by ORC Media
At its Annual General Meeting held in Muscat, Oman, the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) reviewed its activities and policies for 2013, one of its more successful years to date: to the beginning of this month there was an almost 15% increase in ORC International and ORC Club certificates over 2012, with over 8200 certificates issued worldwide. 2013 also saw a record number of 60 participants at this year's ORC European Championship in Sandhamn, Sweden, and it was the third consecutive year of having over 100 entries at the annual ORC World Championship, held this year in Ancona, Italy.
With this strong report card ORC is ready to take on the New Year with several improvements to its rating system for 2014. The ongoing research done by the International Technical Committee (ITC) this year found a few areas of improvement to be implemented for next year into the Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) that lies at the heart of the ORC rating system.
The changes were made both from ITC's own research and from recommendations made by countries using the ORC rating system. In general, this year's VPP was found to work well for most constituencies, so only small adjustments were suggested to improve the accuracy of the system. Initial test runs of the VPP have revealed only modest changes for the new season: the GPH ratings for the entire fleet are shown to vary in the range of -0.5% to +0.9% (average +0.2%) and +/- 5.0 sec/ml (average +1.0%).
Among the improvements for 2014 are the following:
* the default rig weight for carbon masts is now slightly higher, based on higher modulus carbon used in modern spars. This will affect only boats with an un-weighed carbon mast;
* the matrix of time allowances used in the Offshore Single Number rating has changed to reflect a more realistic variation of wind speed with wind angle in offshore races;
* the Dacron cloth allowance used in ORC Club now also extends to ORCi certificates;
* limits and restrictions on equipment and materials were changed to be consistent with other class rules and ISAF. Accordingly, mast jack pumps are now allowed on board although not allowed for use while racing, and use of titanium or carbon in stanchions and pulpits is also now allowed;
* ORC Club certificates with an unmeasured Righting Moment will have an increase of 3% to be more in line with measured boats and if their Limit of Positive Stability is below 103° the VCG figure will be further lowered until 103° is reached;
* further refinement of the new Hydrodynamic model, introduced last year;
* ratings can now be calculated for boats with double keels with bulbs and boats with canting keels together with water ballast;
* the canting keel with double canard has been revised to take into account better the maximum draft at each heel angle
* the upwind Aerodynamic model has been updated following a CFD study on different flying shapes that takes into account an increase of drag when depowering sails or when looking for extra drive when sails are tightly trimmed
* the Aerodynamic model for masthead spinnakers was improved based on new wind tunnel data, with the maximum heel formulation also reduced while under spinnaker;
* a new shaft/propeller configuration for short shafts has been introduced;
* sails which have mid-girths of less than 75% (eg, jibs, genoas, Code 0's, etc) are now all measurable as headsails, with no restrictions on roach or girth size, and a new set of aero-coefficients will apply depending on how they are flown. This will not change the ratings of boats with these sails, but only offer a new approach that will now allow any type of headsail to be better rated in the ORC rating system.
Other non-VPP related ORC innovations for 2014 include:
- a prescribed formulation for Performance Curve Scoring to allow use of a broader variety of scoring programs, including new web-based programs to produce faster and more accessible online results;
- if the entries permit, there can now be three classes at ORC World and European Championship events, with the Europeans to be re-evaluated by a working party for a possible shorter format option;
- another working party will examine the possibility of defining new ORC classes to provide guidance for designers, event organizers and national authorities;
- a new product will be offered in the ORC Sailor Services which for only €25 will offer target boat speeds customized for any boat with an ORCi or ORC Club certificate;
- ORC will continue its cooperation with US Sailing and RORC for the development of the Universal Measurement System (UMS) to create a 'measurement passport' for any measured sailboat to race in any system;
- soon the ORC website will be able to provide test certificates, and (with authorized access) generate valid certificates for the HPR rule;
- the 2014 ORC World Championship will be held in Kiel, Germany in August, and the ORC European Championship will be held in Valencia, Spain in July. Other events confirmed on the ORC calendar include the 2015 ORC European Championship in Parnu, Estonia, and a strong bid has been received for the 2016 ORC World Championship to be held in Denmark.
'We had a very good year in 2013, and thank the efforts of all in the ORC community for all their help in contributing to this success,' said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC. 'The improvements made to our system this year were well-received, so we look forward to more progress in providing fair, transparent and scientific rating solutions for 2014 as well.'
The full set of Minutes from the ORC AGM can be found here.