The event, which runs in Porto Cervo, Italy through until 17 September, incorporates the Mediterranean One Design Championship and involves two of the most prominent OD Classes: the Farr 40 and Swan 45. In addition, there is a handicap division for IMS rated boats in the band between GPH 550 and GPH 610.
For the 2005 edition, the Rolex Settimana delle Bocche has attracted a very competitive and international fleet, comprising ten Swan 45s, 18 Farr 40s and seven IMS entries. Seven nations are represented - Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Russia. Among the Farr 40 class, Massimo MEZZAROMA's Nerone from Italy, winner of the event in 2002-2003 and 2004, will have to face a series of tough contestants in order to defend his title - including Giovanni MASPERO's (ITA) Joe Fly, Lang WALKER's Kokomo from Australia, Vincenzo ONORATO's Mascalzone Latino and Marco RODOLFI's TWT, both from Italy. HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark will be racing aboard his Farr 40 Nanoq. The competition will be intense also in Swan 45 class, with entries such as Italian Mintaka owned by Stefano POLTI, winner of the 2004 Swan 45 Gold Cup, Leonardo FERRAGAMO's Cuordileone and Danilo SALSI's DSK, both yachts representing Italy.
The Farr 40, first launched in 1997, is a high performance one-design racing yacht created for amateur helmsmen racing at top level international and regional regattas, under strict One Design Class Rules. Only four crew members may be professional sailors, and the 'owner/driver' rule applies to this class, meaning that only amateur (Group 1) owners and their immediate family members may steer. Crew 'group' classification is determined by the current ISAF Sailor's Classification Code. As with the Farr 40s, the Swan 45 Class is, too, an 'owner driver' class and no more than five crew classified as professionals (Group 3) may be aboard the boat while racing. The founding philosophy of the Swan 45 Class, designed by German Frers and launched in 2001, was to create a successful, sustainable and professional class with both racing and cruising capabilities.
The racing area of the Rolex Settimana delle Bocche, or 'Week of the Straits' - the Straits being the stretch of water separating Sardinia from the French island Corsica - will be on the waters off Porto Cervo and the nearby La Maddalena Archipelago, with its narrow straits, rocky outcrops and shifting winds. The four days of racing will feature mostly windward-leeward courses, with a maximum of nine races to be sailed. The Farr 40s will race only windward-leeward courses, while the other classes might also sail coastal courses.
Today the crews will be busy with final preparations, inspections, registrations, weigh-ins and final tune-up of the boats before tomorrow's first race of the series. The skippers will meet at 6.30pm for their pre-regatta briefing and then join the owners, crews and race officials for a welcome cocktail at the clubhouse which overlooks the Porto Cervo Marina.