Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal, West Coast
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Ratings: ORCI versus IRC
We raced & cruised a J/130 for many years - in the right breeze on the right course it had few peers but it certainly wasn't optimised for IRC out of the factory, which could get frustrating in mixed fleet club racing.
J boats got better clued onto IRC in the last 10 years (catching up to X yachts) - especially for lighter wind conditions when asymetric kites/retractable bowsprits on cruiser-racers over 10 metres had struggled to keep ahead (on time) on the downwind legs.
Asym kites have become more common place now but many of those newer boats / one-offs are also optimised better for IRC. ....
What about ORCI in US?
In Europe it is winning rapidly acceptance over IRC. On the Sydney-Hobart race the number of boats racing on ORCI is becoming bigger each year. They have made in 2011 some interesting comparisons between the two rating systems:
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011 ORCi versus IRC as handicap rule :
With the introduction of the ORCi, offered by the Offshore Racing Council (ORC) as the replacement for IMS, a number of owners (amongst those Syd Fischer) have been in recent years expressing their preference for a measured, transparent rating rule. ...
It seems the number of boats entered under ORCi is slowly but surely growing, with 38 boats this year ticking both IRC and ORCi options.
The winner of the Sydney Hobart race has won in both IRC and ORC although they are two fundamentally different systems. It will be interesting to compare the two sets of results at the end of this year’s race.
We talked to Matt Allen pre-Hobart about the two rules.
He explained ‘ORCi addresses stability issues where IRC doesn’t. The ORCi stability index is derived from the old IMS stability index which is something that we all know and trust in a comprehensive fashion. It’s used today to determine whether boats meet the stability requires for the Hobart race.
‘ORCi is a transparent rule while IRC is not. There are pros and cons for each rule.
‘I think also measuring the stability is a good thing as long as stability is encouraged. We don’t want to go back to sailing tippy boats. IMS, people thought it was in some respects a good rule but didn’t encourage boats to be stable and didn’t move with the times and possibly didn’t encourage boats to be quick as much as one might have wanted them to be.
‘I think IRC encouraged quick boats at 50 foot plus and has traditionally not encouraged boats under 50 feet or under 45 feet to be all that fast.
‘There is a comment from a lot of countries where they believe that the racer cruiser is more fairly treated in ORCi than IRC.
'They tend to think that some production boats do well under IRC while other brands do not seem to be nearly as well handicapped. Under ORCi they are possibly more evenly treated. ....
Dobbs Davis from the Offshore Rating Council commented ‘ORC seems to be doing a better job across a broader range of boat types than some of the other rating rules. ...
‘Back in the days of IMS in the late 90s and early 2000s the measurement of stability was there but it was not accurately modelled in the performance of the VPP so the designers have worked around it.
‘That's been gone since 2007 when the ORC invested heavily in better analysis to produce much more accurate results.
‘Under ORCi Fast boats do fine and slow boats do fine. That's the challenge of all these rules, to make them work across the range of boat types. It is a challenge for sure but based on the results that we saw from the recent World Championships where we had 119 boats from 16 countries and in which we had that broad range of boat types, it seems to be working and it seems to be fair.
‘It’s a scientific based system with no politics, no guessing. The rule is downloadable.
‘Boats are entering ORCi because they get a certificate anyway to get the stability.
Sail-World.com : Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011 ORCi versus IRC as handicap rule
and how about a single world rating system?
The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and Union Nationale pour La Course au
Large (UNCL), joint owners of the IRC rating rule, have been in discussion with the
Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) about the possibility of creating a unified
organisation to govern yacht ratings worldwide. This initiative to bring the world
offshore rating systems together was endorsed by ISAF following its AGM in 2009 in
The intention is for RORC/UNCL and ORC to create a joint venture company which
would run the existing rules, IRC and ORC and then in time, using the combined
knowledge and resources, evolve new rating systems that combine the benefits of
IRC and ORC to create fast, fun and seaworthy boats for unified competition all over
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Last edited by PCP; 03-25-2013 at 08:50 PM.