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New ORC Rules and VPP ready for 2024 season

by Offshore Racing Congress 30 Jan 09:18 PST
2023 ORC Worlds Kiel © Christian Beeck / 2023 ORC Worlds Kiel

The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) is pleased to announce the new rules and regulations for this year's 2024 season of racing are now available online here.

These rules cover a range of topics related to fair handicap racing held among a broad range of boat types, from Sportboats to Superyachts to Multihulls.

The 2024 ORC Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) is also now ready and distributed to national rating offices around the world for them to start issuing 2024 ORC International and ORC Club certificates according to their local policies.

The 2024 VPP is also loaded into the ORC's unique Sailor Services online portal for retrieving copies of any ORCi or ORC Club certificate issued in the last 15 years and using this data for running Test Certificates, generating ORC Speed Guide polars and producing Target Speed performance data for upwind and downwind VMG racing.

A summary of the changes to the rules based on approvals from the 2023 ORC Congress Annual Meeting is available here, and include some notable improvements such as:

  • Adding 24 knots to the True Wind Speed range of the ORC VPP
  • Expanding allowed use of whisker poles
  • Updates of depowering and force coefficients for Headsails set Flying
  • Allowing Headsails set Flying to be flown in front of the forestay along with a spinnaker
  • Removal of GPH from certificates in favor of APH
  • Addition of a new Class 0 among the CDL limits defined for ORC Championship events

Any fair rating system needs a solid platform that defines the procedures and methods for measuring a boat's hull, appendages, propeller, stability, rig, sails and accommodations, and this is described in the International Measurement System (IMS) rules.

?These are intended to be used primarily for ORC International and ORC Club certificates, but they can also be used by other handicapping systems that wish to adjust their performance analysis by secret or public formulae. The IMS follows the concept of the Universal Measurement System (UMS) and may be used by any rating system.

The ORC Rating System rules for ORC International and ORC Club certificates use IMS as a measurement platform and the ORC Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) to rate boats of different characteristics in size, hull and appendages shape and configuration, stability, rig and sails measurement, propeller installation and other details affecting their speed.

?ORC Rating Rules include the limits and defaults for the hull, rig, sails and crew, the rules applying while racing, certificate layouts and descriptions of different ORC scoring options, with the flexibility to allow national variations in scoring preferences when desired.

Relatively new since its debut last year, ORC Multihull Rating Systems (ORCmh International and ORCmh Club) also uses IMS as a measurement platform and the ORCmh VPP to rate boats of different characteristics in size, hull and appendages shape and configuration, rig and sails measurement, propeller installation and other details affecting their predicted sailing speed.

?ORC Multihull Rating Rules includes the limits and defaults for the hull, rig, sails and crew, the rules applying while racing, certificate layouts and description and a complete explanation of different ORCmh scoring options.

The ORC Superyacht Rule uses IMS and the ORC VPP which has been modified to cover all the varied features and special characteristics of Superyachts in calculating the yacht's predicted speed in different wind and sea conditions. With this information ratings are calculated and used for corrected time calculations in scoring racing between yachts of widely different sizes and characteristics.

?Beside its scientific background, the main principle of this rule is transparency. Copies of certificates are available at the ORCsy website and each owner or representative has the ability to check the effects on their rating when changing any measurement value using the ORCsy Sailor Services web portal.

While the 2024 ORCsy and ORCmh rule books are finished and posted online, certificates for both systems will soon be ready for issue from ORC's Central Rating Office.

Combining the power of the ORC VPP with an application specified to small, light and fast keelboats, the ORC Sportboat Class Rules are attracting attention throughout the world as a fair and transparent handicap solution for these style boats.

According to the ORC Sportboat rules, three divisions are defined:

  • Division A for boats with DSPM/LSM03 of <3.70 and have only asymmetric spinnakers
  • Division B for boats with DSPM/LSM03 of <6.66 that have no trapezes, and
  • ?Division C for boats with DSPM/LSM03 of <6.66 and are equipped with trapezes.

The ORC "Green Book" contains ORC Championship Rules that apply at the World and Continental Championships recognized by the ORC and World Sailing.

ORC Championship Rules are also recommended for regional and national championships, and an ORC-standardized Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions may be used for any event at any level that is using ORC Rating system rules.

?The ORC Green Book is available in its entirety or in separated parts to serve as templates for the Standard Notice of Race and Standard Sailing Instructions.

The ORC Race Management Guide is a comprehensive guidebook to the way ORC ratings are applied to racing and some best practices tips learned from decades of race management experience at annual ORC championship events. The structure of organizing races and regattas is also discussed, along with many examples of the various scoring methods and recommendations for their intended use.

The ORC VPP Documentation will be updated for 2024 in due course, and the Hull Scanning Measurement Guide and ORC Speed Guide Explanation texts remain unchanged from previous editions.

"We are pleased to give to the racing community this year's set of rules and our latest edition of the VPP in time for the start of racing in the 2024 season," said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC. "These are both the result of a considerable investment of effort and expertise made by our Staff and committee members to continue to innovate and provide the type of fair and transparent handicap racing expected by the sailors in the ORC racing community around the world."

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