Yachting Australia today announced the Australian team of Ichi Ban and Ragamuffin, two highly successful grand prix racers, while the super maxis Skandia and Konica Minolta will be resume their full-on duel for ocean racing supremacy in rival teams representing the State of Victoria and the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in New Zealand.
The Rolex Challenge is a nine-race series for teams of two IRC rated yachts representing nations, states of Australia or yacht clubs. So far six teams have been nominated.
Eight of the races will be sailed in the Rolex Trophy rating series starting this Thursday, 16 December and continuing through to Sunday, 19 December. The ninth and final race will be the 60th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starting on 26 December, which will count double points.
The Australian team was chosen from five nominations by a panel appointed by the board of Yachting Australia. Ichi Ban, owned by Matt Allen, is a Farr 52 which is the current Australian IRC champion while Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin is a Farr 50 with an outstanding record in ocean racing.
Grant Wharington's Skandia, a Don Jones-designed 98-footer, has been named in the Victorian state team along with the newly launched DK46, Dekadence, skippered by Sandringham Yacht Club commodore Philip Coombs.
Skandia's arch rival for Rolex Sydney Hobart Race line honours, Konica Minolta, Stewart Thwaites' Bakewell-White designed 98-footer, has formed a team with Sydney yachtsman Geoffrey Ross' Judel/Vrolijk 52, Yendys, in representing the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington, New Zealand.
The New South Wales state team will comprise the 2003 Admiral's Cup champion, Steven DAVID's state-of-the-art Reichel/Pugh 60, Targé (formerly Wild Oats) and George SNOW'S Scott Jutson-designed 80-footer, Brindabella.
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia has nominated David MASON'S new Beneteau 44.7, Prime Time, and Howard de TORRES' well-performed IMX 40, Nips N Tux, to represent the Club in the Rolex Challenge.
From Victoria, there will be a combined Royal Yacht Club Victoria and Sandringham Yacht Club team comprising the Team Melbourne University's Sydney 38, Another Challenge, and the MBD 40, Fuzzy Logic, owned by Bill LENNON and Paul ROBERTS.
The CYCA expects a further international team for the Rolex Challenge to be announced before the Rolex Trophy starts this coming Thursday.