Four-time fleet winner Tom HILL (GBR) is coming with his 75-foot Titan XII, fresh off a great showing at Key West Race Week and a record-setting performance in the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Jamaica.
Two other International Rolex Regatta regulars, the 73-foot Donnybrook, owned by James MULDOON (USA), and the 68-foot Equation, owned by Bill ALCOTT (USA), which also raced to Jamaica with Titan XII and are expected to continue the maxi boat battle in Virgin Island waters.
'The International Rolex Regatta gets consistently better,' says MULDOON, 'and St. Thomas is better than it ever was before. That's why I keep coming back - good racing, nice people and a great environment.'
MULDOON added that his crew have to agree with where he wants to race, because Donnybrook is is an amateur programme, not a professional programme like some of the other big boats maintain. MULDOON will be up against the 'pros' on Titan XII, including America's Cup veterans Peter ISLER (USA), who will serve as tactician, and Mike TOPPA (USA), who has organized the crew.
For long range planning, it is hard to beat the Bulgarian team entered with their Bull 9000 Push The Tempo. Vassil BEYAZOV (BUL) and Dimitar DIMITRIEV (BUL) are the main organizers of the project, and four other crew members will join them in the adventure. Push The Tempo is making the International Rolex Regatta the high point of its full Caribbean racing season before it heads for the Pacific for more racing.
The home-grown IC-24 class is expecting a new record turnout with reports of 20 boats, up from last year's 14 entrants. Class founder and competitor Chris ROSENBERG (ISV) expects competition to be fierce: 'There are five or six teams that will show the consistency needed to win the regatta and more than ten teams that will have the ability to win any given race - and that just covers the people I know who are coming!'
While other Caribbean regattas cater to charter boats, the International Rolex Regatta tends to draw more from the hard-core racing teams. Approximately 100 entries are expected from the Caribbean, US mainland, Canada and Europe, and will race in up to ten classes.
To keep the action on the water running smoothly Principal Race Officer (PRO) John BONDS (USA) has added extra talent on his Race Committee. BONDS will have Dave BRENNAN (USA) acting as his second-in-command, recently the PRO at the highly competitive Melges 24 class at Key West Race Week.
'The International Rolex Regatta combines world-class racing with warm waters, steady trade winds and the legendary hospitality of our America's Paradise, to create an unequalled venue for racing enthusiasts,' said Race Director Tracy ROBERTS. 'It's not difficult to grasp why the regatta is known as the 'Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing.''