12-Metre Crusader has major refit at Fox’s ahead of World Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, USA
Between 1956 and 1977, 12-Metre class yachts were used for the America’s Cup and four of these yachts are now based here at Fox’s Marina & Boatyard. Crusader was built for the 1987 Cup in Fremantle, Australia but beaten in the Louis Vuitton Challenger series by the American Stars & Stripes skippered by Dennis Connor, who went on to win the America’s Cup back from the Australians.
Richard Matthews acquired Crusader in 1990 and converted her for offshore racing, taking part in four Fastnet Races, and winning a number of races including the RORC Cowes Dinard St Malo Race and the famous Britannia Cup at Cowes Week. Crusader was converted back into 12-Metre configuration for the America’s Cup 150th Anniversary Regatta and World Championship, hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes in 2001, in which she was a prize winner.
There are now plans to ship Crusader to the USA to participate in the New York Yacht Club’s 175th Anniversary celebration regatta in 2019, preceded by a series of 12-Metre events, including a World Championship, all off Newport, Rhode Island.
In preparation, Fox’s has installed an engine in Crusader which, under the 12-Metre rule, will allow some additional sail area. Crusader will be afloat during September for sea trials and will then return to Fox’s for a complete refit in October/November to make sure she is looking her very best before joining her American cousins on the other side of the ‘pond’.
Fox’s is quickly becoming the recognised service base for these classic 12-Metre yachts. We were recently delighted to welcome Italia who joins South Australia and Victory, both ashore at Fox’s and awaiting refit work. Italia also competed at the 1987 America’s Cup and 2001 Jubilee Regatta. South Australia was built for Australia’s defence of the America’s Cup in 1987 and also took part in the 2001 Jubilee Regatta in Cowes. Victory is the oldest of the four yachts having been launched in 1982 for Peter de Savary’s 1983 America’s Cup campaign.
The 12-Metre Class
Designed to the International Rule, the first 12 Metres were built in 1907 and selected for Olympic competition in 1908, 1912 and 1920. Prior to World War II, the Twelves were highly sought-after racer cruisers, both in Europe and America. Chosen to replace the massive J-Class yachts for the post-war revival of America’s Cup competition in 1958, the Twelves then became synonymous with the Cup and the New York Yacht Club until 1983 when Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Australia II bested New York Yacht Club’s Liberty to end the 132-year winning streak that is the longest in sporting history. The Twelves competed for the coveted Auld Mug for the last time in 1987, on the waters off Perth, Australia.
The New York Yacht Club’s 175th Anniversary Regatta
Scheduled for 15-20 July 2019, to coincide with celebrations marking the 175th anniversary of the New York Yacht Club, the 2019 12-Metre World Championship is expected to attract more than 30 historic 12-Metres. Participating Twelves will come from the America’s Fleet, which includes a number of Newport-based vintage, traditional, modern and grand prix 12 Metres as well as other America’s Cup-era Twelves from around the world. The event promises to revisit those halcyon days of the America’s Cup when glamorous social events, the traditions of sailing, and the visions of Twelves cutting a swath on Narragansett Bay earned the class an unrivalled place in both the history of the City by the Sea and the America’s Cup, still the sport’s most illustrious event.