New Cooperation in the Rating World

Published on February 9th, 2017

Since 1999 there have been World Championships run for yachts handicapped under the Offshore Racing Congress’ IMS and ORCi rating systems. World Sailing maintains the standards for which a World title can be offered, and the only event on offer for rating rule racers has been the ORC World Championship.

By all accounts, the ORC World Championship had been well supported, with over 90 boats registered for the June/July 2017 event in Italy. But at World Sailing’s 2016 Annual Conference in Barcelona last November, the IRC rating system sought to break the monopoly.

The effect of the IRC submission at the conference was to enable both ORC and IRC to provide a world championship to those sailors who wished to race under either system. After heated debate, the World Sailing Council agreed to introduce a combined rating World Championship from 2018 onwards.

The Offshore World Championship 2018 will take place in the Hague, specifically from the port of Scheveningen, in July 2018. Boats based everywhere else in the world will have the chance to compete for the ‘best in the world title’ in this World Sailing-sanctioned handicap event.

“We are extremely pleased that the two major rating systems of the world are agreeing to make our event a pioneer in future cooperation for the World Championship,” said Marcel Schuttelaar, Chairman of 2018 event. “Our venue location is ideally suited to attract a strong turnout from both cultures, so we look forward to working closely with ORC and IRC on building the framework for a successful championship event.”

Racing using a handicap or rating system is a way for yachts of different size, shape, age and performance profiles to compete together equitably on the same race course at the same time. There are many handicap and rating systems in use around the world but the two most successful in terms of numbers of subscribers are ORC and IRC. Together the two have rated over 15,000 boats in over 50 countries worldwide in 2016.

A pragmatic and innovative solution now opens the door to allow an offshore fleet derived from ORCi and IRC-rated boats to assemble and compete for their discipline’s ultimate title, ‘World Champion’. By using a combined scoring system, this combined fleet will, in 2018, be able to compete on the water against each other for the first time using both systems.

The compromise reached at the World Sailing conference last November calls for each boat entering the world championship to have a measurement certificate from each of the two systems, ORCi and IRC.

“It was really important to come up with a solution to find a way for the two most important fleets of offshore yachts to compete for a world title,” said Stan Honey, chairman of World Sailing’s Oceanic and Offshore Committee. “By using both systems conjointly for the event’s scoring, neither group is compromised and both groups benefit from the dual system solution that we agreed upon in Barcelona. I’m looking forward to the return on experience from this event in 2018. I’m sure it will be a popular and successful event.”

ORC had previously approved the proposal bid from organizers from The Hague to be hosts for the 2018 World Championship based on the ORC’s standard week-long championship format, however, the details of format and scoring will be re-examined by a Working Party formed from IRC and ORC to examine the options.

Based on the experience from this new cooperation between these two systems, further evolutions and convergence are envisaged in the future.

Source: ORC, IRC, World Sailing

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