Skip to main content

Meter maids Page 2

Most sailors know that 12-Meter yachts were sailed in America’s Cup competitions between 1958 and 1987. Less well known is the fact that the Meter rule also applies to a range of yachts of different sizes, all built to what is formally known as the International Rule. First established in 1906, the rule has survived more or less intact for over a century. Last July a
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A total of twenty-three 8-Meters had just completed their World Championship in Germany before the Cowes event, but unfortunately only three of them made it over to Cowes. All were remarkable. Two were drawn by the legendary Swedish designer Tore Holm; the third was by William Fife. Built in 1914, the Fife–designed Ierne has been painstakingly restored by her owner, Huw Morris Jones. While a yacht built in that period might be expected to have a gaff-rigged mainsail, Ierne has always sailed with the Fife–created Bermuda rig.

The two 12-Meters racing at Cowes both have a long history. Wings was designed by Charles Nicholson in 1937 for a Belgian industrialist. Sceptre was the Royal Yacht Club’s challenger in the first postwar Cup challenge in 1958. Even though Sceptre has been slightly modified and now has a doghouse and lifelines, she was competitive in the windy conditions that greeted her off Cowes.

Three Fife designs, the 15-Meter yachts The Lady Anne and Tuiga and the beautifully restored 19-Meter yacht Mariquita, produced what was arguably the most exciting competition. The gaff rigs, block-and-tackles, and scarcity of winches or lifelines makes one appreciate why these yachts always sailed with very large racing crews. When they reached the windward mark and set their topsails, staysails, and spinnakers to power down to the finish line directly in front of the venerable Royal Yacht Squadron’s clubhouse at the entrance to Cowes harbor, they were a magnificent sight. The long overhangs, polished teak decks, and glistening varnish were unforgettable. And their appearance in this historic event reminds us how much we owe to the designers and the sailors who have passed along to us the systems and traditions of the sport we enjoy today.

Craig Davis is a long-time sailor, photographer, and writer who travels the world to capture the joys and excitement of yachts and yachting.

Related

Rescue

Cruising: Safety Lessons Learned

It’s not often that sailors get a chance to put their rescue and MOB training to the test, rarer still that they do as quickly as newbie California sailor Khosrow “Koz” Khosravani did recently. If and when an emergency situation ever arises, though, it pays to be prepared. This ...read more

01-LEAD-'22.01.10_FALKEN-Maiden_Emma-Bow

At the Helm: Sailplans

The first thing you notice when you look at the sailplan for the Farr 65, Falken, which Mia and I recently added to the fleet here at 59-North, is the sheer number of headsails. Falken was built in 1999 as a racing boat to go around the world, and the crew would have carried the ...read more

01-PR-2-Throwing-it-Back-_©LaurensMorel

Racing Class Reunion

Where does an old VO70 go to retire? Right back to the racing circuit, apparently. This spring saw a remarkable contingent of Volvo Ocean Race one designs back on the water and duking it out on the Caribbean circuit. While it’s no surprise that some of the VO65 teams intending ...read more

05-Sailboats-moored-in-sheltered-waters-off-of-Kärrsön

Charter: Sweden

With 2,000 miles of coastline, 270,000 islands and seemingly countless bays and inlets, Sweden is truly a sailor’s paradise. One of the top sailing destinations here is the archipelago just outside the country’s second largest city Gothenburg (locally known as Göteborg), on the ...read more

fa70b13c-8eec-4c35-b30f-f89e497b469a

Crowdsourcing Age-of-Sail Weather Data

Although big, multi-million-dollar projects like the Large Hadron Collider and the human genome project with their legions of PHD’s tend to grab headlines, there’s still a part of play for the “citizen scientists” of the world. Amateur birders have long contributed to an ...read more

01-LEAD-Ultime-race-Yvan-Zedda,-OC-Sport-Pen-Duick

Ultims to Race Solo Around the World

For years now, maxi-trimarans, both solo-sailed and fully crewed, have been racing the clock on their own around the world in an effort to set ever faster records for the world’s fastest circumnavigation under sail. Back in 2000-01 there was also a no-holds-barred ...read more

P1-01-LEAD-018_CARYNBDAVIS_AMISTAD

Juneteenth on the Water

Discovering Amistad and Mystic Seaport Museum have partnered to organize their third annual Juneteenth festival, featuring concerts, speakers and a reflection on the lasting legacy of racial injustice in America. Declared a National Holiday in 2021, Juneteenth celebrates the end ...read more

Lead-2021-01-17-vue-03-34-av-tb-01

New Multihulls for 2022

Lagoon 51 In keeping with many of the more recently launched models created by French multihull builder Lagoon, the Lagoon 51 is all about comfort, “en plein air,” in particular, as the French might say. Topside, a whopping 80 percent of the boat’s flybridge is given over to ...read more