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If you are a boat owner or representative, you may have a few questions about the IRC Advocate scheme, we will try and answer some of them here!

Why do you need Advocates, surely the Rating Office can answer any questions I have?

Of course the Rating Office can answer your questions and will happily do so. However, we felt that it would be helpful to owners to have somebody locally (perhaps a familiar face) who they can call or sit down with, maybe in their local club, to go through things they are stuck on or are having trouble understanding.  Maybe you are struggling with the details of the application form, or are not sure about some of the IRC rules.  IRC Advocates have usually been through the application process themselves, and have the added advantage of being able to see things from an owner's point of view!

How do I contact them?

The contact details are published HERE for Advocates, as agreed with them.   There may also be a poster on your club noticeboard showing the details for your local Advocate.  

Please be courteous regarding time when contacting Advocates, particularly by telephone – IRC queries should not warrant an emergency late night call!

What if they don't know the answer to my question, or refuse to answer it?

Although Advocates will be able to help with the majority of everyday queries, there will be some to which they don't know the answer. In those cases they may refer you to the Rating Office, or ask the office on your behalf to build up their own knowledge base.  

Advocates are not in a position to interpret IRC Rules, and will refer you to the Rating Office. 

Can the Advocate fill in the IRC application form for me?

It is the owner or representative's responsibility to find the information and complete the application form, after all you know your boat better than anyone else!  However, your Advocate will be able to guide you through the form and advise the best source for the measurements. 

Why not see it as a learning exercise? You will understand your rating certificate much better if you are familiar with the information on which it is based.

Can an Advocate measure my boat?

Some of the Advocates are also RORC measurers, these are notated with an * after their name on the list.  If an Advocate is a RORC measurer then they can officially measure or weigh your boat, and the fees will be those published HERE.   Those Advocates that are not RORC measurers may assist with measurement by mutual agreement, but this will not be official and not acceptable for an Endorsed certificate.

If you would like your boat measured or weighed by a RORC measurer, please contact the Rating Office to discuss your requirements before making arrangements.

Can the Advocate help my club with racing questions?

Many Advocates will be active members of their club and will be happy to advise on types of racing, course types etc. for their own or other clubs in the area.  However, the amount of advice Advocates feel qualified to offer in this respect will vary, and they may suggest that the club talks to the Rating Office.

 Do I have to pay for the Advocate's time, either to RORC or directly?

There is no charge for the Advocate's time, they have taken on the role on a voluntary basis.  However, none of them would object to being bought a pint in the club bar!

Can an Advocate give me specific advice on how to reduce my Rating, eg by recutting sails, etc ?

Advocates have no access to the IRC rating program and are not in a position to offer consultancy on optimising your rating or what changes you should make.   Any advice or suggestions they make can only be from their own experience, and most would be expected to decline to offer advice on your rating. 

The Advocates main role is to encourage those new to IRC and help with administrative issues, as well as explaining rules such as eligibility for single furling headsail allowance, or whether it will affect your rating if you remove the saloon table.

There is no Advocate listed close to my home/boat/club. Can I request somebody to come and visit me?

The Rating Office hopes to expand the Advocates list so that most sailing areas having somebody available locally. However, there will of course be instances where there is no Advocate close by.  It is hoped that most queries can be answered by phone or email, but if you specifically wish an Advocate to visit this is best arranged directly between you and the Advocate, and an appropriate cost agreed to cover their mileage if appropriate.

I live and sail overseas. Will there be Advocates outside the UK?

The GBR IRC Advocate system is run by the RORC Rating Office in its role as the GBR IRC Rule Authority, and is therefore only available within the UK.  However, your local IRC Rule Authority should be able to help you and you can find their contact details on under 'Contact'.

Can I volunteer to become an Advocate myself?  What qualifications would I require? Will I get paid?

If you are a keen sailor and feel that you would like to encourage and help others into the sport, then the Rating Office would be pleased to hear from you!  There are no formal qualifications and there is no payment, but Advocates receive official clothing and are eligible for half price IRC new application or revalidation fees. 

For full details of the Advocate role please see the document HERE, and if you are interested please either call 01590 677030 or email .

How can Advocates be unbiased if they are members of the local sailing community and club(s)?

Advocates should not need to offer advice to owners or clubs that would be prone to bias, they will be simply explaining facts or helping negotiate the application forms and rules.  Advocates are chosen and approved based on their knowledge, experience, and willingness to encourage IRC racing in their area. 

If you feel that your local Advocate is going 'beyond the call of duty' please get in touch with the Rating Office.

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