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Organisers from the Kalev Yacht Club and the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) have announced a change to the Notice of Race that will broaden participation in the 2021 ORC World Championship being held over 6-14 August 2021 in Tallinn, Estonia.

Currently, there are 120 entries from 14 countries that are divided into three classes, the largest turnout of entries at an ORC World Championship in five years since the 2016 ORC World Championship at the Royal Danish YC in Skovshoved, Denmark.

Due to this strong interest, organisers for the Tallinn Worlds have chosen to amend the Notice of Race to accommodate all existing and possibly even more entries since there is a capacity limit of 50 boats on each starting line. Currently, Class A has 7 entries, Class B has 38 entries, and Class C has 75 entries, and World Championship titles are awarded in each of these three classes.

The NOR change would allow organisers to divide a class that has at least 60 paid entries by 1 June into two groups within the same class. A plan for heat scoring, if needed for a class being raced in two groups, would be published on 15 July.

Having been the site of the 1980 Olympic Sailing events and with sailing and iceboating being major and very successful watersports activities here ever since, the City of Tallinn is a major supporter of the 2021 ORC World Championship, investing more than €800K in total in this and other sporting events taking place in Tallinn this year.

More here

Published in Offshore
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The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC), the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) are pleased to announce the next biennial ORC/IRC World Championship will be held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy. Dates for the event are to be 18-26 June 2022.

The event will be the second World Championship held using both of these two World Sailing-recognised international rating systems since this year’s event planned to be in the USA at New York Yacht Club had to be cancelled due to pandemic restrictions. The first combined ORC/IRC Worlds was held in 2018 in The Hague, Netherlands and attracted 85 yachts from 15 nations.

The choice of YCCS has been accepted and approved by the ORC Offshore Classes and Events Committee and the IRC Board, so now the planning of details may begin on the format, scoring and other topics once a Working Party is formed from members representing ORC, IRC, and YCCS.

As in previous planning for the combined Worlds, three full-crew classes segregated by size and speed will be competing for three World Champion titles. A Notice of Race is expected to be issued in mid-2021, about one year in advance of the start of racing.

Michael Illbruck, Commodore of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, said “We are extremely pleased and honoured to have been appointed to organize the 2022 ORC/IRC World Championship. We will use the two years at our disposal to work on all the details of the event, on both the sporting and social fronts. Watching this impressive and varied fleet competing on the waters of Sardinia will be thrilling!”

“We are looking forward to bringing a World Championship to the Mediterranean region after a 3-year absence,” said ORC Chairman Bruno Finzi. “We expect this to be a very popular regatta, with many participating teams not only from this region but also from around the world because Porto Cervo is widely recognized as being one of the world’s greatest sailing venues.”

“The RORC and our partners in IRC, Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL), are delighted that the second joint ORC/IRC World Championship is being held in the Mediterranean and being run by the YCCS,” said RORC Commodore Steven Anderson. “The YCCS has an excellent reputation for its management of yachting events and this championship will attract a world-class fleet of boats.”

Published in RORC
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The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) is highlighting the transparency of its rating system in advance of this year's AGM that will be conducted online.

Some Rating rule systems for yachts are often operated behind closed doors, with decisions and policies made without user input and rule formulations left unpublished to protect “rule integrity” and other such opaqueness. The underlying justification for this policy often lies in an imperious assumption that the rule makers know what’s best, with no formalised system of feedback to solicit input for improvements to the rules.

The promoters of ORC say this is not the case with its own technology rating, where, they say, the principles of transparency are practised each year at this time during the Annual Meeting. Submissions sent by users of the system through their national authority will be discussed in open committee sessions, with proposals and their rationales published in advance, as are the committee agendas, so that the public may observe and (at the discretion of the Chairman) also participate in the discussions.

This year the meetings of the ORC AGM are being held on ZOOM over Saturday, October 31 – Saturday, November 7, and members of the big boat sailing public are invited to observe by registering in advance at www.orc.org/meetings. Here the full schedule of committee meetings, their agendas and submissions are also published.

Once meeting minutes are created – usually within days – these too are published, along with approvals of changes made by the Congress. The new rules, policies and formulations are then published as soon as possible after January 1st in time for the new year’s racing season.

More on ORC here

Published in Racing
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The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) has announced its publication of the inaugural edition of the ORC Race Management Guide.

The 24-page manual “contains ideas learned from decades of successful race management experience in events that range from local club contests to world championships held all over the world”.

While written to assist race managers, the guide is also expected to be useful to owners and sailors for improving their understanding of how ORC’s science-based handicap rating system works in theory and practice.

“Every year we work with organisers of world and continental championships to maintain the highest standards for their events, and we thought it would be useful to gather what we have learned into this book,” said Hans-Eckhard ‘Ecky’ von der Mosel, who is based at Kieler Yacht Club in Germany, host of the 2014 ORC World Championship.

“We also realised we need to help those who are not at this level but also want to provide fair and fun racing to the sailors. It has taken some time, but we have this now completed and I am very happy with the results of all the work, and very thankful for the various input from all our colleagues and specialists.”

The comprehensive guide is divided into three broad categories — Event Structure, Scoring and Best Practices —and is focused on how these rules apply to racing with handicap ratings.

While it is not intended to train race managers on the basic skills of how to lay a course, start a race or implement course changes (as these skills are assumed), it should nonetheless be a useful reference for both new and experienced race managers to improve their game.

The guide is also expected to evolve in content along with the trends in the sport and as ORC rules and guidelines change, so as that new content will be added with new editions that are offered on a regular basis.

A simplified Quick Guide version is also anticipated for those race organisers who are brand new to ORC, and this will follow soon.

“A major role for ORC is not only developing accurate and transparent technical tools for fair racing,” said Bruno Finzi, chairman of ORC, “but also the guidance through experience on how best to use these tools.

“I congratulate Ecky, his committee and the Staff for working so hard to pull together this knowledge and express this in this important new book. We hope it is well-received in the racing community.”

The ORC Race Management Guide is available for download at www.orc.org/rules and more on ORC rating systems, ORC certificates and events can be found at www.orc.org

Published in Offshore
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Despite a strong entry list from the United States and abroad including Ireland, and the exhaustive efforts of the New York Yacht Club along with the governing bodies for the ORC and IRC rating rules, the decision has been made to cancel the 2020 ORC/IRC World Championships, originally scheduled for Sept. 25 to Oct. 3 at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I.

As Afloat previously reported, at least two Irish Sea campaigns were scheduled for the championships. Former ISORA champion J109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox) was making the trip to the Big Apple and a second ISORA contender, Andrew Hall's Jackhammer, a J121, was also slated.

"The impact of the coronavirus has been felt throughout the sporting world," said Christopher J. Culver, Vice Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. "Given the challenges involved with shipping boats and teams to the United States from Europe and elsewhere and the lead time required for foreign teams to make a competitive run at this prestigious world title, we don't feel that a representative world championship is possible."

The 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship was to bring top sailing teams from around the globe to battle on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay for one of three coveted world titles. The regatta would've been scored using a combination of the two most popular rating rules in the sport, ORC and IRC, and racing would've been a mix of around-the-buoys racing and longer, offshore courses.

The 2020 World Championships would've been the first time this regatta was held in the United States in two decades, and early interest exceeded expectations, with 50 boats from eight countries registering for the regatta before the COVID-19 pandemic put the sailing season in doubt.

"We are thankful to the organizers at the New York Yacht Club for all their efforts to attract a strong fleet to what would have been a memorable event,” said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC. "This enthusiasm for high-level handicap racing we hope will continue in the US, and we look forward to being supportive in any way we can in the post-pandemic times ahead.”

"We are saddened to announce the cancellation of the ORC/IRC World Championships, long planned to be held in late September 2020 at the Newport base of the New York Yacht Club," said Michael Boyd, IRC Congress Chairman. "A large number of owners and crews will be very disappointed by our news, but will understand the many challenges posed by COVID-19 to the resumption of our sport, especially at the international level. We have also been conscious of the necessity to make a decision well in advance of the event.

"For some time, we have worked with a dedicated New York Yacht Club team and our ORC counterparts to ensure a memorable regatta, and we thank them for their professionalism and friendship. We were particularly enthusiastic about holding our joint Worlds in North America and in such a special location. We all look forward to the return of IRC yachts to race courses in North America and to getting together in Newport in more favourable times."

While the ORC/IRC World Championships was to be the penultimate event on the New York Yacht Club's 2020 sailing calendar, the Club remains hopeful it will be able to hold a handful of events during the second half of the summer and into the early fall. For the most up-to-date schedule and current regatta information, please visit the Club's website.

Published in ICRA
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The 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship will be held September 25 to October 3, 2020, at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I but it is not known if any Irish boats are planning to compete.

As Afloat previously reported, the event will feature up to 100 teams from throughout the United States and beyond competing in three classes for three World Champion titles. Racing will be on both inshore courses and offshore races and will use the world's two most popular measurement-based rating systems recognized by World Sailing: IRC and ORC.

A single Irish boat competed at the 2018 Offshore Championships in the Hague in Holland where Waterford Harbour's Fools Gold flew the flag for Irish IRC interests. It remains to be seen if any Irish campaigns will venture across the pond next October but the fact that the double Commodore's Cup-winning captain Anthony O'Leary found the Newport race track so fruitful recently might just encourage further Irish interest in 12 months time. O'Leary's Royal Cork Yacht Club crew took bronze at New York Invitational Cup a month ago in a new Irish designed IRC boat that was tipped recently for success by Irish Olympic helm Mark Mansfield.

Against that, IRC Chief Michael Boyd confirmed this week that the 2020 IRC European Championships will sail this year at Cork Week in July so it is not clear if any Irish skipper will have an appetite for both.

The conventional wisdom says the sailing season in the Northeastern United States ends with the Labor Day holiday, celebrated the first Monday in September. But the locals will tell you that September and October are the best months of the year in Rhode Island and ideal for top-level sailing. Regattas held in Newport around the fall solstice usually bring a testing variety of wind and weather conditions coupled with temperate evenings perfect for post-race socializing. The absence of summer crowds makes this historic resort town that much more accessible and welcoming.

The 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship will bring top sailing teams from around the globe to battle on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay for one of three coveted world titles. It's the first time in two decades this regatta, which will be held at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court from September 25 to October 3, 2020, has been held in North America. Entries will open on Friday, October 25.

"We're extremely excited for next year's ORC/IRC World Championship," said Patricia Young, the event chair and a passionate sailor who is often found racing on her Tripp 41 Entropy. "We recognize that it's a big commitment to ship a boat from Europe, or further abroad, for this regatta. But Newport and the New York Yacht Club will reward anyone who puts in the effort with one of the best regatta experiences of their lives."

Because each of the three divisions is limited to 50 boats, there is a strong incentive to sign up early. The first 30 boats that register for each class will be guaranteed a spot in the regatta. Beyond that initial group, a selection process may be required if there are more than 50 total entries for any class. The division of classes is determined by CDL (Class Division Length) limits defined in the Notice of Race.

Class A will have the fastest boats in the fleet, from about 45 to 55 feet in length, with TP52s being among the fastest boats allowed to enter. Already there are preparation plans amongst boats in this fleet to optimize for the 2020 Worlds, and at least one new boat is being built now to compete in this class.

Close racing in Class B at the 2018 Hague Offshore Worlds © Sander van der Borch

Class B is typically composed of mid-sized boats from 39 to 44 feet in length. A ClubSwan 42, a class created by the New York Yacht Club in 2006, won Class B at the D-Marin ORC World Championship in Croatia in June.

Class C has been the most popular and competitive class at world championship events held in Europe the past few years. Boat types that compete in this class are typically production racer/cruisers, such as the J/112E from, the Netherlands that won Class B at the 2018 ORC/IRC World Championship in The Hague and Class 3 at the IRC Europeans in Cowes, UK. Small fast sportboats, such as GP26s, C&C 30s and other nimble designs, may also enter this class.

Besides 2020 World Champion titles, the event will also award for each class trophies for the top Corinthian team and the top team competing in a boat designed before 2010.

The 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship will include a mix of buoy racing and offshore courses, and use two of the world's most popular systems for rating boats, IRC and ORC. The exact scoring methodology will be confirmed shortly, but both rating systems will play a significant role.

"We're very excited to return to the U.S. with a World Championship after such a long absence," said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC). "Newport and the New York Yacht Club are the perfect venues, and the interest we have had from teams here in Europe who wish to attend has been strong. We look forward to seeing the best of the U.S. and the best of the rest of the world come to race in Newport."

"Newport and the New York Yacht Club will provide a tremendous backdrop for the second combined World Championship of IRC and ORC," said Michael Boyd, IRC Congress Chairman. "Moving the championships around the world, from Europe in 2018 to now the United States in 2020, shows the truly international reach of our rating systems. We can't wait to see the broad range of sailing talent from around the world compete for this prestigious event at this esteemed venue."

Purchased by the New York Yacht Club in 1988, Harbour Court has become one of the preeminent regatta hosts in the United States. Recent events hosted by the Club include the historic J Class World Championship in 2017 along with world championship regattas for the Etchells, J/70s and Farr 40s. A 2020 summer schedule that includes the 166th Annual Regatta and the 2020 Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex will provide plenty of opportunity for visiting teams to become familiar with the local conditions and enjoy a full summer of sailing in Newport.

The stunning grounds of this 115-year-old clubhouse are perfect for entertaining regatta guests and VIPs after racing and provide one of the most spectacular views of Newport Harbor. The Club's location in Brenton Cove is in close proximity to a full suite of maritime services and diverse lodging options and provides sailors with quick access to the racecourse.

Entries open on Friday. 

Published in ICRA
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The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) working in cooperation with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and Union National Course au Large (UNCL), founding partners of the IRC rating system, are pleased to announce the approval of the New York Yacht Club to host the 2020 IRC/ORC World Championship in Newport, Rhode Island, USA.

This will be the first World Championship for offshore boats held in the United States since the IMS World Championship in 2000, also hosted by the New York Yacht Club.

“We are very pleased to work once again with RORC to plan this important event on the offshore sailing calendar,” said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC. “It has been too long since we have been away from the U.S., where US Sailing was one of our founding members when ORC was formed in 1969.”

The proposed dates are 25 September – 3 October 2020, subject to slight modifications pending review by a Working Party formed by members representing all three partners to start on the detailed planning.

“Our experience in The Hague for the first edition of the IRC/ORC World Championship this year was positive on many levels,” said Steven Anderson, Commodore of RORC, “There is a strong desire to continue this cooperative momentum towards the future. We have agreed that IRC and ORC will work with each other to approve and plan these Worlds events every two years so that our sailors may also plan to put this on their calendars as well.”

“Offshore sailing is part of the DNA of the New York Yacht Club," said Commodore Philip A. Lotz. "Our waterfront clubhouse at Harbour Court combined with Newport's tremendous sailing conditions and extensive marine infrastructure, provide what we feel is one of the greatest venues for offshore racing. The Club is very excited to welcome the world to our hometown for the 2020 IRC/ORC World Championship."

The typical format of the combined Worlds has been 2 to 3 offshore or coastal races, followed by 6 to 7 inshore races. Racing will be in three classes defined by the size and rated speeds of the boats, and all-amateur Corinthian prizes will be offered in each class. ORC and IRC ratings will be used to score the racing, however the Working Party will make the final determination on how when a Notice of Race is issued for the event in 2019.

Published in RORC
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Sailing forums have seen exchanges in recent days about the relative global coverage of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s (RORC) measurement system - the International Rating Certificate (IRC) - and the Offshore Racing Congress’s (ORC) Offshore Rating Certificate.

Dobbs Davis (US), the Chairman of the ORC’s Promotions & Development Committee, and Zoran Grubisa (Croatia), who heads the organisation’s Rating Officer Committee, were in Limerick three weeks ago at the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA) Annual Conference to make a presentation about their measurement organisation, its methods systems, and its level of world coverage. 

This made available yet another fascinating nugget of top-level information for a wide-ranging conference which reflected the considerable influence the ICRA model has in international racing for boats with lids. And at the same time it ensured a good turnout to applaud the ICRA Boat of the Year title going to George Sisk’s WOW from Dun Laoghaire, and to witness the transfer of the role of ICRA Commodore from Nobby Reilly of Howth to Simon McGibney of Foynes. It’s the first time that ICRA has had a Commodore from the western seaboard since its foundation by Fintan Cairns of Dun Laoghaire and the late Jim Donegan of Cork in 2002.

Afloat.ie’s W M Nixon was in Limerick to take the pulse of this unique body, and his commentary in Sailing on Saturday of 12th March ruffled more than a few feathers, and greatly heightened interest in the RORC’s global programme, which has its European section swinging into action this weekend with the Easter Challenge on the Solent.

Who knows, but some time in the future it may be that Rory Staunton of Mayo Sailing Club will be remembered as the man who finally got the IRC and the ORC to get together by crisply pointing out - at the end of Dobbs Davis’s presentation to the ICRA conference - that as far as ordinary sailors were concerned, when IRC and ORC were both used in one event, the results often seemed very comparable. And while it was no harm some times to have two sets of winners (and even more if you include ICRA’s own Progressive ECHO system), at the top international level it only makes sense to Joe Public to have one undisputed winner in each class.

For the world promotion of offshore racing, the optics would surely be much better if everyone was racing to the same rating system? But it will take a while yet to reach this happy situation, for at the moment the ORC and the IRC appear to be in active competition, and regular visitors to the Afloat.ie website will be well aware that some very powerful voices have weighed in on the RORC/IRC side recently, going so far as to question the accuracy of the fleet numbers made in some ORC claims, and pointing to the IRC’s current areas of rapid expansion in southeast Asia and other regions.

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Neil Pryde’s characterful Welbourn 52 Hi Fi won the Rolex RORC China Sea Race in 2012 and 2014

But actions speak louder than words, and this week sees the RORC hyper-busy in the Pacific with the biennial Rolex China Sea Race of 595 miles from Hong Kong to Manila in the Philippines, while on the eastern fringes of the Atlantic in the Solent at Cowes, there’s the annual Easter Challenge, an event with an approved integral training emphasis, as top coach Jim Saltonstall and his team will be buzzing through the fleet in their RIBs giving advice to those who have sought it.

With the Easter weekend’s all-too-evident weather deterioration in progress, it’s likely that yesterday will have given the fleet of fifty or so their pleasantest sailing conditions. But with the RORC secretariat decamped for the long weekend from world headquarters in St James’s in London to the club’s waterfront base in the Royal Corinthian YC in Cowes, a sense of being able to go home at the end of a hard day’s racing will ease the harshness of the conditions.

On the other hand, the fact that the RORC now has a bricks-and-mortar Cowes base in what was once the legendary Rosa Lewis’s “seaside cottage” will provide ammunition for those who would claim that the RORC, and the IRC with it, have essentially become a Solent-centric setup. Thus the fact that the Rolex China Sea Race under the RORC imprimatur is taking place at the same time is very helpful indeed for those who would promote IRC as the world’s measurement system.

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The nice little place by the seaside…..The Royal Corinthian YC in Cowes – a byword for hospitality – is now the RORC’s Solent base

In times past, leading Irish skippers with a Hong Kong base such as Paul Winkelmann and Jamie McWilliam have featured in the China Sea Race, for it has a history as a biennial event going back to 1962, when three yachts – one each from Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan – raced this decidedly disputed bit of water. The situation was such that a naval vessel from Hong Kong accompanied them for the first two hundred miles, and then a hundred miles out from Manila, they were met by a ship from the Philipinnes navy.

The line honours and handicap winner was Chris von Sydow’s yawl Reverie, one of those classic American-style yawls of the Finisterre type which were being widely built in the region at the time, mostly for export. They were guaranteed as teak through and through, for as one sardonic observer put it, the wonderwood was so abundant out there in those days that if the team in the boatyard felt like a brew-up of tea, they’d boil their kettle on a little fire made with teak kindling.

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The winner of the first China Sea Race in 1962 was Chris von Sydow’s yawl Reverie

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A trophy to match. Only a race right across the China Sea would merit a prize like this

Reverie’s time was four days 11 hours and 29 minutes, and she got the very distinctive China Sea Trophy, which is of such a style it just couldn’t be the prize for any other major offshore race. Gradually the numbers built up as it became an established biennial event, in 1972 the RORC came aboard as partners, and it hasn’t looked back since. There’s been some spectacular sailings, the record being set in 2000 by Karl Kwok’s Open 60 Beau Geste, which cracked the two day barrier by coming in on 47 hours and 43 minutes, just 17 minutes maybe, but it was 17 minutes the right way.

The races of 2012 and 2014 were won by Neil Pryde’s rather special Hugh Welbourn-designed 52 footer Hi Fi, but she’s not in this year’s fleet which got under way on Wednesday and has the front runners well in already, though only after a start in miserable conditions which improved in terms of sailing power to have a 28-knot nor’easter building in a monsoon. This made the going good the further you were down the course, but yesterday the little fellows at the tail end were taking a bit of a pasting.

Line honours were taken yesterday (Friday) evening by Australian Philip Turner’s Reichel Pugh 66 Alive, which covered 244 nm in the final 24 hours to set a new course record, though just 11 minutes inside Beau Geste’s remarkable 2000 time – who’d have thought it would stand for sixteen years? Overall on handicap, Alive currently also has it every which way, but things are also looking good for the Ker 42 Black Baza (Anthony Root).

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Cutting it close. Anthony O’Leary’s Antix in a neat-enough port-and-starboard situation with the even newer Ker 40 Invictus

Conditions in Manila may not be idyllic, but at least they’re a bit warmer than the Solent this morning with a succession of fronts set to sweep through for much of he remainder of the Easter Holiday. Irish interest is high as Anthony O’Leary’s Munster-red Ker 40 Antix is defending champion, and the skipper was in fine form in Thursday as he outlined prospects and talked us through some of the usual suspects who will be sailing on this very attractive boat.

Following his accident while racing Antix in ferocious conditions last July, it’s great news that Dylan Gannon of Howth is back on the strength, along with his shipmate Ross MacDonald who had a truly prodigious season in 2015, playing a leading role in crewing Antix while at the same time campaigning his family’s veteran X332 Equinox to such good effect that he was top boat at the ICRA Nats in Kinsale.

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Back on the strength. Dylan Gannon (left) and Ross MacDonald are both sailing on Antix his weekend. Photo: W M Nixon

Two new additions to the Antix strength are Will Byrne from Howth, who was recently making the scene with Half Ton Classics World Champion Dave Cullen and the gang in the C & C 30 championship in Florida in January, and young Cian Guilfoyle from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, who leapt to fame as the third man aboard the J/80 when Anthony O’Leary retained the Helmsman’s Championship of Ireland by a considerable margin at the NYC in October, with longtime shipmate Dan O’Grady the man in the middle.

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Cian Guilfoyle maximising his righting moment while crewing for Anthony O’Leary in the victory in the Helmsmans Championship, October 2015. Photo: David O’Brien

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Winning team. Cian Guilfoyle, Dan O’Grady and Anthony O’Leary in the NYC after winning the Helmsmans Championshjp 2015. This weekend, Guilfoyle has joined the crew of Antix. Photo: W M Nixon

The other top Irish contender in the RORC Easter Challenge is also from Cork, Conor Phelan’s Ker 36 (or is she a 37) Jump Juice of 2008 vintage. This makes her something of a veteran but she’s by no means the oldest boat competing, as one doughty skipper has turned up with a Mumm 36, which is like a bit of living history. Yet she’s in with as much of a shout as anyone else if the IRC is doing its work properly, which seems to be where we came in…….

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Back in the day…….the new Ker 36 Jump Juice makes her debut in 2008

But we cannot depart without musing on the makeup of this year’s Brewin Dolphin Commodore’s Cup team which will be defending for Ireland. As other people get agitated about the lack of heads above the parapet to indicate the beginnings of a buildup, Anthony O’Leary is reassuringly philosophical about the whole business.

He is of course very much up for it with Antix, and he’s well aware that there’s another good possibility with RORC Commodore Michael Boyd (Royal Irish YC) in line to be campaigning the works JPK 1080 as the season gets going, and of course the JPK 1080 is the boat du jour. As for a third boat, if Jump Juice is reluctant to make the commitment, they’ll be on the lookout for a boat rating 1.049 or above.

But it’s early days yet. As O’Leary recalls with quiet amusement, in assembling the 2014 team from scratch and the non-defence of 2012, he refused to let himself think that the new Ker 40 Catapult was a certainty until he actually saw her unloaded from a ship from America onto a quayside in Europe.

Yet she arrived on time. But it was the Steady Eddy of the team, the Grand Soleile 43 Quokka 8, which ended up causing the most concern. Her charter had been firmly in place since November 2013, but then there came a complete foul-up with delivery schedules back from campaigning in the Caribbean. It was more than a rush to have Quokka race ready for the preliminary jousting in Volvo Cork Week in July 2014. But not to worry. She ended up as champion in Cork Week, and made a solid contribution to the Commodore’s Cup win in which Catapult (which has since become Antix) was top-scoring individual boat.

Published in W M Nixon

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in London says a 'correction is needed' over information contained in an article following an ORC presentation at the ICRA Conference in Limerick, a week ago. Michael Boyd, the Commodore of RORC, says the offshore body 'read with interest', and 'some confusion', the press release by the ORC. Boyd says he feels 'very strongly' that information put forward by Dobbs Davis, Chairman of ORC’s Promotion and Development Committee, 'needs correcting'.

In a statement issued by RORC, who administer the rival IRC system, the club says: 

First, the numbers presented are wrong. Dobbs quotes the number of ORC certificates in total up until the end of the year, but only quotes the number of boats in IRC until the end of August of 2015. These are very different figures. Dobbs quotes 4958 for IRC in 2015 but the real number of certificates for the whole year is 7721. That makes the graph look very different and makes IRC the largest individual system in 2015 with ORC Club behind it at 7404 and ORCi trailing at 2492.

It should also be noted that both IRC and ORC are International Rating Systems recognised by World Sailing and IRC is currently in discussions with World Sailing about having its own World Championship. Rather than having two world championships for offshore boats, we are supporting the WS initiative to have one jointly scored IRC/ORC world championship which will allow the event to travel to other continents.

IRC is expanding with new territories in India and Taiwan, growth in Japan and China and very encouraging numbers for the start of the year from many Northern European countries.

IRC is also flexible and not limited to using time-on-time scoring - as has also been suggested. A simple time-on-distance calculation can be applied to create a time-on-distance value, should race organisers want to use it. Similarly, crew number or crew weight can be applied depending on the race organiser’s needs and wishes.

IRC is doing a great job for our sport – you only have to look at the style of boats that have developed since the demise of IMS (the basis of ORC) to understand that IRC is a progressive rule – with the latest generation of boats being fast, safe and fun to sail. Our goal is to ensure that we provide a first class service and develop a product that is constantly evolving to make sure that racing under IRC is as fair as is possible.

- Michael Boyd, Commodore, ROYAL OCEAN RACING CLUB

Published in RORC

At the annual meeting of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) in Limerick last weekend, past president Norbert Reilly invited representatives from the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) to address the assembled crowd of over 60 delegates on features of ORC’s rating systems. Here the ORC's Dobbs Davis gives an overview of the Irish presentation.

The interest from ICRA is in response to the recent growth and popularity the ORC system has seen in recent years around the world: the system issued over 10,000 certificates in 2015 in some 40 countries, has been growing yearly while other international systems are struggling, and yet its not in use at all in Ireland.

What the delegates saw was a presentation on the history of the organisation, which goes back over 40 years into the IOR era, over a decade in IMS, and is now emerged as an improved and accessible science-based system suited for a wide variety of boat types that generates three distinct styles of rating certificates: ORC Club, ORC International, and ORC Superyacht. Of the 15,000 measurement-based certificates issued around the world, two-thirds are issued by ORC in one of these three formats.

ORC - IRC trends 2006 - 2015

A plot of the growth of ORC contrasted to IRC in the last 10 years

There are five salient features of the system: that it is objective and science-based, it is open and transparent to use, it is accessible online, it is flexible with a variety of scoring styles suited for different types of racing, and that its affordable.

The objectivity comes from use of a sophisticated Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) which through input of measurements of a boat’s hull and appendage profiles, its rig and sail dimensions and other inputs, can calculate the boat’s theoretical speed in a variety of conditions of wind speed and wind angles. To remain relevant to modern designs and improve the methods used in the VPP calculations, it is developed continuously by experts on the International Technical Committee (ITC), which includes talent such as Andy Claughton from the Wolfson Unit at Univ. of Southampton (and now the BAR AC programme), designers Jason Ker, Shaun Carkeek, and others from Farr Yacht Design, Judel/Vrolijk and others.

In fact, the ITC is meeting soon in Annapolis USA to discuss improvements in a variety of areas in response to inquiries from users. This is an important feedback loop that ORC has to continually seek to improve the accuracy of its system. The ORC VPP and its rules are not secret, and are available for download at the ORC website (www.orc.org).

Because the system is open and transparent, ORC has worked hard to make it as accessible as possible to its users. All valid ORC Club and ORCi certificates issued since 2009 are available from ORC’s unique portal to its rating system, the ORC Sailor Services. After registering for a free log-in credential, anyone can access these certificates for free, as well as some 88,000 measurement records that date back 20 years into the IMS era. The searchable database can be used to research the measurements and ratings for any boat in the system, run a test certificate on the current ORC VPP, run a Speed Guide report of the polar performance of the boat or a Target Speed report of the boat’s polar speed targets on a windward-leeward course.

The system also has an edit function that allows a boat’s measurements sails, spars, or crew weight to be changed so that test certificates can be run to explore the effects of these changes on rating. Test certificates are not valid for racing, but can give the user insight on how to optimise their boat for performance…most systems discourage this with limits and high costs placed on test certificates, but ORC’s open approach allows this to better educate its users on their set-up options.

Because the “rating” for a boat is in fact a matrix of speed values generated by the VPP, ORC’s scoring options are varied for use by race organisers: they can be very simple, where all wind angle and wind speed predictions are condensed into a single number, or quite complex, where inputs of wind angle and course length are used to model the boat’s speed around the course, and their corrected time is calculated based on their relative performance to their competitors on this course.

There is also a hybrid approach, called Triple Number, where for either an inshore or offshore course the ratings are expressed as a function of Light, Medium or Heavy wind speeds. This is a very common scoring style used in ORC Club fleets.

Because ORC uses numerous measurements of a boat’s hull, rig and sails, and there are a variety of scoring options available for race managers, there is less tendency for type-forming rating bias in specific designs such as seen in other single-number systems. This allows the system to be more fair across a wide spectrum of boat types and styles, and the test fleet used to evaluate the system is comprised of some 1500 different designs. It’s thus less relevant to label a boat as being “an ORC design” like is typically seen in other systems.

Proof of this can be seen in the results of the highest-level ORC Championships, the Worlds and the Europeans: recent podium finishers have been not only top-level pro teams sailing on full-race boat types, like TP 52’s, GP 42’s, etc, but well-prepared teams racing production dual-purpose designs as well, such as Swan 42’s, Swan 45’s, X-41’s, X-37’s, etc. The racing at ORC championships is popular – over 100 entries from over 20 countries in the last 5 years at the Worlds – and its close: races are often won and lost by mere seconds in corrected time.

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The ORC 2015 World Championships off Barcelona

This year’s ORC World Championship will be in Copenhagen at the Royal Danish YC over July 15-23, and the ORC European Championship will be over July 3-10 in Porto Carras, Greece. There are already 130 entries are signed up for the Worlds, which promises to be another great week of inshore and offshore racing.

The ease and affordability of ORC certificates is determined by the policies and prices set by national rating offices, who are not centrally controlled but have all the tools needed to generate their own ORC certificates for their local customers.

Response to the talk on ORC was generally well-received by the ICRA audience, with particular interest from the fleet in Dublin Bay to try some ORC Club certificates and look at some dual-scoring exercises in the coming season. The attraction expressed to use of ORC is being able to have multiple scoring options to differentiate more fairly across varied boat types in the same race, and the general openness and objectivity of the system.

Dobbs Davis is ORC Media Consultant

Read also: Crazy But It Works: ICRA's Success Is a Highlight of Irish Sailing Scene

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