Close to 50 yachts will be on the startline of the Rolex IMS Offshore World Champion which starts today

All is set for the start of the Rolex IMS Offshore World Championship, now in its seventh year, which starts today in the Balearic island of Menorca. Forty eight yachts will be on the startline with crews representing Argentina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Uruguay.

The event, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the Club Marítimo de Mahón, runs over five days from July 13-17July and includes both windward/leeward races and a coastal/offshore race in the waters off Menorca (scheduled for Thursday/Friday), for a maximum total of seven races. The event is open to IMS Cruiser/Racer and Racing boats with a minimum length overall of between 9.8 and 17.5 meters and a GPH of between 635 and 495. Boats with only amateur crew (with a current ISAF Group 1 classification) will make up the Corinthian category; boats which include more than one sailor of Group 2 or 3, will make up the Non-Corinthian category. The World Champion title will be awarded to the winner in each category, together with a coveted Rolex time piece.

The competition will be fierce, with world class sailors such as double Olympic gold medalist (1992 and 1996 in the 470 class) and five-time world champion Theresa Zabell racing aboard the Spanish JV 57 Tau Ceramica of Javier Domínguez Banderas; Theresa Zabell is also Ambassador for Sport in Spain at the European Commission. Pedro Campos, former America’s Cup skipper, ten-time world champion and general manager/inshore helmsman of the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race Team Movistar, will be sailing his Evento 46 Telefonica Movistar. Campos, who sailed the Rodman 42 Telefónica Movistar to a Class 1 victory in the 2003 Worlds, recently won the Trofeo de S.M. La Reina in Valencia in the IMS 500 division. Spain’s most prestigious entries also include the Farr 54 Cam owned by Olympic medal winners Fernando León (gold, Tornado class, 1996) and Kiko Sánchez Luna (gold, 470 class, 1992), who took first place in the 2001 edition of the Rolex IMS Worlds in Valencia and was recently second at the Trofeo de S.M. La Reina in Valencia (IMS 500).

Iker Martínez, gold medalist in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in the 49er class and co-skipper on Telefónica MoviStar with Pedro Campos and Bouwe Bekking in the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race, will be skippering the GS 42R Movistar owned by Italian Lorenzo Bressani; Fernarndo Echavarri, 2005 Tornado world champion, will be mainsail trimmer on board Movistar. Also on the starting line, the are three other Spanish, highly competitive, GS 42Rs: Andalucia te Quiere, winner at the Trofeo de S.M. La Reina in the IMS 600 division, Fermax Electronica and Forum Filatelico.