#comodorescup – Irish defending champions of the Commodore's Cup will face a new format event next year following new rules unveiled this morning by London organisers, the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) biennial flagship event for national teams with amateur crews. The international offshore regatta comprises a tough mix of inshore and offshore racing and is an intense seven-day programme that pits three-boat teams against one another to accrue overall team points.
For the next edition, The RORC Committee have agreed to a number of changes that will have a positive impact on the number of teams taking part in the event held at Cowes, Isle of Wight between 23 and 30 July 2016.
The first is the requirement of every team to have a small boat with a rating between 1.000 and 1.049. "Many teams in the last event believed that it was hard to be competitive without having three boats that were close to the top of the allowable rating band, as was the case of last year's winning Irish team," commented RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen.
"Lowering the rating band to 1.000 will make it easier for J109s to enter, to include boats like the JPK10.10, A35 and the new Sunfast 3200, and reduce the cost of competing. This group of boats will have their own starts, but if a team has more than one boat within this rating band, and it is possible to have three 'small' boats, it will have to nominate which boat will compete in this division. The maximum rating is still 1.230 and there has been no change to the rule that only allows one boat in each team with a rating between 1.150 and 1.230," continues Warden Owen.
The second change is the addition of an extra professional sailor to each team but without stipulation which boats they shall sail on. The exact wording is as follows: The crew of each three-boat team shall include no more than 6 Group 3 Sailors. These Group 3 sailors may sail on any boat or boats in the three-boat team however crews cannot change after the Final Crew List has been submitted except as stated in NOR1.7.2.
"The thought was that many boats who have aspirations to compete in such an event, race with people who work in the marine industry and by virtue of their job, are regarded under the ISAF eligibility rules as Group 3 professionals. Whilst it should reduce the need for owners to make wholesale changes to their crew just to fit in with the event rules, it will give teams the opportunity to use the professional sailors to enhance weaknesses in the team overall. In theory you could load your weakest boat with six professionals if it was thought that this would strengthen the team as a whole," explains Warden Owen.
The other significant change is the removal of crew weight from the rules so that the boat sails with the crew number as shown on the certificate.