GERMANY: The holders. Benefiting from strong internal competition. Karol Jablonski and America's Cup tactician John Kostecki drive the big boat, Pinta; gold medallist Jochen Schumann skippers the 40, Anemos, while Thomas Friese's Mumm 36 has Nils Springer and imports Glenn Bourke of Australia.
HONG KONG: More than just waving the flag, and with one of the best-prepared 36s. Keith Jacobs charters the big boat, Bimblegumbie, second in both the 1993 and 1994 Sydney-Hobart races. The 40 is Beau Geste and the Mumm 36, Corum is skippered by sailmaker Neil Pryde.
IRELAND: Always capable of producing a wild card, all the boats will be called Jameson. J1 is the American 48-footer Falcon and the 40, J2, is Thomas Freise's old Omen, skippered by Gordon Maguire. Tom McWilliam takes charge of J3, the Mumm 36 usually campaigned as Noddy.
ITALY: No apparent weaknesses. Capricorno, Rinaldi del Bono's new big boat has as tactician America's Cup skipper Rod Davis and British navigator Derek Clark. On the very fast Brava Q8 is helmsman Francesco de Angelis and Dennis Conner's sidekick Paul Cayard, while Mumm a Mia! has the currently hot combination of Britain's Eddie Warden Owen and principal helmsman Tommaso Chieffi.
SCANDINAVIA: Denmark, Norway and Sweden provide a boat each. Dutchman Peter de Ridder's big boat Mean Machine, skippered by Denmark's Jens Christensen, has looked fast at times. The 40, Fram XII, is owned and skippered by King Harald of Norway and the Mumm 36 is Skandia, skippered by Sweden's Gunnar Krantz.
SOUTH AFRICA: Back after a 20-year break, they are happy just be on track. Sansui sponsors all three, though Ellian Perch is now seeking to change the 40-footer. The big boat is skippered by Geoff Meek. Rick Garratt's Mumm 36 raced as Ballyhoo Too in the recent world championship, winning one race on the last day.
GREAT BRITAIN: Could spring some surprises. Attracted late additional sponsorship from Group 4, whose Mumm 36 had already won its place. The mid-boat, Group 4 Seahorse Astro, looks to Harold Cudmore for experience and the new generation of Andy Beadsworth and Adrian Stead to spark again with some of the verve they showed in 1993.
UNITED STATES: In determined mood. The big boat, Blue Yankee, has offshore talent from Whitbread winner Ross Field, and local knowledge from Lawrie Smith and tactician David Howlett. The 40, David Clarke's Pig in Space, is meticulously prepared and has the talented Kenny Read on the helm, while the Mumm 36, No Problem, has an all-star cast.
27 July: Two inshore races. 28 July: 200-mile offshore Channel race. 31 July: Two inshore races. 1 Aug: Two inshore races. 3 Aug: Long inshore race. 5 Aug: Fastnet, 605-miles offshore race.
THE SCORING SYSTEM
The team with the lowest score at the end of the Fastnet Race wins. The winner of each of the three classes in the inshore races scores 0.75pt, second 2pts, through to the last, which scores 8pts. Points for the offshore Channel Race are multiplied by 2.5. Points for the Fastnet Race are multiplied by 4.5. No races can be discarded.Reuse content