The North American Eight Metre story began In 1928 when the New York Yacht Club commissioned 12 International 8mR yachts from the top designers and boat yards in Europe for delivery to Long Island Sound. In 1930 the RCYC selected the 8mR to revive the Canada’s Cup match racing series for the championship of the Great Lakes - Canada versus the USA. A fleet of six 8mRs were initially built and the fleet expanded as further Canada’s Cup races were during the 1930’s. The Depression and WW2 intervened and the Canada’s Cup was not raced again until 1954, when the successive string of victories by the US yachts was ended and the Canadas’s Cup returned to the RCYC. On Canada’s West Coast a number of 8mRs were also catching yacht racing attention.

Post-war Innovations and developments in yacht design and building attracted attention away from 8mRs to newer fleets and interest in 8mRs waned. It wasn’t until the late 1960’s that Rochester’s van Voorhis family commissioned Olin Stephens to build Iroquois the first modern 8rm that interest began to revive. So determined and passionate were they about the 8mR fleet that they donated the silver trophy to the winner of the first 8mR World Cup in 1970 in Scotland. Retuning to Lake Ontario as the winner of 1984 8mR World Cup held in Sweden, Iroquois brought the international competition to North America for the first time. Newer moderns sparked by the development of Iroquois came with her to North American but it was a brand new 8mR Octavia, designed and built in Canada that won that year, followed by a new American 8mR Golden Feather, the next. The Fleet continued to grow as new owners bought and upgraded the older Classic 8mRs that continued to provide their crews with competitive big boat racing excitement.

In 2005 the North American Eight Metre Association was formed to help the RCYC host that year’s 8mR World Cup. The World Cup had been held on Lake Ontario 6 times since 1984 and it was hoped that the numerous 8mR’s scattered around North America would feel welcome to join and participate in the formal recognition of their status as part of a world-wide fleet.

Further 8mR World Cups have since been held in Toronto in 2010 and 2016 honing competition and friendly rivalry. The 2016 Canada’s Cup was raced one more time in 8mRs. This time 6 modern 8mRs competed in very close match races to choose both the US challenger Yquem and the Canadian defender Hollandia. At the end Canada was victorious. It was a fabulous demonstration of the vitality of the 8mR Fleet and along with the 2016 8mR World Cup, 2016 was declared the YEAR OF THE EIGHT.

NAEMA is now bidding for the 2026 World Cup to be held in Sodus Bay, NY. In the mean-time we are holding annual North American Championships and competing at the LYRA, Can-Am and Open regattas with a full season scheduled around the lake. As we close in on 100 years of 8mR racing on Lake Ontario the future looks bright for these beautiful, graceful and powerful yachts.