European champions to challenge
From Italy, two-time A-Class World Champion Egidio Babbi with crew Daniele Saragoni have posted a bid to secure the opportunity to challenge for the trophy.
Struble and Oliver, no strangers to winning, are the current European Champions in F-18HTs – the class to be used in the 2003 ICCT. Struble also is a three-time performance catamaran champion in the Inter 20 and 5.5 Uni and a past winner of the Worrell 1000. Oliver, meanwhile, is the current F-18HT North American Champion. Both hope their experience will lead them to defend and ultimately win the 2003 ICCT.
Babbi and Saragoni have put together a training program at the Circolo Vela Cesenatico in Italy where the sailing conditions are similar to Newport’s. Babbi said, "we are looking forward to racing for the Little America’s Cup and competing in an event that includes prospective defenders such as teams led by Randy Smyth and Matt Struble. We will be training hard over the next several months in an effort to secure the challenger spot."
Bimare Offers F-18HTs to Teams for European Championships
Because of the unprecedented interest in the ICCT, the Italian manufacturer of the F-18HT and supplier to the 2003 ICCT, Bimare, is offering ICCT teams the free use of F-18HTs for the upcoming European Championships scheduled for the end of June in Rimini, Italy. Bimare President Mr. Petrucci said, "Bimare and the class have been contacted by 14 non-U.S. teams planning on forming challenges for the Little America's Cup. The teams, particularly the Tornado teams coming from the ISAF event in Cadiz, Spain directly before the Little America's Cup, are very excited about having a major event to sail in as a means of becoming familiar with the F-18HT."