So once again, Bermuda International Invitational Race Week sponsored by Bacardi is shaping up to be a keenly contested affair in the IOD Class. The event, which starts on 23 April with registration and the welcoming party at Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, will continue through until the prize giving on the evening of 29 April.
Racing will consist of between nine and fourteen races in the Great Sound. Of the fourteen IOD skippers invited to Bermuda, six will be new to the event while the remaining eight have participated in past race weeks. Geographically, there will be participants from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Norway and Bermuda.
Some other top sailors are among the other entries. Former Bermuda Race winner and perpetual participant is Jan Petter ROED from Norway who is hoping to rekindle the magic that won him the title some years ago.
Tony HUSTON, a veteran here who has the distinction of having sunk an International Etchells in the Great Sound during his last visit for Race Week, will represent the Long Island Sound IOD fleet. Scott Redman from North East Harbor, Maine IOD fleet has participated many times and is keen to add his name to the trophy.
Giles PECKHAM the Daring fleet champion of Cowes, Great Britain, is returning to see if he can win this event. He will certainly be in the hunt.
The Bermuda IOD fleet will have three representatives, headed by Jordy WALKER a former Gold Cup and Bermuda Race Winner. Last year he won the second series in the IOD event.
Bob DUFFY, the current world IOD President and veteran of Race Week, will also be representing the Bermuda fleet along with Alan POWELL. This will be Alan's first time in IOD's, having previously sailed in Tornado's. He has also skippered Elizabeth, the Bermuda Fitted Dinghy, for the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club in the summer classic races.
There will be an experienced and quality group of rookies for the event. From the San Francisco IOD fleet is Paul MANNING. If the wind blows bay style, he could do very well.
Ian McNEICE is the Nantucket IOD fleet representative and comes with the reputation of being a fierce competitor and skilful sailor. An emerging IOD fleet in Falmouth, Great Britain has John BINGHAM skippering for the event. This will be a great learning experience for him. The Beverly Yacht Club Shields fleet is sending their National champion Jon POPE. This is a welcome return of their participation.
Our final newcomer is Wick McNEELY, who is the Canadian Bluenose champion. He will have an experience crew with him and is looking forward to the competition. All will find a warm welcome from Bermuda and from the host Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
Inaugurated by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in 1952, Bermuda International Invitational Race Week, sponsored by Bacardi for the past seven years, has become an established international yachting fixture each spring - attracting the top skippers from many countries.
All classes with an active local racing program in Bermuda may invite international sailors to participate in the 2005 Bermuda International Invitational Race Week sponsored by Bacardi. International participation is required for a fleet to compete.
Keelboat classes invited for 2005 Bermuda International Invitational Race week sponsored by Bacardi include International Etchells, International One Design (IOD), J24, and J105, which will sail on Bermuda's Great Sound. The dinghy classes invited are Laser, 505, Snipe and Comets. They will sail out of the Spanish Point Boat Club in waters nearby.