ircn20d3 568 SailplaneThe new season has got off to a positive start with applications coming in for 2021 IRC rating certificates and a steady stream of enquiries to the RORC Rating Office, the technical hub of the Royal Ocean Racing Club. There was a record flood of entries for the RORC’s flagship event, the Rolex Fastnet Race, when entries opened last week, as well as enthusiasm from club racers around the UK and overseas.

The International Rating Certificate (IRC) is aimed at a very wide range of keelboats of all sizes and shapes including modern production cruisers and cruiser/racers through dedicated one-off race boats, older cruisers and racers to classic yachts and superyachts. IRC is continually developed to encompass new developments while at the same time protecting the interests of the current fleet.

There are some exciting developments for 2021 including the addition of flying headsails to the IRC sail wardrobe and an improved method of rating spinnaker poles and whisker poles, and the RORC Rating Office is seeing great interest in the rating effects of these changes.

Recognising the evolution of sail types, IRC has introduced a new definition of a Flying Headsail which encompasses some “Code0” sails that do not measure as a spinnaker. There are several rules defining the Flying Headsail relating to the half width/foot ratio, a maximum tack point position, no battens or stiffening of the sail and other requirements. A new definition of Spinnaker Pole Length has been added to enable IRC to better rate boats with both a bowsprit and spinnaker poles; and the 2021 IRC software includes changes to the rating of whisker poles with the intention of rating them more equitably.

Full details are in the IRC Rule and further advice is available on the IRC website https://ircrating.org/irc-rule/

The RORC Rating Office, the technical office of the Royal Ocean Racing Club that administers IRC ratings in the UK and several countries around the world, has held their new application and revalidation fees at 2020 prices for all boats under 18 metres hull length; this encompasses over 95% of the IRC fleet. For boats based in the UK the RORC’s MyIRC online application system is open for 2021 at https://myirc.rorcrating.com

Image: pwpictures.com / RORC