In 1928, Starling W. Burgess (of the design firm Burgess, Rigg & Morgan) created a 12-meter design (as well as an 8-meter). Six boats were built to this plan by Abeking & Rasmussen (the well-known German firm) in Lemwerder and shipped to the States for their new owners. These first six Burgess designed 12s (named Waiandance, Isolde, Tycoon, Iris, Anitra, and Onawa) were all Bermuda rigged, a trend that had only recently evolved for the 12s in Europe. Starling Burgess, the first American to design to the metric rule, made an agreement with Henri Rasmussen subsequent to having built 14 10-meter yachts. A group of owners came to Burgess, Rigg & Morgan to commission the design and to Abeking & Rasmussen to commission the construction of 6 nearly identical boats, which would race in Long Island Sound. Built to the 12-meter-rule, they were 21m long, their hulls elegant yet powerful, with a large uncluttered deck and comfortable cabin arrangements. These early American 12s were spectacular in their day, proofed to be excellent designs and provided keen competition. The first 6 Burgess designed 12s were soon joined by two other boats that have been built in Europe but were brought stateside for the emerging class competition. Cantitoe (originally named Magda XI) was built in Norway by Anker & Jensen on a Johan Anker design. Mouette was the only other foreign-designed and – built 12 meter to be raced in the United States until the America’s Cup competition of 1958. A Charles Nickolson design, she was built in England by Camper and Nickolson, Ltd. in 1928. Of these eight 12s, only two are still afloat: Anitra and Onawa.
The existence of these early American 12s may have well kindled the renewal of the America’s Cup races in 1958, for had they not existed and raced successfully before, there would have been no large single-rule boats in which to hold the races for the "Auld Mug". It is quite interesting in this context to take a look at an article in the New York Times of March 17, 1932 with the headlines "NEW INTERNATIONL YACHTING CUP OFFERED FOR RACING ON WORLD-WIDE SCALE. TEWLVE-METER CUP PUT IN COMPETITION. North-American Yacht racing union’s action paves way for contests of many nations. Racing looms for 1933. Contending fleet to form spectacle surpassing struggles for America’s Cup. Economy guiding motive. Cost of craft one tenth of old cup boats-project strongly supported here."
This article was illustrated by a picture of Charles L. Harding’s twelve-metre Anitra with the comment: "This is the type of yacht which will compete in new international event."
(New York Times, March 17, 1932)
The Class had a strong start in the United States. These new boats were included by YRALIS (Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound, Western Part) in its annual series of races. This series, which would continue with few exceptions through the onset of World War II, provided competition both within the Class and amongst other Classes. When the 12s first appeared at Larchmont in 1928, they were noticeable for their small size, a significant commentary on the size of racing yachts during this period. Tycoon (US 3) won the initial (1928) YRALIS series for 12-meters.
Sailing her maiden race, the 12-meter knockabout Anitra, owned by Charles L. Harding of Boston, led last year’s Class M sloop Prestige, owned and sailed by Harold S. Vanderbilt of New York, over thirteen and one half miles of the fourteen-mile course today in the Beverly Yacht Club’s initial event in the annual three-day series, and although trailing at the finish by a scant two seconds won the class prize through her time allowance by 1 minute and 41 seconds. ...
The start was a slow one, with the Anitra slipping over the line ten seconds after the gun ..."
(New York Times, July 6, 1928)
The opening day of the Larchmont Yacht Club’s annual race week resulted in a regatta for drifters. ...
One of the closest races of the afternoon was waged between Clifford D. Mallory’s Tycoon and C. L. Harding’s Anitra in the twelve-meter class. The Tycoon, along with Henry Maxwell’s Isolde was away on the starting gun and left Anitra far to the rear. The Tycoon spurted ahead and left Isolde, but before long Anitra overhauled both of them. With the Tycoon clinging to the Anitra’s stern coming up to the finish line, both went wide of the mark and each seemingly was reluctant to be the first to tack. When they did, Anitra’s spinnaker became tangled and Mallory’s entry moved over the line in front, two seconds and a bare yard to the good."
(New York Times, July 22, 1928)
Take Schooner and Sloop Prizes in Alumni Association of U. S. Navy Race.
The two big winners of today’s run were Harry Payne Whitney’s Vanitie and Charles L. Harding’s twelve-meter sloop Anitra...
Anitra’s sterling race overshadowed the performance of Clifford Mallory in Tycoon who trailed the Harding sloop by less than two minutes. Both of them left Iris, Isolde and Onawa in that order a fair distance astern, all unable to cope today with the great sailing of Anitra and Tycoon. ....."
(New York Times, August 19, 1928)
Anitra shows way in sound regatta.
Harding’s sloop beats Isolde by 46 seconds in 12-Meter race off Larchmont
... Anitra, the black sloop owned by Charles L. Harding of Boston, was sailed to an impressive victory in the twelve-meter class, the largest of the starters ...
... Crafty work brought Anitra to first place on the second leg, a beat across the sound...
Commodore Maxwell (Isolde) made the most of the run with spinnakers up to the buoy off Parsonage Point and left Tycoon and Iris in bad positions. Isolde held her lead well across the sound on the starboard tack. On the windward leg over to Motts Point, however, Anitra went into first position and she turned the buoy still in the lead. Maxwell continually threatened during the final leg but Anitra pulled away to score by 46 seconds. After having a private match with Tycoon, Iris followed Isolde by a minute with Mallory twenty-one seconds astern. All sailed the last leg with balloon jibs..."
(New York Times, September 4, 1928)
Is seventh in Class, but Scores on corrected time in close and thrilling test.
C. L. Harding's twelve-meter sloop Anitra won the Astor cup for sloops in the New York Yacht Club’s race this afternoon...
In winning the sloop cup, Anitra beat Vanitie and all the Class M sloops in as hard-fought a race as ever has been sailed on these waters. One major and several minor casualties occurred during the event ... Anitra, winner of the cup for sloops on corrected time, actually finished seventh in her class having been beaten in elapsed time by Vanitie, Istalena, Valiant, Prestige, Chiora and Andiamo."
(New York Times, August 17, 1929)
The Eastern Yacht Club fleet arrived at this port today in the midst of a heavy thunder squall after a 31-mile run in a Southwest breeze from Mattapoisett. The racing run, which was for the Norman Cups , was to windward nearly all the way. The Norman cups were won by Charles L. Harding’s 12-meter sloop Anitra ..."
(New York Times, July 08, 1930)
Charles L. Harding’s Anitra captured the 54-year-old Puritan Cup today in the annual regatta of the Eastern Yacht Club. The 12-meter sloop, benefited by a dying wind which left her rivals becalmed after she had drifted across the finish line, took the prize on corrected time by more than thirty-seven minutes from Harold S. Wheelock’s Cara Mia and Nancy Leiter’s Venture.
It was a miserable racing day on Massachusetts Bay with a rough sea and a cold Northeast wind, which went round the compass as, it died away to nothing and strung out the finishers for several hours. There were only thirteen starters, the smallest entry in years."
(New York Times, July 5, 1940)
[the King’s Cup was donated by King George V of England in 1912]
Report (Author unknown):
"Twelve-Metre ANITRA Wins King’s Cup in 1949
W. Mahlon Dickerson (Commopdore of NYYC 1967-68) chartered Twelve Metres such as Vim, Gleam which he eventually owned and Anitra, a Starling Burgess one-design Twelve. It was our good fortune to serve as tactician and navigator for ‘Bus’ as he was known, especially on the 1949 NYYC cruise when we won the King’s Cup.
In the race to Marion the day before the King’s Cup Anitra had suffered damage impairing sail handling. The load of large synthetic genoas was too much for her original puny winches, and one had actually egg-shelled- gone out of round – so that all the ball bearings had fallen out of their casings and rolled overboard. If that were not deterrent to competing for the Cup, Bud and his brother Jack, who hat put Larchmont Race Week on the map and by reason of his profile bore the moniker "Tecumseh" after the famous Indian chief, had received the news of their father’s passing. Ramrod straight at the height of six-foot four inches or more and one who in his youth broke ponies for Wild Bill Cody, "Ironsides" Dickerson had campaigned the Madeleine in defense of the America’s Cup. The double crisis prompted a soul searching debate between the brother over whether to scrub competing, but it was the consensus that the old man would have wanted them to race so the decision was to go for it – one for the gipper. In the meanwhile we had been down below lying on a bunk with drift and hammer in ninety-degree temperature knocking the bolts out of the port side spinnaker winch to replace the defunct starboard side genoa winch.
Taking advantage of the two-minute grace starting span (designed to enable the King to start first and crediting the yachts that followed with their starting time differential) Anitra allowed the larger yachts to start first to avoid being overrun to windward and then executed a tactic first taught us by Commodore George Nichols, owner of the JWeetamoe. It was, once able to lay the spindle on Cormorant Rocks off Mattapoisett, go to port tack and proceed inshore as far as possible to get the header off the beach. With a southwester the typical wind pattern that occurs is when the volatile breeze coming off the land hits the more stable air over the water and deflects resulting in a header of up to five degrees or more. The hazard is that the effect projects only a couple of hundred yards off the beach where the shoals are rocky. In those days the tactician’s primary tools was hand bearing compass with a stem that held two D cells for night work, and in addition on Anitra we had taped Cal and Lay lines – the former, named after the writer Callahan, are used to sight whether a yacht to leeward can cross if she were to tack and conversely whether the yacht to weather can be crossed if one were to tack. Use of the lines is much quicker than taking bearings and can be done by any crewmember without resort to a compass.
When the lay line indicated Anitra could weather the Cormorant Rocks spindle, she went over to port tack – being the first in the fleet to do so – and a bow man on lookout had the task of hailing "tack" when in his judgement the depth was becoming critical. By the time Anitra tacked back to starboard she was to weather of the competition and pointing higher when suddenly potential disaster loomed. The leech of the mainsail began to split a foot or so above the boom. Jack Dickerson immediately crawled aft along the boom, dependent on the heeling of the yacht to keep his balance, and rove a line through the first reef erring and under the boom to keep the sail from splitting further. When Bud asked what he was doing, the crew in order to keep the skipper from being distracted at the helm replied, "improving the shape of the leech."
A further hazard on the course occurred on the downwind leg which took the fleet through the periphery of the bombing zone around the Penikeese Islands; It suddenly seemed as though we were under aerial attack, and the noise made it impossible for the commands of the spinnaker man on the foredeck to be heard by the trimmers aft. Finally the finish line the calculation that Anitra had won the Cup and the time-honoured cable of congratulations from the His Majesty’s equerry."
Edges Nereus on corrected time in 19.2 –mile Run off
With a piping southwest breeze kicking up a mean chop out on Buzzards Bay, W. Mahlon Dickerson’s 69-foot 12-meter, Anitra, 21-year-old importation from Germany, won the historical King’s Cup in a 19.2-mile race off here this afternoon.
Racing against a small turnout of only five contenders holding universal rule ratings, Anitra beat Henry Sears’ Nereus by 1 minute, 21 seconds on corrected time. Henry C. Taylor’s ocean veteran, Baruna, placed third.
John Nicholas Brown’s Newport-hailing yawl, Bolero, finished fifth. Anitra, eating up the knots in the brisk airs, covered the course in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 20 seconds. She romped over the finish line just 15 seconds behind Nereus, a newer international 12...
Although there was plenty of wind for the big yawls, the two twelves simply hat too much driving power...
(Providence Journal, Thursday, August 11, 1949)