Harken Derm

Updates for IRC in 2017

Published on October 26th, 2016

Forty delegates from 15 countries descended upon Cowes, Isle of Wight, the home of yachting in the UK, for the annual Congress of the IRC (International Rating Certificate) Owners’ Association.

IRC is a rating rule to handicap different designs of keelboats allowing them to race together; unlike a performance handicap a rating is not altered between races according to the individual boat’s performance, but is based on the physical measurements of the boat.

Hosted by the RORC Rating Office at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse and the Royal Yacht Squadron on October 8, representatives in attendance had travelled from all over the world including Australia, USA, Europe, Japan, and SE Asia. Discussions varied from technical aspects of the IRC Rule, which is jointly owned by RORC in the UK and UNCL in France, to race management, measurement, and certificate administration.

As racing yacht design becoming more complex and varied, the ethos of IRC is to keep the Rule as simple as possible, protect the existing fleet and try as much as possible to control costs. With this in mind one notable change for 2017 will be a development in the treatment of aft rigging.

In recent years it has become apparent that the established definitions for backstays, running backstays, and checkstays do not suit all types of modern rigging arrangements. For 2017 IRC will not distinguish between these different types but will count the total number of aft rigging stays, which will simplify the application process for owners.

A second change for 2017 reflects the recent trend of moving lead from the bulb into the fin. The IRC Technical Committee does not consider this trend to be healthy for the sport, so in future will be asking for a declaration of the amount of lead in the keel fin for certain types of keel. Members of Congress agreed with both these changes which will come into force on January 1st 2017.

More details of the above mentioned technical changes, and the IRC 2017 Rule text and Definitions, can be found online.

For the IRC Congress Meeting Minutes… click here.

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