June 2018 will see the cream of the IRC fleet gather in the Solent for an exciting 12-race multi-disciplinary team and individual regatta. The Commodores' Cup, a team-based keelboat event, has been running every other year since 1992 and has seen incredible competition amongst amateur-sailed IRC rated offshore keelboats representing various countries and geographical regions.
One of the main reasons for its success has been the way the racing has incorporated a variety of different courses ranging from short windward-leeward sprints through round the buoys and long day races in the always challenging Solent, along with one serious offshore race sailed around the central Channel. Demand for this successful multi-disciplinary event has stretched beyond the team format and amateur based event only and so for 2018 the event organiser, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, has responded by offering the same event to a wider audience.
The most active and competitive IRC racing boats fall into the rating band 1.00 to 1.27. This fleet has had its own European Championship held at various racing venues. In 2016 it was held in Cork, Ireland and in July 2017 it will be held in Marseille and in 2018 the IRC European Championship will take place in Cowes, and incorporate the Commodores' Cup. It is expected to attract up to 100 individual entries over the nine-day period (8-16 June 2018).
The European Championship will be an Open event, meaning that amateurs and professionals will race each other and the presence of professional sailors on board the entries is unrestricted. However ,to compete for the Commodores' Cup within the championship, each three-boat team will be restricted to just one World Sailing Category 3 sailor per boat.
"It is very exciting to see the Commodores' Cup format used for individual competition. The challenge of inshore racing, coastal racing and offshore racing has been popular with the boats that have competed in the regatta in the past, and now being able to produce an individual champion has the potential to be hugely attractive," declared Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager.
Whether you are preparing for the Keelboat World Championship, looking to have fun with amateurs only, wanting to represent your country on the water or just keen on the challenges represented by serious competition in the Solent and waters of the English Channel, this will be a really attractive event and may well turn out to be the most competitive IRC keelboat regatta in 2018.