RORC expect record fleet
Intent has been expressed from more than 17 teams, representing the major sailing nations - USA, Australia, Spain, France, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Ireland and, of course, the home nations of the United Kingdom. The RORC is confident that eventual entries will exceed the 13 teams attending in 1992 and 1996.
"Obviously it is still too early to say with certainty the fleet size on the start line in August. The tremendous level of enquiry evidenced to date far exceeds the normal activity at this stage in previous event cycles", said Peter Rutter, two time competitor and current Commodore of the RORC.
Peter Rutter, whose boat Quokka finished second in Class in 2000, has overseen two major phases of change to the Rolex Commodores' Cup during his tenure. In 2000, the Organising Committee (made up of the RORC, representatives of Rolex and other industry professionals) introduced some sweeping innovations to the format of the competition. The event was compressed into a week, IMS handicap was replaced with IRM and the rules on professionals were simplified. The significant modifications for 2002 include the utilisation of IRC to widen the potential fleet and the removal of banding for the three boats in each team. Both seem to have been well-received in the yachting community.
The RORC's proactive approach to the RCC, supported by an informed sponsor in Rolex, has been crucial to maintaining high interest in this international team competition. The intent shown by the European teams towards this year’s event has encouraged this view, but what has delighted the RORC and Rolex most is the number of approaches from teams further afield.
The Rolex Commodores Cup 2002 will be raced off Cowes between 11 and 18 August. The competition for three boat teams comprises a series of inshore and offshore races (including the RORC’s famous flexi-course which ensures crews are kept at sea for 24 -36 hours irrespective of wind conditions). 50% of each crew must be amateur according to the ISAF Eligibility Code, thereafter the only restriction is that an amateur must helm during the inshore races and at the start of the offshore race.