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it is being fully opened up. Boats must comply with the overall TCC limits for the IRC European Championship, but there is no longer a requirement for one member of the team to be a ‘big boat’ or for boats to fall within any specific rating bands.


Similarly, in previous editions teams represented their country and their entry often involved working with their Member National Authority. This is no longer mandatory, so for 2018 three boats could compete from one yacht club, or simply three friends with boats, and there is no restriction on their having the same nationality.


“It will allow competitors to form any team that they want,” explains Warden Owen. “You find your team that you want to sail with and put it together.”


As ever, the Commodores’ Cup is intended as a competition for Corinthian crews. In 2018 teams will be allowed only one World Sailing Group 3 professional in their crew. However, yachts competing at the IRC Europeans but not in the Commodores’ Cup are unrestricted in their Group 3 crew.


Another new development is that any boat racing with at least two female crew OR two crew under 25 (on 9 June 2018), or at least one female crew AND


at least one under 25, are allowed an extra crew member in addition to the crew limit shown on their certificate. There is now no weight limit.


One of the most successful aspects of recent Commodores’ Cups has been the race format. This will be adopted for the IRC European Championship in 2018. It will comprise up to ten inshore races – both windward-leeward and round the cans, some with reaching starts – a race round the Isle of Wight (carrying a coefficient of x1.5) and a 150 nautical mile/30-36 hour offshore race set in the central Channel to suit the wind direction and strength, and bearing a coefficient of x2.


“This may well turn out to be the most competitive IRC keelboat regatta in 2018,” enthuses Eddie Warden Owen.


Although this new format has been adopted for the Commodores’ Cup for 2018, whether it will revert to being a stand-alone in 2020 remains to be seen. “It depends on what the support is for it and the feedback,” says Warden Owen.


Meanwhile, the IRC European Championship is set to continue annually, moving to another country, possibly in northern Europe or back to the Mediterranean, in 2019.


New for 2018 RORC Commodores’ Cup: • Competitors wishing to enter the Commodores’ Cup are invited to create teams of three boats with a rating between 0.995 and 1.270 with a max DLR of 210.


• Teams can represent a club, a region or a nation. For national representation, authorisation may be required from the appropriate Member National Authority (MNA).


• The Commodores’ Cup maintains its Corinthian ethos with only one professional sailor allowed on each boat.


• Boats that race with two female crew or two crew under 25, or one female crew and one under 25, are allowed an extra crew member.


• There is no crew weight limit, only the Crew Number limit on their IRC rating certificate.


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