Slee at 662-9171, or SallyAnne Santos, 847-1018, or visit the event's Web site at www. museumofyachting.org.

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