All boats matter for the 2021 season

Published on April 14th, 2021

With the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) Rule having gained acceptance as the rule of choice for handicapping races and regattas at Annapolis Yacht Club, a healthy increase in high level big boat sailing has resulted in Annapolis, MD.

Now that the effectiveness of ORC has been displayed, AYC is flexing its muscle to embrace the disenfranchised.

Initiating the ORC Corinthian Division, this group will be for like performing ORC rated dual purpose cruiser racers. How do you define the eligibility for this division? Here is how AYC intends to do it:

The objective eligibility criteria is based upon potential peak performance for a given vessel length and sailing configuration. The following requirements for eligibility will nicely delineate the desired boats for this class, which will include true dual-purpose boats originally intended for racing.

These boats, their owners, and crews have become somewhat displaced as single purpose race boats have dominated most activity. Now with the benefit of the ORC Rule, these boats can once again find equitable competition within a division while retaining eligibility to win starting class and fleet awards.

Aiding the mission is how the ORC Rule is a Velocity Prediction Program (VPP), allowing boats rated without spinnakers to compete against boats with spinnakers throughout all course and wind ranges. Racing without a spinnaker need not be a deterrent any longer.

ORC Corinthian Division Requirements:

Potential Peak Performance (to be calculated by Organizing Authority):
The measure of potential peak performance relative to vessel length is to be measured using the value of “S#”1. The S# computes usually to a range of between 1 and 10, with numbers closer to 10 being potentially faster boats for a given length.

The website publishes the S# for many boats. This source is a good general guide but may not be using actual numbers for a given boat from that boat’s ORC certificate.

The S# as computed by the Organizing Authority uses upwind sail area, rated length, and sailing displacement from a given boat’s ORC certificate. This computation can be provided for a race entrant upon request.

If a boat’s S# is below 3.0, then that vessel may be eligible to be scored in the Corinthian Division, provided the below configuration conditions are met. For example, lists an Alberg 30 as 1.06, a Beneteau 361 as 2.71, a Catalina 34 as 2.58, while the J/105 is 4.54.

ORC Corinthian Class(es) Configuration:

Spinnaker (if applicable as per ORC certificate)
• Spinnaker must be asymmetric and tacked on the centerline of the vessel.
• No more than one spinnaker shall be carried onboard.
• No spinnaker staysails, mizzen staysails, or mizzen spinnakers are allowed.

• Maximum of 2 headsails carried onboard, meeting the following criteria:
◦ Forward-most headstay or forestay must have an above-deck roller furler.
◦ One of the headsails must be no larger than 110% of the fore-triangle area.
◦ If there is a non-overlapping staysail flown, the full length of its luff must be attached to an inner forestay and must be smaller than 110% of the foretriangle area. This sail would also count towards the total count of headsails. If present, this sail on the inner forestay may not be flown at the same time as a spinnaker or other headsail.

Category 3 (professional sailors)
• A maximum of one Category 3 sailor may be onboard, who may not steer unless a life-threatening emergency arises.

In-mast mainsail furling (optional)
• If a vessel has an in-mast furling mainsail in conjunction with all other requirements of the above configurations, that vessel may be eligible to compete in the Corinthian Division regardless of that vessel’s S# given the approval of the Organizing Authority.

For additional information about S#, a good discussion can be found in “The Design Ratios” by Eric Sponberg, Jan-Mar2010, at

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