It is called the Rolex Invitational Cup (Sept. 7/14). It is held every two years in Newport (Rhode Island, USA). It is organized by the club that has won the most America’s Cup editions, the New York Yacht Club.
This year’s regatta, which for all intents and purposes can be considered the most exclusive regatta in the world, in addition to being a true world championship among the most prestigious yacht clubs around the world, has two major revolutionary innovations.
First. After ten years, the regatta will no longer be run with Club Swan 42s, but with new boats, the Mark Mills-designed, Melges-built IC 37s and North Sails-sailed.
The second major change is that the boats will no longer, as was the case with the Club Swan 42s, be yachts of private individuals provided by owners. The New York Yacht Club has made a monumental investment by purchasing as many as twenty IC 37 Melges that will be chartered by the participating teams directly from the Club.
Who will be responsible for making them identical to each other so that they compete on equal terms: equal boats really and then may the best man win. The NYYC’s investment is $6,800,000; the rental of each boat by the teams is $20,000 for participation in the race.
Teams will have to be strictly “Corinthian” i.e., non-professional. To put everyone on an equal footing and make it easier for crews to race, the new IC 37 Melges will have to have only three sails on board: mainsail jib and gennaker.
As the title of the regatta states, you can participate by invitation only. There are 20 yacht clubs invited and they are the world’s elite. Two Italians were invited: the Yacht Club Italiano and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. The most numerous, categorized by nation, are the Americans and British with three clubs while all other nations have only one invited club.