If they successfully defend the trophy it will be their third consecutive victory in the event, and put them alongside England's Reg WHITE, American Duncan MacLANE and Australian Simon McKEON as multiple winners of the International Catamaran Challenge Trophy.
'That would rank pretty high on my list of accomplishments,' said LOVELL, who describes himself as a monohull sailor who got into catamaran racing because of the Olympics. 'The ICCT is a really neat event. It's a little different for me. I've been very focussed on the Olympics, but now Charlie and I are starting to do other cat events.'
The 25th anniversary ICCT will be contested on the Adriatic Sea off Rimini as part of the BLURimini Festival of sail and music. The entry deadline is 1 May 2005, and the Notice of Race can be downloaded from the website or here.
The organizing authority, BluRimini Srl., in cooperation with Vela Viva Sailing Club and Bimare Marine, intends to provide travel assistance of up to 1,000 Euros for the defending champions and the first four U.S. teams that enter the defense trials. There is also a prize purse offered for the first time in the history of the event. The organizing authority will award 10,000 Euros to the champion and 5,000 Euros to the runner-up.
'The travel assistance and prize purse are significant developments for the event,' said John B. DAWSON, Chairman of the ICCT Trustees Committee. 'They were among the factors in our decision to select Rimini as host of the 25th anniversary event. The travel assistance is an aspect that we hope will heighten the interest of U.S. teams.'
The Southern Yacht Club (in New Orleans), two-time winners of the event in the form of LOVELL and OGLETREE, agreed to let the Trustees accept proposals from venues around the world to stage the event in an attempt to attract more competitors. LOVELL and OGLETREE, three-time Olympians, are one of ten potential defense teams.
'I have a sense the event will be run very well,' said LOVELL. 'I'm excited to go. The fact that there'll be prize money and the organizers are really into promoting the event should make it good.'
The organizing authority obtained the right to host the event from the ICCT Trustees. The Trustees put the event out for bid after Southern Yacht Club completed a successful defense on Lake Pontchartrain last fall.
The challengers' field will also count as many as ten teams. At least six will qualify from the 2005 International 18HT Catamaran Championship, scheduled at Bellaria, Italy, 21-25 May 2005. Bellaria is approximately ten miles from Rimini. Those teams that hope to qualify must be entered in the ICCT before the 18HT championship. Their entry fee will be returned if they don't advance.
'I think everyone in our Class, especially the locals (from Rimini), knew that the ICCT would be held in Rimini and have consequently been working out hard,' said Jackie COOPER, Secretary of the F18HT Class Association and herself a competitor. 'The Italians are really excited.'
Elimination racing for both defenders and challengers is scheduled 26-28 May, with 29 May a scheduled reserve day. The top teams from the defender and challenger trials advance to the 25th Match, scheduled 30-31 May, with 1 June a scheduled reserve day.