Nine teams have confirmed their participation in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup, taking place out of Cowes from Saturday 19th July until Saturday 26th July.
This year the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s biennial flagship event for national teams with amateur crews has two more teams than when the event was last held in 2012. This is thanks to France and Great Britain both fielding four teams, each comprising three boats.
These teams feature many previous Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup participants, particularly in the French line-up, where they are keen to emulate the success of the campaign led by Géry Trentesaux in 2006.
Having won the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup in 2010, Ireland was unable to mount a campaign to defend its title in 2012, but this year they are returning to Cowes with one of the strongest line-ups taking part.
In recent years, while France and Britain have entered large numbers of boats Ireland’s efforts have been notable for achieving top results but with a smaller but more powerful line-up. In 2006 they fielded three teams with Ireland Green coming home second to the French while, in 2008, Ireland’s two teams ended up second and third to GBR Red. Finally in 2010 it was third time lucky.
This year’s line-up continues this theme, with former Vice Commodore of the RORC Anthony O’Leary resuming his duties as Irish team leader and skipper of his Ker 39, Antix. The Irish ‘big boat’ is American Marc Glimcher’s Ker 40, Catapult, while making up the trio is a former IRC Nationals winner, Peter Rutter’s Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8, chartered for the occasion by Niall Dowling and RORC Vice Commodore Michael Boyd.
However the French and the Irish will be up against the defending champions, Great Britain following the victory of GBR Red in 2012. This year Great Britain is comprised of three teams from the nation as a whole and one specifically from Scotland.
Surprisingly there are few surviving members of the 2012 winning GBR Red team among the British crews. One is sailmaker Kevin Sproul, who is racing as one of the two ISAF Group 3 ‘pros’ aboard James McGarry’s Swan 45, Eala of Rhu. For Sproul this year’s event will be special because he has sailed the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup twice before and twice has won, on both occasions sailing with Jonathan Goring. If Team Scotland is successful, then this year will be his hat trick. In this year’s Round the Island Race, Eala of Rhu, proved her potential, leading the giant fleet through the Needles and very nearly getting monohull line honours.