Rule changes for IRC in 2024

Published on October 24th, 2023

The 2023 international IRC Congress was held in Paris, hosted by the Yacht Club de France, joint owners of the international IRC rating rule with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

Chaired by Michael Boyd, also Chairman of the IRC Board, the meeting was well attended with representatives of several countries present along with the IRC teams from the UK and France, while others around the world participated by video conference.

The IRC Congress made a series of rule changes for the 2024 racing season aimed to ensure the fairness and competitiveness of IRC racing while addressing specific concerns and developments in the sailing community.

The biggest change for 2024 is the introduction of rating the number of headsails carried. Carrying multiple headsails can give a distinct advantage due to flexibility in a boat’s sail wardrobe for varying conditions, and the ability to increase headsail area by multiple headsails set flying, particularly for larger boats and in a reaching configuration. The recent notice has been updated with further details and this can be found on the IRC website.

For Endorsed IRC certificates, any sails certified (measured) after 31st December 2023 will require a measurement sticker or stamp. Sail stamps serve as a visual confirmation that a sail has been properly measured and complies with the rating certificate, and aid equipment inspection at events when checking sails. The design of IRC flying headsails has been opened up with a reduction in the minimum half-width ratio from 62.5% to 60%.

The IRC Technical Committee is committed to further enhancing transparency within the world of competitive sailing and discussions at Congress included improving openness and providing valuable insights into boat ratings and their influencing factors while preventing the potential misuse of data.

It is proposed to publish page 2 of the IRC certificate to provide sailors and the sailing community with a clear understanding of each boat’s equipment and measurements, such as the number of sails that should be aboard.

The rule changes that have been agreed, and the formulation development by the Technical Committee, seek to support the success of the IRC International rating rule around the world.

The IRC Congress Minutes and papers are published here:

The 2024 agreed rule changes and full rule text will be published when finalized on

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