Everyone wants to race on the legendary 12 meters (and what a “hit” Bertelli!).


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The 12 m S.I. Nyala

On the one hand, there is the America’s Cup of flying bolides that no longer even touch water. One defender (team New Zealand), 4 challengers (Luna Rossa, Ineos, American Magic, Stars&Stripes) scheduled for 2021 (first leg in Cagliari, April 23-26, 2020) with Olympic sailing bigwigs on board (two names above all: legend Ben Ainslie and Peter Burling) . On the other are 21 boats, built from 1928 to 1987, with timeless appeal, with America’s Cup veterans aboard. As many as seven of these hulls participated in legendary editions to conquer the “Old Pitcher.” We are talking about the S.I. 12-Meter World Championship that concluded in Newport, Rhode Island Sound, the site of nine America’s Cup races from 1958 to 1983.

The good old metric classes never die and have many aficionados around the world. Even in Italy we have one, Patrizio Bertelli. The Tuscan entrepreneur alternates between being a challenger in the Foil Boat Cup and being a “collector” of boats that have made sailing history.

In Newport Bertelli showed up with two of his jewels. With the Nyala (photo at the top of the article)helmed by his friend Mauro Pelaschier, went very well for him: in the 12 m “Vintage” category, the 1938 Olin Stephens-designed sloop in American cedar planking on white oak framework dominated with eight first places out of nine trials, ahead of the Americans of Onawa and the Finns of Blue Marlin. Nyala is a very fast boat: she was hare boat for America’s Cup defender in 1958, 1962 and 1964. It had a troubled history: it was hit by storms, went to rocks and even escaped a fire. Bertelli purchased it in 1995, subjecting it to painstaking philological restoration at the Cantiere Navale dell’Argentario in Porto Santo Stefano, Tuscany.

With Kookaburra II (the Australian boat that took part in the selections for the defender hull in the 1987 America’s Cup), however, he had to settle for third place in the “Grand Prix” class: this time ace Torben Grael failed to pull off the miracle. Victory in the category went to Legacy by Dane Thomas Andersen.
In the “Modern” classification, victory went to Jack Lefort’s Challenge XII (USA), followed by two legendary boats, Enterprise and one of the Cup’s most famous boats, Courageous (winner in 1974 and ’77).

Kevin Hegarty’s Columbia triumphed among the “Traditional” while Michael Fortenbaugh’s America II won in the “Spirit” class.




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