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Newport Bermuda Race: Offshore Racing Rule Performance Guide

by Bjorn Johnson 31 Mar 2018 06:11 PDT 15 June 2018
Boats such as the Gunboat 60, Arethusa, will sail in the Newport Bermuda Race's first Multihull Division in 2018. © Rolex / Daniel Forster

Best-practice tips in preparing to race the Newport Bermuda Race under the Offshore Racing Rule.

Sailing teams preparing for the Newport Bermuda Race in March are understandably concentrating on registering their boats, settling crew lists, and filing all of the required electronic data in the Sailgate entry system. It's good to pause and consider some often-overlooked factors in optimizing your boat for maximum fun.

Below are some bullet points that may help with this critical preparation process related to the Offshore Racing Rule. These points will also help you get best performance out of your boat and deal with racecourse-rating-risk management.

  • Get the boat measured - Sign up early and make sure you have the mast weighed if it is already out of the boat. It helps to have the correct weight for the rating.
  • Declare your actual crew weight on the certificate - It will aid in getting you the correct rating assessment.
  • Maximize fun by getting an ORR Performance Package - This will help you sail your boat to its rated potential. It is fun maximizing the performance—making you and your crew better sailors while learning to get the best performance out of your boat. The ORR Performance Packages interface with your electronics and puts your polars right on the screen. If you work at it, you'll up your chances for some silver.
  • Sail inventory - Look at the historical wind trends of the race and take a risk assessment of the sails you might want to leave home. ORR rating assessments are based on the largest sail in that category. Ask yourself and your sailmaker which sails to bring. Also ask your sailmaker if your boat might benefit from a Large Roach Headsail (LRH), now allowed in all Newport Bermuda Race divisions except the Finisterre. Not all boats can use them effectively.
  • Run a trial certificate - This helps in making those risk assessments.
  • When in doubt ask questions? The place to start is and —two places that can point you in the right direction or give you direct answers about the race or about the ORR handicap system.
Read more on the ORR and the Offshore Racing Association.

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