Commodore's Cup

Strong interest from English crews as the trials format is announced

Friday February 1st 2002, Author: Peter Bentley, Location: United Kingdom

The halcyon days of the 1994 Commodore's Cup

Following a meeting of interested parties, the format for the selection trials for the English Commodores Cup teams has been decided. The Trails will start with the RORC Morgan Cup race on Friday 7th June. This will be followed a Cowes-based inshore regatta run by the Royal Thames Yacht Club on 15th - 16th June. The final part of the selection series will be the IR2000 National Championships, sailed from Gunwharf Quay in Portsmouth over the weekend of 28th, 29th, 30th June.

RYA Racing manager John Derbyshire was keen to point out that these trials are purely for the English team and that the other home countries will be making their own arrangements. Derbyshire is clear about why the RYA is involved in keelboat racing and in team selection. "It is part of our strategic plan to ensure we have young sailors going into keelboat sailing as a pathway to future America's Cups," he says.

The fact that existing events have been chosen for the trials led to some concern from the owners represented at the meeting. While it is the intention that both the Commodore's Cup and the Trials be run using the same rules, some owners have pointed out that there are discrepancies between the rules for the Trials and the rules for the individual events.

The two areas of most concern are crew numbers and safety requirements. The RORC intend to constrain boats to sail with the fixed number of crew indicated on their IRC certificates, and this will be reflected in the regulations for the Trials. A number of people are concerned that the more flexible approach applied to crew numbers for the Morgan Cup and the IR2000 Nationals may put them at a disadvantage in those events.

Similarly, both the Trials and the main event will be run under ORC Category three safety regulations. Again the claim is made that the Trials boats will be at a disadvantage (carrying liferafts and other heavy equipment) as compared to those not competing in the trials. Derbyshire was unrepentant about any conflict. " It is my view," he says, " that what we should mirror in our selection process what the RORC is doing in the Commodore's Cup. If people have other issues like winning the IRC nationals that's fine but they have got to decide what they want to do."

For now at least, Derbyshire and his fellow selectors are keeping and open mind on how the two English teams will be made up. "As selectors we do not have a view if we will have a big a medium or a small boat or things like that. There are no decisions as to the constitution of the team. We want to see who enters and their sailing capabilities," he says.

The selection panel is: Iain Macdonald-Smith (Chairman), Dave Atkinson, Guy Barron and John Derbyshire.

A total of 24 people (listed below) have so far expressed an interest in taking part in the trials.

Interested Party Boat
Adrian Riviett Safeena Saree, Gib Sea 414
David Scanlan Fandago, Beneteau 40.7
Douglas Flymm Kirribilli, First 47.7
Edouard Wylleman Carabistouilles 2, X332
Graham Sunderland Kemisma, Ker 11.3
J P L Perry FireStorm, Prima 38
Jeremy Paterson Twelfth Knight, Beneteau 47.7
Jock Wishart TBA
Julian Bates Born Slippy, Prima 38
Keith McCullagh Blue Genes II
Kit Hobday Bear of Britain, Farr 52
Mark Heuchan Fastunre 2, 40
Michael Cover Blue Belle, Ker 11
Nick Hartshorn
Nick Hewson Team Tonic, Farr 52
P T Harrison
Paul F King Serendip, Prima 38 OD
Phil Crebbin
Phil Lawrence
PV Scolfield
SG Greenfield Barking Mad, Swan 40
Shaun Frohrich Exabyte, IMX-40
Tim Harrington Capatalism, HOD 35

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