EIGHT TEAMS CHALLENGE Two More In The Wings United States To Mount Strong Defence

Britain’s Royal Ocean Racing Club today announced that eight teams have lodged challenges for the 1999 Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cup. Two more teams have indicated challenges in preparation but not yet ready to announce, and the RORC’s Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cup Management Committee last night agreed that it would extend the May 5th midnight deadline to accommodate these late entrants.

The eight teams already announced are: Australia; Europe; France; Germany; Great Britain; Italy; Netherlands; United States. In addition, teams from the Baltic region and the Channel Islands have lodged preliminary challenges, pending final confirmation of the availability of boats.

Announcing the challenges, Alan Green, race director of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, said: ‘we are very pleased with the response we have had to the changes announced to the format of the event. Once again, the Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cup will be bringing the very best offshore racing yachts and the very best sailors in the world to Cowes. What is perhaps most gratifying of all is the number of new owners we shall see.’

Changes to the event, announced soon after the previous Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cup in 1997, include holding the event just before, instead of during, Skandia Life Cowes Week, shortening the time-scale from three weeks to two and bringing the entire inshore racing element of the mixed-discipline series back within The Solent. In addition, a new offshore race has been devised, reviving the RORC’s Wolf Rock Race, as the climax to the event which will this year finish where it began – back in The Solent. In previous year’s the Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cup has begun in Cowes but finished in Plymouth.

Although challenges were required to be lodged by midnight, May 5th, challengers do not officially nominate their teams until July 1st. Such is the nature of grand-prix campaigning in offshore racing today, however, that much is already known, albeit unofficially, about both the people and the hardware nations will be sending to Cowes to try and win what endures as absolute top prize in the world of inshore/ offshore yacht racing. Here then, and in no particular order, is the very latest from Rumour Control:

THE YANKS ARE COMING On Wednesday, August 13, 1997, the United States Team of Flash Gordon 3, MK Café and Jameson won the Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cup. It was the first time since 1969 that a United States Team had won what for 30 years has been regarded as the premier team prize in international offshore racing and it broke a 28-year famine. In 1999 the United States Sailing Association intends to return and continue the feast.

The United States Team competing in the 1999 Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cup will include the Nelson/Marek 50 Idler owned by George David from Hartford, Connecticut with Ken Read at the helm and Jim Brady calling tactics. Ken Read and Jim Brady have both raced the Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cup several times and were crew members aboard ‘Flash Gordon 3’ on USA’s winning team in 1997. The Sydney 40 will be yet another ‘Blue Yankee’ and is being chartered by the man now synonymous with that famous name: Bob Towse from Stamford, Connecticut. Steve Benjamin will steer Blue Yankee. Bob Towse and Steve Benjamin have teamed together in three previous Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cups on boats named ‘Blue Yankee’ and aboard ‘Bravura’, when Bob chartered that IOR racer from Irv Lubee.

The US Mumm 36 will be ‘Jameson’, chartered by Matt Whittaker from Houston, Texas, with Chris Larson at the helm. Chris Larson too has raced several Champagne Mumm Admiral’s Cups and was helmsman aboard ‘Jameson’ in that never-to-be-forgotten Class of ’97.

This year the USA changes its approach to running its team, and instead of a single team manager will have a Team Management Committee consisting of Ken Morrison, Don Genitempo, Talbot Wilson a