Growth with simplified objective rating system

Published on October 23rd, 2018

The Offshore Racing Association hosted a one-day, end-of season conference for ORR-Ez regional and national rule administrators which focused on opportunities to improve education and customer service after the past year had the number of boats racing with ORR-Ez certificates increase from 120 to more than 400.

ORR-Ez is seen as a replacement to PHRF in providing an objective system that is largely based on a regularly updated velocity prediction program, yet kept simple enough for organizers and race committees to apply to low-key racing.

Local ORR-Ez representatives reported on successes and challenges, and exchanged ideas with the national ORR VPP tech team on topics ranging from race-committee best practices and analysis of race results, to improving online processing of certificate applications.

Fresh insights came from organizations recently adopting ORR-Ez, including the Massachusetts Bay Racing Association and the Chesapeake Bay Racer Cruiser Association, which together registered 275 boats for ORR-Ez racing.

Highlights of conference decisions included:

• The option for competitors to declare crew weight or use a default number;
• Allowance of a second certificate for those wishing to race short-handed;
• Creation of a tool for race committees to identify lighter and heavier boats when determining class make-up.

The conference also highlighted the roles of local ORR-Ez representatives versus national. Besides providing encouragement and insight to individual boat owners, local reps often work closely with race committees learning to use ORR “tool boxes” to make choices regarding course configurations and wind speed, thereby selecting fairer ratings for a given racecourse on a given day.

National ORR team members’ primary mission, in addition to focusing on process, is to support organizing authorities in finding ways to gain more entries. An example from the conference was providing the local option to allow competitors to switch to a non-spinnaker rating before a windy race that otherwise might keep them at the dock.

In most regions, the ORR-Ez rule is being used for weekly series racing and weekend regattas on both windward-leeward and point-to-point courses. ORR-Ez was also used for a long-distance cruiser/racer race, the Annapolis Bermuda Ocean Race, and for some sections of the Bayview Mackinac fleet.

ORR-Ez utilizes a velocity prediction program and includes a small performance-based overlay that can be used in reviewing ratings of unusual boats, both fast and slow. The ORR, ORR-Ez, and ORR-Mh (multihull) rules are based on proprietary velocity prediction programming, developed, owned, maintained, and managed by the Offshore Racing Association.

Source: Offshore Racing Association

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