During the year racing class associations hold competitions between identical yachts of the same class - dinghies, catamarans or keel monotypes. But there are also private regattas where yachtsmen can compete on their own or charter yacht. To equalise the conditions of participation for different boats, the organizers use rating systems. We tell you what it is.
During the year the federation of yacht/shurtboats/ catamarans classes hold their competitions - championship stages of the country, region, world. The key rule for them is to meet one standard: hull, sails, rigging must be the same. But these same crews can also participate in professional amateur regattas. In this case they are divided into separate groups (divisions) and evaluated according to the class rules.
To evaluate the results of teams performing on different vessels, and therefore with different potential to win, it is more and more difficult. To find out the real capabilities of a yacht in relation to other riders, a special mathematical formula is used. According to this formula a racing score (rating) is calculated. After the race, these individual points are multiplied by the results of the team, and the one with the least time after the recalculation, wins. This system of summing up the results and is called rating.
The rules for recalculating the time depending on the boat rating are called handicap system. Any measurement-rating system is directly related to the technical characteristics of the yacht, i.e. her handicap.
To participate in a regatta a yacht must obtain a rating system certificate. Among the most applicable at the moment:
- ORC (Offshore Racing Congress International and ORC Club).
- IRC (International Rating Certificate)
- MOCRA (Multihull Offshore Cruising & Racing Association) and several others.
Almost all major world competitions combine different divisions (a division combines ships racing at the same distance). For each of them, a different ranking can be used.
The Marine Racing Congress (ORC) establishes and maintains uniform standards and rating systems in sailing. In 1969 he introduced ORC International and ORC Club certificates to combine the two then dominant standards, CCA (Cruising Club of America) for the Americas and RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club) for European countries.
ORC International and ORC Club are the same certificates. The difference between them is that for the first measurement the official measurer performs the entire measurement. For ORC Club, some data may be submitted by the boat owner if it is not possible to carry out a full measurement in their region.
To evaluate boats with different characteristics, the ORC system uses:
- the computer-based IMS (International Measurement System). The program measures the performance of a boat or other boat at different speeds and wind angles, based on the fundamental principles of hydro- and aerodynamics;
- VPP (ORC Velocity Prediction Program), which performs automated technical analysis of 7 different true wind speeds, 8 true wind angles and 2 optimal VMG (Velocity Made Good) angles for this yacht.
The measurement is carried out on shore, so the boat must be as well fixed as possible, the centreboard is raised (if any) and the rigging is dissipated. The hull in all parts, helm/rumpel, centreboard/kil, internal ballast, batteries, fixed and/or permanent interior parts, hatch covers and pyolas, permanent mechanisms, electrical equipment and ship systems, outboard engine, mast, gyke, spinnaker gyke and/or bowsprit, standing and running rigging shall be measured.
At the end you get a boat measurement file and the ORC certificate shows the current characteristics of the boat. If you have changed any parts of the boat, you will need to take a second measurement.
The results of the measurement are given in two versions:
- In the metric system. Exactly to the third decimal point, except for the sails, where only two decimal places are indicated. Weight is taken in kg to the nearest one decimal point.
- In the English system, where all measurements are made in pounds and indicated with an accuracy of two signs, except for sails - to one sign, and the weight is taken in pounds.
The ORC is the only recognized authority by the International Sailing Federation to regulate the racing rules of any event using the IMS system.
To participate in an ORC regatta or division, each participant must obtain a certificate from an official measurer. Today it is available in 45 countries. On the ORC website you can fill in an application for measurement in One Design or ORC group, as well as get acquainted with the current set of rules and ratings of other boats in the ORC Sailor Services online catalogue.
The certificate gives the opportunity to participate in sailing competitions:
- organized directly by the ORC according to their rating system. Among the most significant are ORC World Championship, ORC European Championship, ORC European Sportboat Championship.
- in a large number of national and international regattas in ORC divisions. Major events include Barcolana, Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Copa del Rey and others.
ORC divides boats into subgroups (ORC 0/ORC 1/ORC 2). Sometimes several subgroups can participate separately in regattas. One ORC subgroup includes yachts with similar technical characteristics. The Organizing Committee of the regatta sets its own rules for participants. For example, in order to participate in the ORC division at the Copa del Rey it is necessary to fulfill the following condition (Regulations of the regatta):
Boats with LOA (Lengh Overall) ≥ to 9.30 m, with GPH (General Purpose Handicap) between 505 sec./mile and 660 sec./mile.
Under the terms of the Organizing Committee, and according to the number of articles, this group may be divided in three classes with the following cuts:
ORC 1: GPH between 505 and < 575 sec./mile.
ORC 2: GPH between 575 and < 605 sec./mile.
ORC 3: GPH between 605 and < = 660 sec./mile.
In this way, the ORC system makes it possible to define the technical parameters of each yacht and to find a common denominator with other competitors. After a race, the time for which the crew has completed the course is multiplied by the coefficient from the measure table. The winner is the yacht with the lowest result.
Another leading rating system. Today it issues certificates in more than 60 countries of the world. The owner and curator in the UK is the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and l'Union Nationale de la Course au Large (UNCL) in France.
The peculiarity of this rating is that the organization does not formulate specific rules to ensure that yacht designers are not able to tailor the characteristics to them. However, measurement can only be done at authorized IRC centres.
For each boat, an indicator is calculated on the basis of which the time is corrected according to the results of the competition - TCC (Time Corrector). To do this, take the boat measurements, such as: length, weight, draft, sail area, sail area and other characteristics. The higher the TCC, the faster the boat is potentially.
After the race, the time spent on the course is multiplied by the coefficient. The winner is the crew with the lowest total, corrected time.
The IRC certificate allows for participation in competitions:
- which are based only on IRC measurements: Rolex Fastnet Race, Rolex China Sea Race and Phuket King's Cup Regatta;
- Most major regattas, which include several IRC divisions (IRC 0, IRC 1, IRC 2, etc.), combine yachts with close TCC. In this case, the winners and prizewinners of each division and the owners of the best results in the IRC Overall standings will climb to the podium.
Each organizer has the right to set its own rules for IRC Division members. For example, the Copa del Rey Regulations also have separate rules for IRC divisions:
Boats with a valid 2018 IRC endorsed certificate, shall comply with the following requirements:
(a) Boats with TCC ≥ 1.240
b) HF (Hull Factor): ≥ 8,5c) Dlr (Displacement-length) : ≤185.
Under the Organizing Committee and according to the number of angles, this group may be divided in two classes with an approximate cut at TCC 1.420.
This means that if there are more entries with different TCCs, the whole group will be divided into two subgroups. The second one will include yachts with TCCs above 1.420 according to the IRC Certificate.
Another example is Rolex Fastnet Race. Several ratings are used in the regatta: IRC, ORC Club, MOCRA. On the regatta website you can separately download IRC rules in addition to the general rules of the regatta.
1.275 and greater
1.101 – 1.274
1.051 – 1.100
1.004 – 1.050
0.850 – 1.003
The table shows the rules of grouping by TCC.
The popular British J.P.M. Round the Island Race includes 4 IRC groups and each group consists of several more with a letter symbol. There are also many IRC groups at the Rolex Giraglia Cup, Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Rorc Carribean 600 and others.
The MOCRA (Multihull Offshore Cruising & Racing Association) rating is designed specifically for multihull vessels. It allows adjusting the time for catamarans and trimarans of different shapes and sizes. RORC Fastnet Race, Cowes Week, Plymouth Regatta, JPM Round the Island Race, RORC Carribean 600.
This rating is more common at British regattas, home of MOCRA.
Certificate includes information:
- Measurement by SI (International System Units) or by another international certificate;
- calculation of the TCF (Time Correction Factor).
For example, in the above mentioned Fastnet Race for the MOCRA division, the following features are highlighted:
1.100 and greater
Or another example is J.P.M. Round the Island Race, which is also held in England. In the regatta there are declared divisions which are estimated on several ratings (IRC, ISCRS, MOCRA). In 2019 two divisions of Multihull Gran Prix and MOCRA were announced with 14 entries each:
- up to 9.15 meters in length;
- from 9.15 meters and above.
The summary results table always includes open information about each participant and time so that anyone can recalculate the results by the formula:
- vessel's name;
- its serial number;
- coefficient (TCF);
- Finish time;
- the time of the distance;
- corrected time;
- final place in the table by results of the day or the regatta.
In lieu of a conclusion
Rating systems have come a long way to modern measurement and time correction models. Among the most popular today are ORC, IRC for single hull vessels and MOCRA for multihull vessels.
To be included in a division, the results of which are measured by handicap and rating system, it is necessary to pass the measurement of the vessel in advance and get the certificate. Based on this document and the rules established by the organizers of the regatta, the boat will get into its group (IRC, ORC) and subgroup (IRC 0, IRC 1 and so on).
If any parts of the hull, sails or rigging are changed, the certificate will also have to be updated.