Since the demise of this year’s Admiral’s Cup, the Ocean Racing Council has been looking into the possibility of creating a definitive World Offshore Sailing Championships

The cancellation of this year’s Admiral’s Cup was a defining moment. RORC had been tinkering blindly at the edges of the event in an attempt to generalise its increasingly esoteric appeal but succeeded only in alienating the few countries that still attended regularly.

Yet at the same time, events such as the Copa Del Rey, the Rolex IMS Offshore World Championships and the Kenwood Cup were still attracting massive fleets. The demand for a top flight inshore/offshore regatta is clearly very strong but how that demand should be satisfied is the big question.

With the enthusiastic approval of Paul Henderson, ISAF President and the ISAF general assembly, Ocean Racing Council Chairman Hans Zuiderbaan has set up a steering group to plan an ISAF-supported offshore world championship event for national teams.

This steering group will be contacting clubs with experience of planning and running similar events and asking for their input. Like the Admiral’s Cup, the event will be biannual and contested by national teams. The three boat teams will loosely be as follows:an IMS rating band encompassing the International 50ft Classa popular one design yachta production yacht of the newly created IMS 600 Class.

The first event is scheduled to take place in Porto Cervo in 2003, as a part of the Sardinia Cup. Subsequent event venues will be switched around with new venues being announced two events in advance. The ORC has stated that the event format will be retained for several events so raceboat owners don’t find themselves with boats that are obsolete after six months.

The race for title sponsorship is, no doubt, already underway but it would be a shame if Champagne Mumm, backers of the Admiral’s Cup through thick and – lately – thin, were to find themselves sidelined. The tradition of presenting each winning crew member with his weight in champagne would be sorely missed.