Please select your home edition

2018 Handicap Rating Rules Report

by John Horton 23 Apr 2019 04:19 PDT
Offshore Racing Rule ©

Ratings based on velocity prediction programs are gaining advocates across North America. Here are the numbers.

The total number of boats with rating certificates derived from measurements and a velocity prediction program is on the rise in North America. As our end-of-year survey proved, the market is moving, and the team at the Offshore Racing Association (ORA) is encouraging that move.

Note that for the purposes of this survey, we have included the single-number rating rule, IRC, which is not a VPP-based rule but in many areas competes for market share with current VPP-based rules. Note also that the ORA owns and manages three VPP-based rulesOffshore Racing Rule (ORR), ORR-Ez, and ORR-Mh (multihull).

Reviewing the published 2018 data from the groups managing the IRC, ORCi, and ORC Club, as well as the ORR and ORR-Ez, shows that 1,543 certificates were issued to boats in North America last year. This is an increase of about 400 compared to 2017, a 35-percent lift, and is the result of growth in three of the five rules surveyed.

The number of boats that were fully measured and rated increased incrementally, with 720 boats obtaining ORR certificates, and 58 boats with ORCi certificates. For the most part, the organizing authorities running major distance races and regattas on the West and East Coasts and on the Great Lakes continued to use the same rules as previously.

Where significant growth occurred was in the promotion of new rules, ORR-Ez and ORC Club, both of which use the proprietary velocity prediction program (VPP) of their fully measured rule (ORCi and ORR) but without requiring full measurement of the boats. This middle ground of improved handicapping and scoring for multiple windspeeds appeals to many organizing authorities that have had difficulties equalizing the racing with a single-number rule like PHRF.

ORC Club was actually level across the two years with 169 certificates in 2017 and 166 in 2018, but a significant drop in reported certificates in Canada, from 78 to 46 certificates, was offset by equally significant growth in the U.S., from 91 to 121 certificates. The latter has been boosted by adoption at events such as Charleston Race Week.

ORR-Ez has yet to reach Canada, but climbed from 112 to 420 certificates with significant growth in areas like the Chesapeake Bay, where ORR-Ez had already grown in 2016 and 2017, and even greater growth where an entire region, such as Massachusetts Bay, embraced the rule.

The rule that showed little movement from 2017 to 2018 was the IRC rule, which is a single-number European-based rule with 26 boats in Canada and 153 in the U.S. However, with the IRC/ORC World Championship being held in Newport, R.I. in 2020, it could well see growth in the year ahead.

In the larger context of handicap racing in the U.S., we estimate that there are roughly 16,000 PHRF and ARC certificates issued each year. The latter are "assigned ratings" typically provided by organizing authorities to cruiser/racers who want to do a single race or a series of races and are in it simply for the fun of participating, at least initially. Of all those PHRF and ARC certificates, we estimate a third of the boats race in more intensive events outside of casual evening races that might adopt a VPP or other measurement rule in the future.

Our pie chart reflects this segment of the market and shows that even if we assume only the top third of those with PHRF certificates are engaged to the level that they want more equitable ratings, they still represent three-quarters of the U.S. handicap racing market. As we look toward 2019, we expect a collective increase in market share for all of the rules beginning in "O" especially ORR-Ez and ORC Club, which offer multiple ratings for different course configurations and wind strengths. No doubt, however, PHRF will remain the leader. We'll report back later this year and let you know what we're seeing.

Related Articles

ORA Ratings to score Doublehanded Race
Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta will use VPP-based ratings from the Offshore Racing Association The Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta, an early-spring weekend fixture on the San Diego Yacht Club calendar, will use VPP-based ratings from the Offshore Racing Association for a new Saturday-only mid-distance race. Posted on 20 Feb 2021
A year of teamwork, growth, and better data
In 2021, the Offshore Racing Association aims to keep putting more boats on the line The Offshore Racing Association has used the self-isolating year of the Covid-19 pandemic to enhance its software to be able to efficiently review and correct accumulated errors, large and small, in the sailboat-measurement database. Posted on 18 Dec 2020
ORA to provide multiple ratings to GYA-PHRF fleets
GYA race organizers will utilize ratings built on ORA velocity prediction programming Beginning in January, 2021, the Offshore Racing Association (ORA) will issue handicap ratings for the nearly 500 boats in the Gulf Yachting Association's PHRF fleet, which is spread from western Florida to New Orleans. Posted on 9 Oct 2020
900th boat receives ORR-Ez certificate
The milestone certificate was generated with the ORR's proprietary build-a-boat tool The milestone certificate was generated with the ORR's proprietary build-a-boat tool, providing a VPP-based rating for the Morris M36 Helene, owned by Peter Ellis of Chicago. Posted on 26 Aug 2020
Handicapping the Bayview Mackinac Race
Standardized data, more competitive racing The Bayview Mackinac Race is an institution in the region, ranking as a pilgrimage for racing sailors, many of whom are proud members of the Old Goats Society, a distinction reserved for sailors who have completed the race 25 times or more. Posted on 21 May 2020
"A Year of ORR Racing - America's Choice"
Take a pictorial and video journey through a season of events Take a pictorial and video journey through a season of events with the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) and Jim Teeters, Technical Director. Posted on 20 Apr 2020
Joint data-quality initiative will improve rating
ORA and US Sailing launched a new initiative to significantly improve data collection ORA, owner of the ORR rating rule, and US Sailing have launched a new initiative to significantly improve data collection, input processes and quality control measures of boat measurement data in US Sailing's sailboat-measurement database. Posted on 16 Nov 2019
Not a Genoa. Not a Spinnaker. It's a Tweener!
ORR introduced ratings for boats carrying Large Roach Headsails In 2018, when the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) introduced ratings for boats carrying Large Roach Headsails (LRH), some sailors thought the sails were unnecessary. A year later, consensus is building among sailors that the ORR made a good move. Posted on 11 Aug 2019
ORR-Ez continues growth in Spring 2019
The choice for hundreds of boats in top-end 2019 races Rating rules based on a Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) aren't for everyone, but more and more boats are being rated for scoring in 2019 under ORR rules, owned and managed by the Offshore Racing Association. Posted on 9 Jun 2019
The ORA H-Zero Handicap Analysis
Collaborative research by ORA with organizers of Bermuda races Collaborative research by the Offshore Racing Association with organizers of Bermuda races from Marion and Newport will use computer-modeled wind records known as H0 (Zero) GRIB files to enhance handicapping methodologies for future Bermuda Posted on 25 Apr 2019
J Composites 2022 - J99 FOOTERMcConaghy 2022 - MC63p & MC75 FOOTERRS Sailing 2021 - FOOTER