12 Metre Class sailboats are so called NOT because of their overall length, but because they must conform to a formula. The formula takes into consideration various measurements of the boat and the result must not exceed 12 metres. In fact, a 12 Metre Class sailboat is approximately 70 feet long with masts 86 feet high and they weigh in at about thirty-five tons.
The 12 Metre Class formula is:
L = Length of the boat 17 centimeters above the water.
D = Difference between the skin girth and chain girth.
F = Freeboard (distance from the deck to water).
SA = sail area (main sail and fore triangle)
The 12 Metre Class was first established in 1906, and became competitive in Europe and North America.
For the 1958 America's Cup Trophy, the contestants and the America's Cup Organizing Committee agreed that it was time to move on from the pre-war era of the "J Class" boats. A lighter, more maneuverable design, it was argued, would allow for closer, more exciting racing. The very popular 12 Metre Class, possibly the most successful race boats ever designed, were adopted.
The decision ushered in a whole new era in the history of the America's Cup; and other countries, France, Sweden, Italy, Canada and notably Australia joined Britain in the quest to wrest the Cup from the New York Yacht Club - and the competition lived up to its expectations!
There are currently four races, or "challenges" run each day. Start times are 8.30am, 10.00am, 11.45am and 1.30pm.
Each 12 Metre Challenge takes approximately three hours. On some days, this is subject to wind and water conditions, but every effort is made to keep to this schedule.
Guests are requested to arrive 15 minutes before the departure time. As these boats are pure race boats, they have no toilet facilities aboard. Guests should make prior arrangements.
We recommend you wear soft-soled running shoes. T-shirts and shorts over a swimsuit is ideal. You will be exposed to our beautiful Caribbean sun, ensure you bring your sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat!
There is ample storage space below for beach bags and towels. You can bring your camera, which should remain in your bag (below decks) until after the race, when there will be time for photos on your sail back to the tender.
Each 12 Metre Class race boat takes a minimum of nine to a maximum of 18 passengers, in addition to our the 12 Metre Challenge crew of three.
Absolutely! We offer a complimentary selection of water, soda and beer.
The fleet of 12 Metre Challenge are race boats in their purest form. There are no toilets/heads on board, although there are plenty back at the 12 Metre Challenge compound.
Be sure to "go" before you leave, if you think you won't last 3 hours.
Passports are not required and there is no departure tax. The only money you will require is for souvenirs and for the optional gratuity for your 12 Metre Challenge crew.
Every effort is made to accommodate guests with special needs. However the nature of the America's Cup Challenge is very participatory, and the dynamic motion of the race boats during the race may cause problems for some.
We request that any guest with special needs be accompanied by a companion who has the capability of assisting the guest on and off the boats.
If the companion feels at the point of departure that the experience will prove to be too much for the guest, we will be happy to refund both tickets.
Our suggested minimum age is twelve years old. However, there are definitely some people under twelve that are capable and competent; typically they are members of a sailing family with considerable sailing experience and an understanding of the requirements and potential hazards of sailing. In this case, as long as the young person is accompanied by at least one parent, we will accept a minimum age of seven.
We accept US dollars Cash, Travelers Checks, Visa Card, Mastercard and American Express. Please note that we are not able to accept Novus or Discover cards.
Back at the 12 Metre base, our boutique gift shop offers you a wide variety of memorabilia to recall your spectacular adventure. Replica America's Cup crew shirts and caps; embroidered skipper's shirts; sailing hats... and much more. Of course there is also a fantastic, full color action photo of YOU racing in YOUR first America's Cup!