Farewell to the ORC in the upcoming Sydney Hobart. And now whoever wins, really wins

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The TP52 Celestial won in IRC and ORC in the last Rolex Sydney Hobart. But it had to withdraw from the ORC ranking for “out-of-strength” sail equipment under the ORC system (but not for IRC).

The upcoming Sydney Hobart, the world’s most famous offshore regatta will be raced this year with only one fee system, IRC, abandoning ORC for good.

IRC and ORC, the paradox of offshore sailing?

What does it mean for those who have never participated in an offshore regatta?

It means that the practice in force, now for decades, where in most of the world’s offshore races, especially the Mediterranean ones such as the Giraglia or the Middle Sea Race, that there are, for the same race, two separate rankings: one drawn up with the IRC compensation parameters and another ORC, will be abolished.

Each boat can decide to participate under either compensation system or to participate in both rankings. With the paradox that if he decides to participate in both classifications maybe he can win with the IRC and i not win with the ORC or vice versa.

Clearly, in the eyes of a layman, this is crazy. In what other sport, given the same course and conditions, can you win or lose because the rankings are set according to different parameters? Take golf, for example, a sport that has a handicap system with the same purpose as that used in offshore sailing, and that is to put everyone on the same theoretical footing. It means that the handicap theoretically puts those who are less good (slower in sailing) in a position to win. But in golf there are not in the same competition two compensation systems that create two separate rankings, there is only one!

Having made this premise, which told in summary demonstrates the absurdity of the situation prevailing in the world of offshore sailing today, let us come to the fact that has caused an uproar throughout the world of competitive sailing.

CYCA, the organizing club of the Sydney Hobart, which starts every year on Dec. 26 along the route from Sydney in Australia to Hobart in Tasmania, has announced that it is abandoning the ORCi fee system altogether.

The straw that broke the camel’s back, generating controversy at the last Sydney Hobart, was the fact that the TP52 Celestial, winner in IRC, also won in ORC. But he was forced to withdraw from the ORC classification because their sail kit violated the regulations of that system. Paradox.

IRC only. The CYCA statement

Here is the statement from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia:

Over the years, IRC and ORCi rating rules have differed. The complexity and workload for shipowners and crews to maintain compliance with both is significant.

The IRC, the main rating rule of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), has good compliance. ORCi, the Club’s secondary rating rule, is experiencing an increase in compliance charges and data errors. This undermines the integrity of the sport of sailing, racing and the Club.

The reputational risk of continuing to have two rating rules and having additional compliance problems is too great. Action is needed to protect competitors, the Club and its regattas.

CYCA switches to a single rating system because:

– It is too complicated and costly for shipowners to comply with two different systems.

– The only way to reduce future compliance problems and related media controversy is to move to a single rule.

The single rule must be IRC:

-Because the current CYCA fleet is optimized for IRC and IRC should be the rule by which it consolidates at this stage.

– Consolidation into a single fee system simplifies administration, costs, and compliance burden for competitors.

– It enhances the experience of the “audience” as well, with clarity about who is winning. And it significantly reduces the risk of damage to the reputation of competitors, the Club and its regattas.

This decision in no way diminishes the importance of the Ocean Racing Congress (ORC) and ORCi since this will continue to be one of the two avenues by which a boat can prove it has the stability requirements to take part in the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

  1. Here is the link to the ORC website

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