Whilst there is still activity behind the scenes, at close of business on Monday 21 June (the entry deadline), ten teams had submitted formal challenges.
A strong team on paper is the Irish, with Eamon CROSBIE'S year old Ker 32, Voodoo Chile (1st IRC 2 Red Funnel Easter Challenge/2nd IRC2 MeesPierson IRC Championships), Colm BARRINGTON'S latest 'Glove' - the brand new Ker 39 Flying Glove (2nd IRC SZ/Z MPIC) and Fidessa Fastwave, the DK46, sailed by Chris BROWN and Peter HARDING.
Following its successful venture in 2002, the French are returning with three teams under the management and leadership of Gery TRENTESAUX. A repeat of their success from two years ago is not out of the question. The make up of each team will be finalised after the Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race starting on 2 July.
The Netherlands bring one team comprising J. Horrevoets' Grand Soleil 44R, Holmatro (winner IRC1 Rolex Fastnet Race & Skandia Cowes Week '03), Peter de RIDDER'S BH41 Checkmate 3 (in its fourth RCC) and M. van der HEIJDEN'S HOD35 DaikIn Airco (a winner at RORC North Sea Race and the North Sea Regatta Super Cup).
Belgium enters the fray with Francois GOUBAU'S First 47.7 Moana, Bertrand STRUYTS First 40.7 Liesl and Breeze an ILC 30 owned by Christian MUYLS.
The RYA trials proved an extremely competitive affair, ending at the MeesPierson IRC Championships this past weekend. The level of preparedness across the board has given the selectors confidence to enter a full complement of four teams. Although each team is given equal billing, it is hard to ignore the compelling results of GBR Red, comprising Kit HOBDAY & Tim LOUIS' Farr 52 Bear of Britain (1st Overall MPIC), Jerry OTTER'S IMX 40 Exabyte II (3rd IRC1 MPIC) and the J-109 Jeronimo of Jonathan and Lisa GORING (1st IRC2 MPIC).
GBR Blue sees past RORC Commodore Peter RUTTER returning to Rolex Commodores' Cup competition in his Elan 37, Quokka. Rutter will undoubtedly be hoping it is third time lucky following on from his participation in 1998 and 2000. Joining him in GBR Blue is the IMX 40, Magnum II, owned by Andrew PEARCE who started his campaign for selection at last year's Rolex Fastnet Race and Nick HARTSHORN'S Ker 11.3 El Gringo.
Negotiations are underway for an eleventh team made up of yachts from Russia, Belgium and France. If this comes to fruition, it will be the first time an East European boat has competed at the event.
The Rolex Commodores' Cup will be held off Cowes, Isle of Wight, from 25 July to 1 August 2004.
Chris LITTLE the Commodore of RORC said: "I am delighted to see such a high quality entry for this Rolex Commodores' Cup which promises to live up to the competitive racing of previous events."