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The 12m class in the 21st century

Twelve Metre yachts are quite possibly the most fascinating racing sailboats ever built. They have a beauty and size that, along with their America’s Cup history, has attracted and intrigued yachtsmen since their debut.There are three reasons for the fascination for a 12 Meter: a historical one, an aesthetic one and, most importantly, the sailing one.They are elegant, slender, and about 20 meters long. With their 30 tons of combat weight, they are true regatta warhorses. One should have sailing skills in order to compete with these bolides in fresh winds on the regatta course.

History of 12 meters

1907

The class is born

1958

First America's Cup

1967

Intrepid

1983

Australia II

1987

Last America's Cup

In the 21st century, 12-meter yacht racing continues to offer a unique spectacle, showcasing not only the skill of some of the world's best sailors but also the synergy between tradition and innovation.Despite technological advancements, the 12-meter class yachts, known for their grace and classic design, continue to attract a large following. Their iconic silhouettes transport back to an era when these vessels epitomized the pinnacle of yacht racing.As the years passed, the reverence for these yachts persisted, drawing admirers who valued the fusion of history and sport. The restoration efforts dedicated to maintaining these vessels, often with meticulous attention to original specifications, upheld the authenticity of 12-meter yacht racing.

More than 100 of the 170 twelve meters ever built still exist, half of which regularly race.They are divided in three fleets worldwide.

Although centered in Newport, RI, the Americas fleet extends over two continents with yachts located in other US states and the Caribbean.

Most active in the Baltic Sea, the Northern Europe fleet includes Great Britain, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

Sailing primarily in the Mediterranean Sea, the Southern Europe fleet includes yachts in France, Italy, Turkey and Portugal and also includes Oceania.

List of active 12 meters in 2023

CLASSIC

1907 - 1967Skeg mounted rudder design

MODERN

1967 - 1983Rudder separated from the keel

GRAND PRIX

After 1983Winged keel

Major 12 meter events of the last 20 years

55th Coupe de France

500 sailors aboard the largest 12 metre fleet since the 2001 Jubilee will race for 40 days in southern Europe.

Waypoints 2017-2019

41 twelve metres took part in a 3-year International competition (2017-2019) culminating with the 2019 12mR worlds at Newport.

Newport 2023

Challenge XII and Columbia have emerged victorious in their respective categories at the 2023 worlds, confirming their status as the finest 12 metres in the North American fleet.

Cowes 2001

Celebrating the America's Cup Jubilee, 36 twelve metres gathered on the isle of White, where it all started back in 1851.

2023-2024

The activity of the 12 metre class continues at full regime. The Yacht Club de France (YCF) has announced a series of races throughout the 2023-24 sailing seasons; the winner will be awarded one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious yachting trophies: the spectacular Coupe de France.Yachts from all three fleets will gather in the Riviera– including Cannes, Porquerolles, Saint Tropez, Touloun, Hyères and Barcelona– racing with a schedule of events featuring 40 days of racing, social events and festive celebrations for the 500+ crew members expected to compete.

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Intrepid was a breakthrough design in the history of yachting and the 12 Metre Class. A truly revolutionary design by Olin Stephens, the rudder was separated from the keel and a trim tab was added. She is considered to be the first "modern" 12 meter, and this underbody type was used on every cup boat until Australia II's winged keel of 1983.She was the first 12 meter to defend the America's Cup twice.

CHALLENGE 12 [KA-10, 1982]COURAGEOUS [US-26, 1974]DEFENDER [US-33, 1982]ENTERPRISE [US-27, 1977]FREEDOM [US-30, 1979]INTREPID [US-22, 1967]LIONHEART [K-18, 1978]USA [US-61, 1986]VALIANT [US-24, 1970]VICTORY ‘83 [K-22, 1983]

Modern 1967 - 1983

The 1983 edition of the America's Cup will remain within the annals of history as one of the most exciting ever. 7 challangers arrived in Newport from 3 continents, including the first time for an Italian team with Azzurra. On 26 September 1983 Australia II and her now famous winged keel defeated Liberty, becoming the first non-American yacht to win the Cup in 132 years.

The 12 meter class has been the protagonist of the America's Cup from 1958 to 1987: a perfect training for the most renowned designers of the period and for the test of some of the most advanced and innovative materials and technical solutions.America’s Cup twelves didn’t have room for an engine, anything below decks, or even a toilet when they were campaigning. The deck layouts of America’s Cup twelves are set up for optimal sail performance as well as for speed. When racing, the sails are the engine of the boat, so trimming them correctly and quickly was crucial to winning.

  • Heritage [US-23]
  • Interpid [US-22]
  • Legacy [KZ-5]
  • Lionheart [K-18]
  • Nefertiti [US-19]
  • New Zealand [KZ-3]
  • Onawa [US-6]
  • USA [US-61]
  • Valiant [US-24]
  • Victory '83 [K-22]
  • Weatherly [US-17]
  • America II [US-42]
  • America II [US-46]
  • American Eagle [US-46]
  • Challenge XII [KA-10]
  • Columbia [US-16]
  • Coureageous [US-26]
  • Defender [US-33]
  • Easterner [US-18]
  • Enterprise [US-27]
  • Freedom [US-30]
  • Gleam [US-11]
American fleet

The International Twelve Metre Association organises all major 12 metre events around the world, including the 12mR worlds. They have been releasing exciting content throughout their activities and attracting press from all major outlets.

Drone footage from Newport 2017

Presentation for the 2024 Porquerolles Classic 12mR Worlds. An important participation is expected, it is probably the highlight in a summer dense of twelve meter regattas.

Classic 1907 - 1967

AMERICAN EAGLE [US-21, 1964]ANITA [G-2, 1938]ANITRA [US-5, 1928]BLUE MARLIN [ FIN-1, 1937]COLUMBIA [US-16, 1958]EASTERNER [US-18, 1958]EILEEN [E-21, 1938]EMILIA [I-2, 1930]ERNE SIGNE [E-8, 1911]EVAINE [K-2, 1936]FLICA II [K-14, 1939]FRANCE I [F-1, 1970]GLEAM [US-11, 1937]HETI [E-3, 1912]IKRA [K-3, 1964]JENETTA [K-1, 1939]LA SPINA [I-1, 1929]

MAGDA VIII [E-4, 1912]NEFERTITI [US-19, 1962]NINI ANKER [N-15, 2013]NORTHERN LIGHT [US-10, 1938] NYALA [US-12, 1939]ONAWA [US-6, 1928]SEVEN SEAS OF PORTO [US-9, 1935]SOVEREIGN [K-12, 1963] SPHINX [G-4, 1939]THEA [D-1, 1918]TRIVIA [K-10, 1937] VANITY V [K-5, 1936]VEMA III [ N-11, 1933]VIM [US-15, 1939]WEATHERLY [US-17, 1958]WINGS OF COWES [K-15, 1937]

Grand Prix (after 1983)

FRENCH KISS [F-7, 1985]KIWI MAGIC [KZ-7, 1986]KOOKABURRA II [KA-12, 1985]KOOKABURRA III [KA-15, 1986]LEGACY / LAURA [KZ-5, 1985]NEW ZEALAND [KZ-3, 1985]SOUTH AUSTRALIA [KA-8, 1985]

THE CLASS IS BORNIn 1906 William Froude and the Royal Yachting Association in England helped develop the International Rules for metre class boats.Competitiveness between boats in the class is maintained by requiring the boats to be in compliance with the 12 Metre formula.The class played a significant role in the development of yachting in the 20th century and was used in the Olympic Games of 1908, 1912 and 1920.

When the New York Yacht Club lost the America’s Cup in 1983, the races moved to Australia and many more nations got involved. This made the 1987 America’s Cup races the greatest show ever. Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes was the best of the 13 syndicates, and earned the right to sail for the America’s Cup. She defeated Australia in 4 races and the America’s Cup returned to the United States.In 1987, use of the 12 Metre class was ended, switching to IACC boats for the 1992 competition.

BBC show filmed in Cowes during the America's Cup 2001 Jubilee.

  • Anita (G-2)
  • Anitra (US-5)
  • Blue Marlin (FIN-1)
  • Flica II (K-14)
  • Heti (E-3)
  • Jenetta (K-1)
  • Kiwi Magic (KZ-7)
  • Nini Anker (N-15)
  • Northern Light (US-14)
  • Sphinx (G-4)
  • Thea (D-1)
  • Trivia (K-10)
  • Vanity V (K-5)
  • Vema III (N-11)
  • Vim (US-15)
  • Wings of Coves (K-15)
North European Fleet
  • Heritage [US-23]
  • Interpid [US-22]
  • Legacy [KZ-5]
  • Lionheart [K-18]
  • Nefertiti [US-19]
  • New Zealand [KZ-3]
  • Onawa [US-6]
  • USA [US-61]
  • Valiant [US-24]
  • Victory '83 [K-22]
  • Weatherly [US-17]
  • America II [US-42]
  • America II [US-46]
  • American Eagle [US-46]
  • Challenge XII [KA-10]
  • Columbia [US-16]
  • Coureageous [US-26]
  • Defender [US-33]
  • Easterner [US-18]
  • Enterprise [US-27]
  • Freedom [US-30]
  • Gleam [US-11]
American Fleet
  • Anita (G-2)
  • Anitra (US-5)
  • Blue Marlin (FIN-1)
  • Flica II (K-14)
  • Heti (E-3)
  • Jenetta (K-1)
  • Kiwi Magic (KZ-7)
  • Nini Anker (N-15)
  • Northern Light (US-14)
  • Sphinx (G-4)
  • Thea (D-1)
  • Trivia (K-10)
  • Vanity V (K-5)
  • Vema III (N-11)
  • Vim (US-15)
  • Wings of Coves (K-15)
Northern European fleet
  • Emilia [I-2]
  • France [F-1]
  • French Kiss [F-7]
  • Ikra [K-3]
  • Kookaburra II [KA-12]
  • Kookaburra III [KA-15]
  • La Spina [I-1]
  • Nyala [US-12]
  • Seven Seas [US-9]
  • South Australia [KA-8]
  • Sovereign [K-12]
Southern European fleet