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primary certificate in a short-handed race. However, a boat NOT holding a short-handed certificate may enter a short-handed race using a primary certificate. Any boat holding a short-handed certificate will appear twice in IRC rating lists, with the short-handed TCC clearly identified.

2.10 Protest limits

IRC Rules 9 and 10 address rating reviews and protests. Linked to these, Rule 11.1 permits a Race Committee to amend Rule 9.6. A suitable instruction would be:

Notice of Race:

x.0 IRC Rules 9.6 is amended to the extent that 0.005 is reduced to 0.00x.

In the event of a rating or measurement protest, protest committees needing guidance are encouraged to contact the IRC Rating Authority. See also Section 4 below regarding Equipment Inspection at events.

8.10 specifically lists data which are maxima or minima. If data on a boat is found to exceed a maximum value or to be less than a minimum value, then she does not comply with her certificate.

5. Courses

With the ever-increasing range of boat types racing under IRC, it is inevitable that courses and conditions will affect race results. Race Committees can minimise these effects by considering carefully the types of courses set. Conditions are beyond the control of a Race Committee, but even so course location may be significant.

There has been much discussion in recent years concerning the dominance of windward-leeward courses. The IRC Technical Committee considers that if all races were windward-leeward, designers would inevitably optimise designs for this style of racing, e.g. heavy, narrow designs with poor reaching performance. Noting also that a balance of course types is a fundamental part of fair yacht racing, it is strongly recommended that Race Committees should set a variety of courses. Some of the issues that a Race Committee might then consider are:

Course Type. Courses without a downwind leg and with only reaching legs will inevitably favour bowsprit-rigged boats and lighter boats generally. Conversely, all downwind legs will favour boats with conventional spinnaker poles and the heavier boats. Including both types of course will give everybody a chance on their day, but over a series a balanced range of courses should be provided wherever possible.

Photo: RORC/Paul Wyeth 2.11 Sail Limitations

The limitations on sails carried and/or used are defined by IRC Rule 21.1.5. While Rule 11.1 permits an Organising Authority to amend this, amendments are not recommended except in very specific circumstances.

It is however a good idea to clarify whether or not Rules 21.1.5 (d) and (e), which address regattas run on consecutive days, will apply. Suitable text might read:

Notice of Race:

x.0 For the purpose of IRC Rules 21.1.5 (d) and (e) this regatta is [is not] on consecutive days and the sails carried shall [shall not] remain the same.

2.12 Excluded Scores (Discards)

Allowing too many excluded scores (ref. RRS A2) in a series can lead to distortions in the overall result. For instance, if a particular boat is very competitive in a specific range of conditions and uncompetitive in other conditions, and she has the opportunity to exclude scores from all those races outside her conditions, this may produce a result which does not properly reflect her overall performance relative to others in the fleet. This should be considered when deciding on the appropriate number of excluded scores for an event or series.

2.13 Safety and Stability Screening

The IRC website includes full details of the screening of boats for races.

3. 4. Measurement

For event organisers requiring it (e.g. for Equipment Inspection) the IRC Measurement Manual is available on

Policing and Equipment Inspection

Please see for advice on Equipment Inspection (check measurement) at events.

Note that Rule 9 Rating Reviews, and specifically the stated data limits, does not apply to Equipment Inspection (i.e. check measurement) at an event. Rule

Current. Upwind legs against a tidal current will tend to favour faster, more windward-oriented designs and vice versa. As an extreme example, an all downwind, down-current course will almost inevitably produce a winner from the small, slow end of the fleet. When possible, selecting courses to minimise these effects will produce more equitable results generally.

A second issue with tidal current is that boats will inevitably try to minimise (or maximise as appropriate) current effects. This becomes particularly relevant when there are current gradients across a course and boats are trying to get out of a foul current. Unless the shoreline is very steep-to, the smaller (shallower draft) boats will be able to do this more effectively.

In these circumstances, it can be worth considering either moving the whole course away from the shore so that everybody is in the full current all the time, or including a series of passing marks to force boats into the current.

Weather Conditions. No Race Committee can influence the weather! They can however influence where the course is positioned. If it is particularly rough, larger heavier boats will be favoured upwind. So if a series features a number of heavy air races, it might if possible be worth considering a less exposed course area for some races. Similarly, very constricted course areas (narrow channels for instance), particularly in light airs, will favour the lighter and more nimble boats in the fleet.

6. Dual Scoring

Dual scoring with a handicap rule is possible and encouraged. As an example, in Ireland the Irish Sailing Association recommends that, whenever possible, club races should be dual scored under both ECHO (the ISA’s personal performance handicap rule) and IRC, when boats hold both. The logic of this is that a personal handicap facilitates entry into racing for the less experienced sailors. It enables them to compete against, and gauge their performance against, the more experienced sailors, while at the same time offering parallel IRC results for the latter group.

The IRC Congress endorses this policy and recommends that whenever possible dual scoring should be adopted.

Rather than splitting fleets into IRC and performance handicap for club racing, clubs are strongly recommended to race all boats together, split into classes as appropriate, and to dual score under both IRC and performance handicap.

In GBR and some other countries, now that the RYA’s National Handicap for Cruisers (NHC) is becoming established, it is recommended that club races are dual scored under IRC and NHC. Further advice is available from the Rating Office for clubs adopting this policy.

To find out more about SSS or STIX, AVS and Design Category, or to apply for:

▲ Inclusion of Notified Body STIX and AVS Data on a boat’s IRC certificate ▲ Calculation of IRC STIX and inclusion on a boat’s IRC certificate ▲ Inclusion of designer-calculated STIX, AVS, and Design Category on a boat’s IRC certificate

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