- The Puig 12mR World Championship meets in the Catalan capital with sailboats from more than six countries, challengers of the America’s Cup golden age (30s-80s)
- The World Championship is part of the week of Puig Vela Clàssica Barcelona 2014
- The starting signal took place today at the Real Club Náutico from Barcelona with a round table and a show at sea of the 12 meters and the IMOCA 60 classes, connecting the sail from yesterday and today with vessels of both categories
Barcelona, 13th of July 2014. Just a day before the start of the competition, Barcelona is ready to welcome for the first time ever a world championship of the 12 meters class, the Puig 12mR World Championship. This fleet, representing the golden age of the America’s Cup – the decades between the 30s and 80s– and the arrival of boats from more than six countries, will provide a first level sports and historical performance, since boats can easily be seen from both the cost – during the competition– and from the Moll the la Fusta, when resting on the port, to the delight of tourists and residents in the Catalan capital.
International sailors that during the previous days have been paying attention on acknowledging the weather and sea conditions in the city, are looking forward to arriving on Monday 14th, att midday, to start the regattas, which will last until Saturday 19th of July.
The 12 meters World Championship regattas are assessed in real time, that is to say, the first boat to cross the finish line is the winner. However, the really fast 12 meters –built for racing “in the wind”– demand a windward-leeward model where they can take full advantage of their upwind and downwind ability. These are very technical and demanding regattas with continuous levees in the navigation at angles up to 40°, similar to those carried out by current highly professional competition sailboats and, therefore, the organization designs the regatta course equivalent to an ORC cruise race.
These boats, built for the challenges and defense of the America’s Cup and, therefore, aimed at competing in 1 to 1 regattas or match races, have a very high level of demand because they are specifically designed for this purpose and it is the most rigorous way to obtain the best results from their sharpened design. In fact, the expectations inverted in this World Championship are very high since the almost “twin” boats –the Vim (1939) and the Nyala (1938) –who shared designer (Stephens), shipyard and style –which were model for later defenders of the America’s Cup– and they crave the opportunity to measure one against the other, something that will happen these days in Barcelona.
IMOCA 60 vs. 12 Meters: two high level generations at the sea
The starting signal of the World Championship was held this morning at the Real Club Náutico from Barcelona with round table 12mR and IMOCA 60. At this event, hosted by Santiago Serrat ¬– Fundació Navegació Oceánica Barcelona (Oceanic Navigation Foundation from Barcelona) –, Luigi Lang – 12m Class–, Leonardo Garcia Vincetiis –nautical historian– and the navigator Arcadi San Martín, they have done a comparative and historical tour of both classes. They have also conducted a review on the maritime traditions and their evolution over the years, as well as the new technologies applied to the art of navigation. After the round table, there has been a symbolic departure to sea aboard a 12 meters vessel and an IMOCA 60, a unique opportunity to see two generations of nautical history sailing at the same time.
VII Puig Vela Clàssica Barcelona, the most prominent of classic sailing week in the Mediterranean
The VII edition of the regatta Puig Vela Clàssica Barcelona, which has become one of the international main events of the classic navigation, will begin on the 17th of July, a regatta that has consolidated for both for the quality of its participants and its unique atmosphere, that year after year, win loyalists among the most expert owners and enthusiasts. The competition, as well as the World Championship, will end on Saturday 19th of July.
Them all classics … but two radically different competitions
Barcelona and Puig Vela Clàssica are accustomed to a sailing competition aimed at making the most of the classic sailboats and their seaworthiness, but in this 2014, the addition of the 12m World Championship, the legendary competitors of the America’s Cup and of other international regattas from the 30s to the 80s, requires a radical change in the structure of the regatta.
On the one hand, the 12 meters World Championship regatta is assessed in real time, that is to say, the first boat to cross the finish line is the winner, whereas in classic boats regattas, there is a time compensation system between them to allow boats with very different lengths and riggings can compete on equal terms. While, in order to squeeze all their potential, the classics require a triangle or quadrilateral format course, which besides provide spectacular coastal tours, the really fast 12 meters –built for racing “in the wind”– demand a windward-leeward model where they can take full advantage of their upwind and downwind ability. These are very technical and demanding regattas with continuous levees in the navigation at angles up to 40 °, similar to those carried out by current highly professional competition sailboats and, therefore, the organization designs the regatta course equivalent to an ORC cruise race.
These boats, the 12m, built for the challenges and defense of the America’s Cup and, therefore, for 1 to 1 regattas or match races, can afford this level of demand since they are specifically designed for this purpose and is the most rigorous way to get the best results from their refined design. In fact, the expectations invested in this World Championship are very high, due to the coincidence of two almost “twin” boats –the Vim (1939) and the Nyala (1938) – who share designer (Stephens), shipyard and style – they were the model for later defenders of the America’s Cup– and because both crave the opportunity to measure one against the other, something that will happen these days in Barcelona.
Double regatta course starting on Friday
These boat conditions have lead the organization of the Real Club Nàutic from Barcelona to the design of two different regatta courses for Friday and Saturday, both competitions take place at the same time. To start with, given that wind conditions cannot be known until the very same day, and the decision cannot be made until then, the regatta course of the classics would be located closer to the mouth of the port of Barcelona, in front of the Barceloneta beaches, while the windward-leeward start line for the World Championship would be set 12 meters further to the North, approximately opposite the Fòrum.
On Thursday, if the wind allows it, the classics will start with the usual carousel that moves the regatta closer to the beaches and the coastline of the city, while on Friday and Saturday the races will take place in a triangular course.
This situation allows a double capacity of enjoyment for the fans who come to the regatta– either by boat or from the coast–, because the chances of enjoying a unique event are duplicated in a large city like Barcelona, where these races are not so common.
12 meters and America’s Cup: the technical solution that illuminated a new regattas era
The America’s Cup had its first golden era with the election of 12 Meters. At the outbreak of the Second World War, the competition was suspended until 1958, and the expensive J Class boats were substituted by the more affordable and numerous 12 Meters. To do so, the Deed of Gift had to be modified in order to reduce the waterline length, from 65 to 44 feet, and to allow the international 12 Meters Class was chosen to compete in the America’s Cup.
Besides that, the most glorious era of the America’s Cup started in the edition of 1958 and lasted until 1987, when the challenge of Michel Fay, from New Zealand, clung to the initial rules of the competition to challenge Dennis Conner with a gigantic monohull 130 feet long, who chose to defend himself.
The ten editions held between 1958 and 1987 meant the best time of the America’s Cup, as the previous wide acceptance of the 12 Meters led to a great turnout, which consequently led to the reorganization of the qualification series of the challengers, in hands of Louis Vuitton. Mythical sagas, such as the Columbia, the Weatherly, the Constellation, the Intrepid and the Courageos twice, the Australia II and the Stars&Stripes, inscribed in golden letters their names in the winners’ book.
As a technological spear tip, which has always been the America’s Cup, some teams found technology alliances with companies in the aerospace industry so powerful from those days. The emerging use of aluminum in shipbuilding and masts by then was one of the fields where there were significantly advances thanks to the 12 Meters.
But besides, these 12 M staged the first major event of the America’s Cup, when the Australia II was daring enough to win for the first time, in order to defend the U.S. , by winning the Liberty of Dennis Conner after an agonizing 4-3. A real myth of the competition that could save the honor to recover four years later in Australian waters with his Stars&Sripes, where it would end up being the last edition held by the best boat the America’s Cup has ever had.