31 October 2008

IRC Rising: Congress watch keeping!


Today more than 25 nations from all the continents have fleets of 25 or more IRC boats. More than 7 000 yachts are IRC rated, which is a major part of the international fleet using a rating system for racing. Moreover, this figure is increasing each year (increase of 5 % so far this year). 2008 IRC International Congress took place in Runnymede, near London, on the 18th and 19th of October. Above all this annual meeting is the IRC owners’ forum where the National Owners Association representatives present their submissions to the rule on behalf of the owners to the Congress members and the IRC Technical Committee. As it is working to meet the owners’ needs, the IRC Technical Committee strongly protects the secrecy of the Rule as a key to the worldwide success of IRC.

In 2008 the International Maxi Association (IMA) and its owners adopted the IRC rule as the Official Class Handicap system for all for their events. Peter LAWSON, the IMA Class Representative participated in this year’s IRC Congress and the IMA was elected an Affiliated Member of the International IRC Owners Association, with a seat at the IRC Congress. Although IRC is generally dedicated to middle size boats’ range (10 to 15 meters), the interest of IMA, which is for IRC what Formula 1 is for car racing, testifies to the confidence internationally given to IRC and the ability of the IRC Rule to contribute to the technical development of yacht racing and engineering for the benefit of the sport.

In accordance with the policy of providing ratings for as wide a range of boats as possible, it was decided to permit boats to adjust mast foot, and hence rig tension, while racing, with an appropriate rating. This will be relevant to mainly the largest boats, and should be viewed as complimentary to the decision last year to recognize that many cruisers have mainsails with little or no roach.

Philippe BAETZ, President of UNCL and David AISHER, Commodore of RORC, invited the Congress to nominate a representative to join the IRC Steering Committee. This will give the owners an even greater say in the direction of development of IRC and will reinforce its capability to supervise the IRC Rule as it continues to grow worldwide. Congress elected one of its Vice-Chairmen, Malcolm Runnalls from Australia, to this important post.

The Congress also made various administrative and rule changes based on the submissions from the representing countries and from the IRC Technical Committee. The complete 2008 IRC International Congress’ minutes will be soon available on UNCL’s (www.uncl.com) and Seahorse Rating’s (www.rorcrating.com) websites and will expose in details all the points of interest dealt with during the meeting (IRC age allowance, number of spinnakers, IRC crew number and crew weight, rig tuning, IRC World Championship, etc).

The next IRC International Congress has been scheduled for October 2009 and will be held in Paris, France.

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