Ireland can formally seek to defend its Commodores Cup title now that the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) has announced details of the 2012 Cup to be held in Cowes, Isle of Wight between Saturday 21st and Saturday 28th July 2012 in association with the Royal Yacht Squadron.
National teams to race three boats
This tough mix of inshore and offshore races will be concentrated into a challenging seven day racing schedule on the testing waters in and around the Solent. The RORC have introduced a change to the IRC rating band to encourage more entries. The smallest boats will have a minimum rating of 1.020 and the fastest boats a max rating of 1.230. Three boats can be chosen from this rating band with the proviso that only one boat in the team shall rate 1.150 or above.
RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine explained the rationale behind the change: "in previous events we have had three distinct bands however some countries have struggled to find a competitive boat in each band. We are keen to get more foreign teams to enter the competition and feel that by opening up the entry criteria, there will be more good boats available for charter, which makes sense in today's challenging economic climate," explained McIrvine. "However, we do not want teams to dominate the competition by bringing three big boats, thus the reason for only allowing one boat in each team to be faster than 1.150."
The racing format will also be changed so that all the boats will start together rather than having three individual races for each rating band as was the norm in previous events.
The last Cup in 2010 was the tenth biennial event and it attracted 10 highly competitive teams from five nations: France, Ireland, Great Britain, Hong Kong and South Africa.
Strict nationality requirements will once again be in place for crew as at least 50% must be from the nation represented. To ensure that the regatta retains its Corinthian ethos a cap will be placed on the number of professionals allowed to take part. Boats rating 1.150-1.230 shall have a maximum of two Group 3 sailors on board (professional sailors), whilst boats rating 1.020-1.149 shall have a maximum of one. Professionals are not just limited in number; there are restrictions on what they may do. For example, an amateur has to helm throughout the inshore races and at the start of the offshore races; however bona fide owners who are Group 3 sailors will be exempt. Helmsmen shall also be nationals of the country they are representing.
Complete details of the Commodores' Cup 2012 will be published in the Notice of Race in December 2011.