So, IRC is for all. But how then can the quality of racing be improved? Achieving this is not just about the rating rule: Clubs and events and their race management are also key.
In an ideal world, clubs and regattas would split their entries into ‘truck classes’ and ‘Ferrari classes’, but few fleets are large enough to do that, so inevitably it rarely happens. However, race committees can help by, for example, adopting dual scoring and by varying the style of races – all windward/leewards will result in a truck benefit day, all reaches, a Ferrari day.
So why not ring the changes with courses, and just because it is blowing 20 knots don’t automatically call it off. Why not let the adrenaline seekers have their day and let the sporty types stretch their legs and show what they can do?
Mike Urwin, Technical Director, RORC Rating Office, has long admired the ‘Irish solution’ of dual scoring everything under IRC and ECHO, their national performance handicap system and says:
“We are now actively and vigorously promoting dual scoring as a means of encouraging the less committed to try racing. We are working with the RYA on re-vamped performance handicap systems to help with this. In addition in the UK this year we are offering ‘Limited Validity IRC TCCs’ at a reduced cost to those who want to try out IRC or just wish to compete in a single IRC race or regatta each year.”
There’s more on the Limited Validity (LV) TCC for occasional racers here www.rorcrating.com/lv-tcc
The Rating Office is making conscious efforts to de-mystify the sport by introducing small but important initiatives such as the simplified measurement guides and ‘jargon buster’ on the IRC website. There are a number of seminars taking place around the UK aimed at all cruiser/racer sailors – not just those already using IRC – and at helping the clubs to put on the best racing possible for their members. More about these here: www.rorcrating.com
Should there be a separate rating rule for the grand prix and sports boats? Past experience tells us that owners will gravitate to the major trophies, the Gold Roman Bowl for the JPMAM Round the Island Race for example, inhibiting the growth of such rules as IRM. In the USA, there is the recently developed HPR – High Performance Rule. As yet, the RORC Rating Office has not been directly involved with this, but retains a watching brief and is in close contact with the rule developers. In other parts of the world, grand prix boats are enjoying competitive racing in IRC.
However, in being open minded and in trying to move IRC and the sport forward, the grassroots and the bedrock of the sport must not be forgotten. The privately owned, amateur sailed, on a budget, production cruiser/racers are fundamental to the cause. This committed group, and the clubs to which they belong, must remain the focus and continue to receive a high proportion of the time and resources of those formulating future IRC policy. — RORC Rating Office / Peta Stuart-Hunt
Information on the IRC rating system can be found at ircrating.org[box]This is the second of a two part article by RORC Rating Office in Scuttlebutteurope. Read the part one here.[/box]