The almost forgotten class of 12mR racing yachts

Dhe twelve is the top dog of the regatta courses. A handsome and challenging racing yacht. Since the sailing battles of the America’s Cup off Newport and Fremantle were fought on these planks, a yacht with a special aura. Ravishingly elegant, endlessly to lay on the side, animally good in the wind. The ultimate man’s toy for a dozen buddies who use a sense of proportion, biceps, brains and breath to shoo almost 30 tons of vintage specimens from the 1930s around the buoys. The weekend on the water can hardly be spent more worth seeing, more work-sharing, more intensive than on a twelve-wheeler.

After decades of agony, in which there were few sailable specimens in this country, the Baltic Sea fleet has been growing impressively for a while. Josef Martin got “Anitra” from the States and revamped it in Radolfzell. After the “Sphinx” was put back into operation, the Flensburg silverware manufacturer Oliver Berking founded a shipyard, in which two new buildings, “Nini Anker” and “Jenetta”, were built based on old models.

German and Danish protagonists such as Wilfried Beeck or Patrick Howaldt push the retro sailing festival with classics from the 1930s. Compared to “Anita”, “Anitra”, “Evaine”, “Jenetta”, “Flica II”, “Nini Anker”, “Nyala”, “Trivia”, “Vanity V” or “Vim” other regatta yachts are quickly forgotten instantaneous water heaters .

Bubble formation: When there is little wind, every additional square meter of canvas helps.

Bild: Erik Lähteenmäki/

The effort with which the ships are preserved, restored or rebuilt according to old plans is great. So does the ego of the owners who treat themselves year after year. The annual operating costs for ambitious owners are the new price of a BMW 5 or 8 series. So it came about that some specialists were quietly working on the twelve. This article shows how this can be done, although it is not actually possible.

The two essential aspects of a yacht

The Twelve is the result of a formula first agreed in 1908 for international regatta sailing and last revised in 1933 as the “Third Rule”, which every example of this class has to comply with. The twelve stands for the so-called racing value. It may be less than or equal to twelve, no more.

In addition to other values, the formula calculates the two essential aspects of a yacht: the drive in the form of the sail area and its speed potential based on the length. The length of the twelve is taken 18 centimeters above the waterline. During the survey, a distinction is even made between salt and fresh water, because the ship is correspondingly lower or higher in the water. It’s about every centimeter of length and depending on that, every square meter of cloth. That always made the 12-year-old interesting in advance, back then on the drawing board, now on the computer. You have a rather short, light-wind ship with larger sails, or a longer one, which sails correspondingly smaller and is then faster in stronger winds.

Team spirit is everything: good cooperation is important on a sailing boat.

Team spirit is everything: good cooperation is important on a sailing boat.

Bild: Erik Lähteenmäki/

Now it is in the nature of things that the wooden planks absorb water and an old ship used for touring sailing has become heavier over the decades due to conversions and installations. The deeper floating position due to the weight and thus the greater length would require smaller sails, as shown. To avoid this, the class agreed on a clever, true-to-life exception on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the America’s Cup in 2001 in the sailing mecca of Cowes.


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