Prince Andrew names Bear of BritainPrince Andrew named and officially launched Kit Hobday's & Tim Louis' brand new all Carbon Farr 52 Bear of Britain at the West India Docks in the heart of London's Docklands. The Duke said he was "delighted to be associated with Bear of Britain, as she will provide young sailors with experience of amateur international yachting at the highest level and will also contribute to the future of the club The Duke of York is the commodore of the Royal Thames Yacht Club.
Kit Hobday has had a long association with sailing and the America's Cup and is now investing his experience and passion towards supporting the future of British sailing with some of Britain's younger talent. The Bear of Britain project has evolved following Hobday's adventures in the America 's Cup and his success with a mainly young crew aboard his previous boat, Independent Bear.
Bear of Britain will form the mainstay of another Hobday project. Backed by the Royal Thames Yacht Club, two years ago Kit went to the United States for meetings with the New York Yacht Club to try and agree on a class suitable for an amateur match-race. With the advent of the Farr 52 as strict one-design, an opportunity presented itself to revisit the concept. The Farr 52 is big enough and fast enough to present a spectacle, but is priced within reasonable limits. Due to their commitments with The America's Cup and this year's Jubilee Regatta, the Americans will not be taking up the challenge this time but were immensely supportive of the idea. Hobday is now in the middle of finalising a challenge from an Australian syndicate and will be organising racing for a new trophy.
The match-racing programme will consist of two legs of nine races, to be sailed at Cowes, Isle of Wight, and Sydney Australia by competing yachts of the Royal Thames Yacht Club and an Australian Yacht Club. A new cup for the British leg will be presented by the Royal Thames Yacht Club. The score over both legs will be added together (thus eliminating home advantage and sustaining interest over a longer period) to find the overall winner. The match will be raced in the Farr 52. The only deviation allowed from the totally strict one-design concept will be the sails, which will be restricted by number. No alteration may be made to either yacht without full disclosure and the agreement of the other competitor. It is envisaged that the first match will take place in Cowes in the year 2002 and the second leg will be held in Australia at a date to be confirmed.