Team Whishbone (USA 1) will be led by Tim FALLON who, with two of his returning team mates - Karen RENZULLI and Ery LARGAY - won the 2003 ISAF Team Racing World Championship in New Zealand. Rounding out FALLON's team is Mark IVEY; Matt LINBLAD; and 2004 Olympian Tim WADLOW, who sailed with FALLON to a silver medal finish in the Worlds in 1999 (also with LARGAY and RENZULLI) and 2001. Team Whishbone qualified for the 2005 Worlds by winning US SAILING's 2004 U.S. Team Racing Championship for the George R. Hinman Trophy and more recently won the U.S. Team Racing Association Midwinters.
As the name implies, team racing is not about a single boat's performance but the best combined score for each country's three boat team in head to head races. The regatta will be sailed in Vanguard 15s - small, high performance planing dinghies. Each Vanguard 15 is manned by a crew of two for a total of six competitors per team, with at least one female sailor per team. The on water action takes place at a lightning fast pace, with races typically between seven and eight minutes in duration. The result is an emphasis on tactics and boat handling.
'On the world stage, Great Britain and the USA are the leaders in team racing,' said FALLON, who began team racing as a junior sailor on Cape Cod. 'Over here, the sport has only developed in the last 10-15 years, whereas the British have been at it for a much longer time, and they do a lot of it. We're always trying to catch up with them. Ireland is up there as well.'
On Team GBR 1 is 1995 ISAF Team Racing World Champion Steve TYLECOTE, who figuratively and literally 'wrote the book' on the sport. It bodes well for the team that TYLECOTE, along with two of his team mates, David ELLIS and Rob SHERINGTON, won both the 2004 and 2005 Wilson Trophy regattas. The Wilson Trophy is considered by many as the world's most competitive team racing regatta after the Worlds. Team New Forest Pirates (GBR 2) also includes three multiple winners of the Wilson Trophy: Stuart HUDSON, Dom JOHNSON and Owen MODRAL.
The high calibre of competition is further reflected on the team resumes of Team Royal St. George (IRL 2) - skipper Johnny MAHEW has won the Wilson Trophy three times; Team George Knights (IRL 1) - John SHEEHY finished fourth at the last Worlds; Team Biwakko (JPN 1) - five members are multiple winners of the All Japan Team Race Championship; Team NZL 2 - High School Team Racing National champions and finished second in the 2005 New Zealand Open Team Racing Championships; Team NZL 1 - Samantha HARRISON has won the High School Team Racing Nationals five years in a row; and Team VI Challenge (ISV) - the team finished second at the 2005 High School Team Racing Nationals.
This is FALLON's fourth trip to an ISAF Team Racing World Championship and he is looking forward to sailing in Newport. 'It was nice to be in New Zealand during the last world championship, because it all took place around the America's Cup and that was pretty cool, but Newport is also special - it's the Auckland of this part of the world.'
According to Steven WOLFF, Chairman of the New York Yacht Club's Sailing Committee and the ISAF Team Racing Worlds, 'Twenty teams is a recent record for this regatta, and we are pleased that Grey Goose vodka has given us a boost with its title sponsorship, allowing for a bigger, better, more festive event.'
The 2005 ISAF Team Racing World Championship will be sailed off Goat Island in Narragansett Bay, where racing will be 'centre stage,' with live commentary provided by Tufts University Sailing Coach Ken LEGLER.
Two days of practice racing kick off the on the water action, with the Opening Ceremony set for Sunday evening 25 September 2005. Racing begins on Monday 26 September, with upward of 400 races expected to be held before the teams who will move into the finals on 1 October are determined. Awards will be presented on Saturday 1 October, followed by the Closing Ceremony.