New guidance for race organizers

Published on May 28th, 2020

The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) has released a free publication that gives guidance for race organizers and sailors using the ORC handicap system. Here’s their update:


The members of the Race Management Committee led by Hans-Eckhard (“Ecky”) von der Mosel and the management and staff at the ORC have completed the inaugural edition of the ORC Race Management Guide.

This 24-page manual contains ideas learned from decades of successful race management experience in events that range from local club contests to World Championships held all over the world. While written to assist race managers, owners and sailors should also find it useful for improving their understanding of how ORC’s science-based handicap rating system works not only in theory but in practice as well.

“Every year we work with organizers of World and continental championships to maintain the highest standards for their events, and we thought it would be useful to gather what we have learned into this book,” said von der Mosel, who is based at Kieler Yacht Club in Germany, host of the 2014 ORC World Championship.

“We also realized we need to help those who are not at this level but also want to provide fair and fun racing to the sailors. It has taken some time, but we have this now completed and I am very happy with the results of all the work, and very thankful for the various input from all our colleagues and specialists.”

The Guide content is divided into three broad categories: Event Structure, Scoring, and Best Practices:

• Event Structure for any race is important so that organizers and competitors will be able to avoid confusion and enjoy the racing, so this first section in the Guide gives insights and practical tips on how to handle the planning and administrative tasks needed for a successful regatta.

• With the myriad of options available in a VPP-based rating system, Scoring can be complex and confusing or simple and intuitive – this all depends on how well the race organizers make an appropriate choice for their fleet. This section is therefore the longest in the Guide as it goes through the many options and discusses the virtues of each, along with several examples.

• The third section on Best Practices reinforces some ideas and techniques that most great race managers know already: making clear instructions on course layouts of appropriate lengths, communicating effectively with both the Race Committee team and the competitors, generating accurate results quickly, and how to handle matters related to protests and redress.

This Guide is comprehensive, makes frequent references to the ORC Rules and is focused on how these rules apply to racing with handicap ratings – it is not intended to train race managers on the basic skills of how to lay a course, start a race, implement course changes, etc; these skills are assumed. Nonetheless, this Guide should be a useful reference for both new and experienced race managers to improve their game.

The Guide is also expected to evolve in content along with the trends in the sport and as ORC rules and guidelines change, so as that new content will be added with new editions that are offered on a regular basis. A simplified Quick Guide version is also anticipated for those race organizers who are brand new to ORC, and this will follow soon.

“A major role for ORC is not only developing accurate and transparent technical tools for fair racing but also the guidance through experience on how best to use these tools,” said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC. “I congratulate Ecky, his committee, and the Staff for working so hard to pull together this knowledge and express this in this important new book. We hope it is well-received in the racing community.”

The ORC Race Management Guide is available for download at www.orc.org/rules.

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