Three months out from the start of the Rolex Commodores’ Cup 2006, regatta organiser Royal Ocean Racing Club, is predicting a strong line up. In 2004, 11 teams took to the water, with England Red overcoming the Irish on the last day to win this Solent-based international competition.
David Aisher, newly elected Commodore of the RORC, is delighted with the prospects for this summer. “We hope to have at least eleven teams representing the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Ireland. There is also a strong possibility of one or two more attending”. Given that the French are looking at adding a fourth team, the Irish a third and the Dutch a second to their existing line-ups, eleven may be conservative. Over and above these traditional entrants, there is also a good chance of an ‘Eastern European’ team with a mix of Russian and Polish boats. There is even a possibility of teams from both Malta and Italy, and discussions are taking place with the U.S., which has recently started using the international IRC rule. They have not competed in the event since 1996.
The Irish set their stall out early with their first team announced in September 2005. Colm Barrington has a Ker 50 Magic Glove building in South Africa, to replace his successful Flying Glove. Conor & Denise Phelan have a brand new Ker 37 also under construction. Whilst Anthony O’Leary will bring his Corby 35, Antix, which won the ultra competitive Sovereign’s Cup in Kinsale in 2005 along with second overall (behind Colm Barrington’s Flying Glove) at the MeesPierson IRC Nationals. In February a second team was confirmed, including Tim Costello’s Mills 40 Tiamat, which had success at both the Bell Lawrie Scottish Week and Skandia Cowes Week in 2005; Eamonn Rohan has recently commissioned a Corby 37 Blondie as the team’s Class 2 boat and Andrew Allen’s/Colm Monahan’s J 109 No Naked Flames will be in Class 3. Following their disappointment in 2004, the Irish enthusiasm – for a trophy they have never won – shows no sign of waning with rumours of a third team planning to cross the Irish Sea.
The RYA have announced their plans for the selection process which will include both inshore and offshore trials for the GBR teams with the intention of announcing teams towards the end of May. The GBR teams are likely to include one Scottish team.
The French are no newcomers and with victory in 2002, Gery Trentesaux knows exactly what is required to win the trophy. “The key to success is patience and a week-long strategy that recognises the importance of both the inshore and offshore components,” commented Trentesaux who will bring his new Beneteau 44.7 Courrier du couer as one of the big boats. “And, naturally some luck as well”, he adds. The French had two teams in 2002, three in 2004 and now hope to put together a fourth. “It is rewarding to see such strong French interest in this top level competition,” explains Trentesaux.
RORC is particularly pleased that its efforts to attract an Eastern European crew in 2004 were not in vain. Serguei Kotsiouba’s IMX 45, Follow Me, flew the Russian flag for Team Europe last time around. For this year hopes are high that two Russian boats will form a team with a boat from Poland. The Russian boats are Misha Mouratov’s Swan 45. Murka, already a familiar sight on the Solent and Sergey Bryuzga’s Sinergia 40, Juga, which was a regular on the Baltic circuit in 2005. “There are more and more eastern European yachts participating in our events in the UK as well in regattas in the Mediterranean and elsewhere in the world. Helping them get involved in international events such as the Rolex Commodores Cup will only help the sport to grow back in their own countries. For this reason we have no hesitation in assisting these people put competitive teams together,” explains David Aisher.
The Rolex Commodores’ Cup will be held off Cowes, Isle of Wight, from 25th June to 2nd July 2006. Entries close on Monday 22nd May.
Comments are closed.