What to wear while setting sail in Newport

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Set your point of sail for Newport, Rhode Island as the 2019 World 12 Metre Championship takes over the town from July 8th to the 13th. You will be at the helm on a beam reach as the windswept excitement is in high gear.



The Beautiful Nyala given to Briggs Cunningham as a wedding present from his father-in-law.

The 2019 12 Metre World Championship, hosted by the Ida Lewis Yacht Club and the 12 Metre Yacht Club, is the largest-ever gathering of 12 Metre yachts in the United States featuring almost two-dozen boats from seven countries.

The historical significance is entwined with that of Newport itself, a major hub of sailing in America and home to The America’s Cup 12 times from 1930 to 1983. During the later years, the 12 Metre, single masted sloop, dominated the field.  Thames Street and Bannister’s Wharf were a hive of activity as thousands of sailors and spectators from around the world arrived en mass to witness the intense competition on the sea.

Our ship-side photographer, Kate Gubelmann explains the significance:

“For the first time in the history of American sailing, there will be 21 12 Metre yachts competing for trophies off the coast of Newport, RI. It was here that the 12 Metre defended the America’s Cup from 1958 to 1987. These extraordinary boats are coming from all over the globe for a once in a lifetime venue on the waters where they competed in what some consider the Golden Age of Sailing.”


The Pre Worlds.
Hilary with Patrick McMullan in Newport.

Hilary is also understandably enthusiastic about the Championship — “It’s being held in the city that I grew up spending my summers and brings back memories of standing on the docks as a young girl in the 1970s during the America’s Cup races. We were cheering on Intrepid, whose campaign motto was “Knock on Wood” because she was a wooden boat, as she took on Courageous and Ted Turner. Newport was hopping and we were in the thick of it. 12 metre yachts are beautiful and to see two dozen of them at the starting line will be a sight to behold. I hope to watch from our boat or see them come by Fort Adams with their spinnakers flying. So casual attire is a must and I plan on bringing a swimsuit just in case I feel like a quick dip.”


Top: Ulla Johnson Floral Blouse, $225.
Bottom: Veronica Beard Mini Skirt, $225.
Swimwear: Caroline Constas Mer Bikini Top, $165. / Caroline Constas Mer Bikini Bottom, $125.
Accessories: Le Specs Luxe Rectangular sunglasses, $128. / Avenue The Label Straw Fedora, $135. / Kayu Bucket Bag, $165.
Shoes: Constañer Espadrilles Wedges, $120.

As a native Newporter, Hilary knows when to tack and has gotten the inside scoop from those in the know about the the founding of the 12 Metre Yacht Club that led to this incredible event.



Chandler (Bee) Hovey Vice Commodore explained: “A few years ago Jimmy Gubelmann went to the Barcelona 12 Metre Worlds and was surprised to see how small the fleet was and especially how few Americans were participating. Soon afterward Ralph Isham, in a joking way, said Jimmy Gubelmann should start up a 12 Metre Yacht Club and be Commodore. And sure enough that’s exactly what Jimmy did – founding the club, building the membership to over 800 sailors and friends of sailors and spreading the word about the 12’s with monthly newsletters. His enthusiasm for the 12’s and their world-wide resurgence is being rewarded by the number of 12’s in Newport for the 2019 Worlds. This week 23 12’s from the US and Europe will be competing for 5 days for the 2019 12 Metre World Championship.”


Commodore Gubelmann.

The 12 Metre Yacht Club encourages involvement in preserving, restoring and racing 12 Metre Yachts in the Newport area.  It is based in the Clarke Cooke House on Bannister’s Wharf, home to incredible and indelible history of The America’s Cup there.   The high blown fever returns to the town, as international teams of elite sailors, veterans of the America’s Cup, and Olympic medalists assemble with high expectations and higher spirits to represent Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway and the United States.


The Clark Cooke House Bannister’s Wharf by Hilary Dick.

To make your packing and dressing a breeze, Hilary and I both chose what we call our Eastern Seaboard color scheme — crisp navy and white, a dash of red and bright gold or brass accessories.  We have it on good authority that Peter Gerard, the Race Committee Chairman is going to try and have a sail by Fort Adams with a pretty fabulous Spinnaker Run, depending on the wind.  This would be an ideal place to view the aquatic action from land. My what-to-wear is Trina Turk’s navy shift, a perfect summer zip-and-go.


Trina Turk Shift Dress, $328.

Pair it with the classic, but ever-stylish Jack Rogers gold sandals.


Jack Roger Sandals, $118.

And of course, a sunhat to keep you in the shade.


Eric Javits Woven Hat, $240.

And don’t forget pair of terrific sunglasses and binoculars.


Ray Ban Sunglasses, $153.

Zeiss Victory Pocket Binoculars, $799.

The fireworks continue during the evening with the 12 Meter Dinner Dance, where the stated attire is Service Dress or Cocktail Attire and revelers will be in for as seamen and ship shape landlubbers mix in up in style.



In the Navy, Service Dress is prescribed for officers to all official functions when the civilian equivalent is a coat and tie.  It is less formal than Full Dress. White is worn in the summer, navy blue can be worn all year.

When John and I attended a function at the Monaco Yacht Club several years ago, the gentlemen’s dress was Nautical Cocktail — blue blazer, white shirt, red tie & white pants. It is a smashing summer look and would be ideal for those attending who are not in the military.



The gals can have their pick of any number of Summer Cocktail frocks. This PatBO is a fun and festive for the younger set.


PatBO Ruffled Midi Dress, $625.

This is a classically elegant off shoulder dress, flattering to almost every age and body type.


Theia Off Shoulder Sheath, $495.

If a floral and flounce mini is more you style, this Michael Kors is on SALE.


Michael Kors Floral Eyelet, $526 ON SALE.

Or if you are looking for a feminine floral, the Parker Black halter-top will delightfully sway to the beat.


Parker Black Halter Handkerchief Dress, $448.

Pair it with bright metallic gold sandals. I find the thick heel is practical as well as pretty and will give you more stability on grass and gravel.


Loeffler Randal High Heel Sandal, $395.

Or something a little strappier from Schutz.


Schutz Gold Strappy Sandals, $165.

Nancy Gonzalez purse is an investment piece to wear with anything from jeans to black tie.  It also comes in silver.


Nancy Gonzalez Metallic Croc Bag, $1,350.

And to punch up you look, a pair of ASHA by ADM.


Venice Chandelier Earrings, $225.

Sophie & Hilary Dick model ASHA Jewelry.

For a more casual day of spectating on a boat or lunch at the beach, this collection of suits and cover-up are the perfect combination.


A.L.C. Cotton Poplin Dress, $395. / Vineyard Vines Shift Dress, $118.
Swimwear: Mara Hoffman Bikini Top, $140. / Mara Hoffman Bikini Bottom, $145.
Accessories: Ray Ban Sunglasses, $153. / Seastar Slingback, $96. / Seastar Fisherman’s Tote, $48.

If you want to get in on the exhilaration of 12 Meter Racing, 12 Meter Charters offers an on board sailing experience, individual and group charters aboard historically significant yachts — US 16 Columbia, the 1958 America’s Cup Winner, the first 12 Meter yacht to win the America’s Cup, and US 23 Heritage — the last wooden America’s Cup built. See you on the sea!



12 Metre yachts photographs by Kate Gubelmann

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