Harken Derm

ABC’s of ORC Handicap Racing System

Published on June 16th, 2016

The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) has now published a new ORC Guidebook that explains the ORC system of handicap racing. This 20-page guide gives an overview of the principal features of this World Sailing-recognized international rating system that is in use in over 40 countries around the world on boats that range in size from sport boats to Superyachts.

Among the topics explained are the importance of science and measurement, the power of the ORC’s VPP, the accuracy and flexibility of offering multiple scoring options, and the importance of openness and rule transparency. The different pathways to obtaining an ORC International or ORC Club certificate are also explained, with descriptions given of the valuable information found on each ORC certificate.

ORC’s unique web-based Sailor Services portal allowing self-service public access to the ORC system is also explained: this is found on the ORC’s website after a free registration process to create a log-in to the system. Within Sailor Services, the user can search for any certificate issued by any ORC rating office among thousands of boat types in some 90,000 measurement records.

Also within Sailor Services, for a nominal fee, edits made to a measurement record can be used to run test certificates to explore the rating effects of changes in parameters such as sails, rig dimensions, or crew weight; polar performance data can be generated in an ORC Speed Guide; or Target Speeds for windward-leeward racing can be produced from any existing valid or test certificate.

Besides developing and improving its science-based system, ORC has also had a long history in setting strict standards for its annual international and continental championship events. The system is put to the ultimate test each year at the World Sailing-sanctioned ORC World Championship, where over 100 top-level teams and club racers from around the world come together to compete for a week of inshore and offshore racing.

“Since 1969, ORC has been dedicated to providing a professionally managed system of measurement and rating rule development for the big-boat racing community,” said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC. “Our team has been working very hard to ensure there is an accurate, consistent and transparent means of delivering fair handicaps to promote fair and competitive racing. This is for all levels – Grand Prix and club-level racing alike – because everyone wants fair racing. We are pleased to tell this story in the new ORC Guidebook.”

A PDF version of this publication is available for viewing and download now on the home page of the ORC website, and

A hard-copy version of this publication will be mailed to all current subscribers of Sailing World magazine in their next edition. For a PDF version of this publication… click here.

For more information on ORC: www.orc.org

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