H2O Riders, a Newport, Rhode Island, based company that specializes in creating unique investment opportunities in the marine industry for private and corporate clients, has announced a new educational program, “Newport Performance Twelves.”
Newport Performance Twelves (NPT) will offer an exceptional educational opportunity to the sailing community through hands-on participation in sailing activities and the upkeep of 12-Meter yachts. Program participants will share the experience of maintaining and sailing these yachts, including the two-time Americas Cup champion, Courageous. In return for their time and effort, NPT volunteers will become part of a team of local ambassadors dedicated to ensuring that the 12-Meter sailing heritage is not lost. “We are looking forward to an active summer season of training and match racing off Newport,” said H2O Riders President Niccolo Porzio, adding that NPT will soon be announcing another world-famous 12-Meter yacht joining the program.
The NPT team will focus on the skills required to sail, race and maintain in race-ready condition the former Americas Cup champions. H2O Riders is developing a series of events designed to bring the richness of the sailing experience to the community and corporations that will use the Twelves for match racing in the waters off Newport, New York and Boston. Porzio added that the corporate revenues from business-oriented programs would help defray ongoing maintenance and operational expenses.
Skippered by Ted Hood, Courageous won the Americas Cup in 1974 and then won the Cup again in 1977 with Ted Turner at the helm. The boat is also the State Yacht of Rhode Island. With the planning and assistance of H2O Riders, Courageous was recently acquired by Craig Millard for the Courageous Foundation and is currently undergoing a major restoration at Hinckley Yacht Services in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Along with a new keel, mast, spars, rigging, and sails, the yachts deck and transom will be restored to their 1977 configuration.
“It is an honor for H2O Riders to be selected to oversee the restoration of such a significant 12 Meter,” explained Porzio. “With key contributions from famous Americas Cup sailors, including Ted Hood, Andy MacGowan, David Pedrick, Robbie Doyle, Gary Jobson, Richie Boyd, and Richie Sayer, we have been able to ensure the highest possible authenticity while greatly accelerating the project to allow the boat to be available this summer.”
This unique program is the direct result of work done last year by H2O Riders in support of the 2001 Columbia Syndicate for the Prada Challenge for Classic Yachts, including the Americas Cup Jubilee. “H2O Riders provided invaluable assistance in making our syndicate such a success,” said James B. Gubelmann, chairman of the division champion Columbia Syndicate, who has already committed to the new Courageous Syndicate.
“Based on H2O Riders’ success in generating support for the Columbia Syndicate, I approached Niccolo with the idea of creating a campaign for the 12 Meter North American Championship to be held in Newport next year and for the World Championship in 2006,” added Craig Millard, former member of the Columbia Syndicate and chairman of the Courageous Foundation. “We hope to create a greater appreciation for Newport’s nautical history, encourage participants to develop new skills, and develop team leaders for sailing programs throughout the area.”
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NPT participants are already helping prepare boats for the summer season. Program openings are still available, although the membership will be limited during this first year. Porzio concluded, “It is through the generous support of yacht owners like Mr. Millard that we are able to offer a free program like this for the benefit of the local community.”
For further information on the Newport Performance Twelves program, please contact Niccolo Porzio or the NPT Program Director Mike Fleuette, at H2O Riders, 559 Thames St., Newport, RI 02840, (401) 845-2005, or e-mail [email protected] Those interested in joining the program should contact the Team Coordinator, Dick Condon, at [email protected]