First challengers arrive
The event will take place on 28 September-3 October from Sail Newport’s facility at Fort Adams.
This match racing competition, complete with pre-start manoeuvres and the typical one-on-one moves that make its namesake so intriguing, adds the dynamic of being sailed in F-18HT catamarans -- multihulls that go three times the speed of equilavent-sized monohulls.
As of today, there are confirmed challenges from four foreign teams - three of whom hail from the Adriatic resort of Rimini in northeastern Italy, an area known for its fantastic beaches and water sports.
Representing Club Nautico Rimini will be Alberto Sonino with crew Edward Canepa, and Daniele Saragoni with crew Teo Di Battista. Massimiliano Sirena, with crew Paolo Bassani, will represent Vela Club Marano Riccione. Hoping to unseat the Rimini Challenge to the Little Americas Cup are John Pierce and Suze Davis. The pair represent Mumbles Yacht Club in Swansea, South Wales, United Kingdom, also known as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Four American teams have hopes of becoming the ultimate Defender at the conclusion of the elimination series. Two of those teams - John Lovell (New Orleans, La.) with crew Charlie Ogletree (Houston, Texas) representing Southern Yacht Club, and Lars Guck (Bristol, R.I.) with crew Jonathan Farrar (Miami, Fla.) representing Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club - will bring their rivalry from the Tornado class to this new venue. Both teams will arrive in Newport fresh from the Tornado World Championships in Spain.
Rounding out the American entries at press time are Mark Murray (Newport, R.I./Pensacola, Fla.) and crew Charles Barmonde (Newport, R.I.) representing Team 1/Sail Newport, and Barry Moore (Beverly, Mass.) with crew Eric Anderson (Andover, Conn.) representing Sea Cliff Yacht Club.
The new International Catamaran Challenge Trophy series will feature the F-18HT catamaran for the first time. New, fully equipped Bimare F-18HTs, named 2003 Boat of the Year by Sailing World magazine, will be provided to all teams. Much like the America's Cup, the winner will bring the trophy back to their yacht club to host the 2004 event, which will also feature provided Bimare F-18HTs to ensure consistency.
On 28-30 September, the four foreign "challenger" teams and the four American "defender" teams will each sail an elimination round robin match-racing series. After a layday on Wednesday, October 1, the winners of the respective Defender and Challenger eliminations will compete head-to-head in a best four out of seven series for the Trophy on Thursday and Friday, October 2-3.