Current holders prepare to defend the crown

With just under three months to the start of the biennial Rolex Commodores’ Cup, held off Cowes from 25 July – 1 August, the 2004 team line up looks highly competitive.

The current holders, France, led in 2002 by Gery Trentesaux – a RORC Rear Commodore – will be returning to the fray in force with a prospect of three French teams on the start line.

Contenders for two of the teams include Codiam (an IMX45 owned by Jean-Claude Nicoleau and helmed by a previous 505 world champion Nicolas Loday) and Gonzague Dubois’s IMX45 Pretexte in Class 1. Courier d’Ile de France – a Grand Soleil 45 helmed by Gery Trentesaux – and Jean-Yves le Goff’s IMX 40 Fastwave 3 in Class 2 with the Class 3 entries being the J109 Pen Azen owned by Philippe Delaporte, helmed by Figaro sailor Laurent Cordell and Christian Guyader’s JPK 960.

From the Netherlands, winners of the Admiral’s Cup in 1999, there are plans to enter two teams. One will comprise the Grand Soleil Holmatro (winner of IRC 1 in last year’s Rolex Fastnet Race), the BH41 Checkmate and the HOD35 Havoc. Not to be outdone by its neighbours, Belgium, is putting together an entry led by Francois Goubau in his Beneteau 47.7 Moana. The Irish, a perennially strong force in Solent sailing, promise to live up to their reputation with a Dublin-based team of Eamon Crosbie’s new Ker 32 Voodoo Chile, Velvet Glove and a new DK46. A second team is also being considered.

Great Britain plan to enter four teams and the RYA selectors under the chairmanship of David Aisher are looking at a minimum of two English teams, with the possibility of a team from both Scotland and Wales.

There is a long list of interested owners for the English entries, which include Kit Hobday on his Farr 52 Bear of Britain, Peter Rutter and his latest Quokka (an Elan 37), and John Shepherd with his new Fair Do’s VI, a Ker 32. The trials comprise a series of inshore races in early June, the RORC Myth of Malham race and the MeesPierson Yachting IRC Championship later in the month, with the teams being announced on 22 June.

The RORC anticipates 12 teams in total. Entries close on Monday 21 June