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the ‘Dayboat’ designation also had an effect on the calculation of the rating, but that is no longer the case and only the presence (or not) of OSR lifelines is now relevant to the TCC.

Two years ago the IRC Technical Committee introduced a minimum hull length of 10m to the Dayboat definition, as it not realistic to label larger classic cruisers or historic racing yachts as ‘Dayboats’. They have now gone further and removed the label ‘Dayboat’ from IRC altogether. The reasons for this are several: a) it is not IRC’s place to judge OSR compliance based only on owner declaration; b) if a boat is not classed in IRC as a ‘Dayboat’ it may be misleading and suggest it complies with OSR; c) a boat may comply with OSR for some events and not others.

It is also inappropriate that IRC should specify safety equipment as in Rule 24, as that is a matter for an Organising Authority. With the removal, several years ago, of adjustment to the SSS base number for OSR compliance, this latest decision clarifies that the issue of an IRC certificate is entirely independent of compliance with OSR.

If there is one IRC topic that is sure to make for talk at the bar about conspiracy theories it is Hull Factor. When CHS was first introduced, Hull Factor (HF) was entered in 0.5 increments and depended on the general type of boat and appendages. In those days the CHS racing fleet was far less varied; today the Rule rates everything from 19th Century classics to boats sprouting foils at every angle. Some years ago, it was felt necessary to reduce the HF increments to 0.1, to be able to take account of greater differences between boats.

In 2017 Hull Factors for the IRC fleet ranged from 4.3 for a 1924 West Solent One Design up to 15.5 for Maverick, the Infiniti 46 with her Dynamic Stability Systems (DSS), with 75% of the fleet lying between 7.0 and 10.0. The change to Rule 22.2.1 is actually well overdue, as I am reliably informed that the Rating Office and UNCL Centre de Calcul have long been using an objective series of inputs to calculate the final HF that appears on the certificate, and there is very little leeway for adjustment unless there is a mistake in one of the inputs that come from the rating application. Over to you in the yacht club bar!


his year’s Congress looked at a number of important Rule changes which are listed in greater detail in this Yearbook. One of the more fundamental changes concerns Dayboats. Up until now, IRC and its predecessor CHS have included a definition of a Dayboat as a boat that cannot comply with Offshore Special Regulations (OSR) 0-4, and Rule 24 stipulated a minimum self-righting angle and items that IRC Dayboats must carry aboard.

In the majority of cases, boats have been designated as a Dayboat because they do not have OSR compliant lifelines, which may apply to any size of boat from an 8m Cork 1720 to a 40m J Class yacht. In previous incarnations of IRC,

IRC Rule changes for 2018 – a summary

▲ In Rule 21.5 the ‘default’ values for mainsail widths have been deleted as this was inconsistent with the Rule on headsails.

▲ The Dayboat Definition and Rule 24 have been deleted, as IRC cannot and should not judge OSR compliance.

▲ The final sentence of Rule 8.2.1 has been corrected to reflect the intention of the Rule on short- handed certificates.

▲ Rule 13.2 has been changed in accordance with IRC Notice 2017-01, relating to sail measurement batten length.

▲ Rule 17.1 now clarifies that cushions are only relevant to measurement condition if carried aboard while racing.

▲ Rule 21.2.1 (Rig Factor) and 22.2.1 (Hull Factor) have been updated to reflect actual practice.

▲ Definitions have been added for the measurement of lifting foils, to reflect the increased use of these and development of how they are rated.

▲ Other changes are: deletion of the IRC Headsail Head Point definition as this is now identically defined in ERS; a correction to the Advertising Code reference in Rule 26.1; and confirmation that in Southern Hemisphere countries the new IRC Rule does not come into force until June 2018 (the exception is Rule 13.2 as Notice 2017-01 applied with immediate effect from May 2017).



See the Notes for Race Organisers on page 58 for advice on Rules to include in your Notice of Race, and other guidance such as how to split a fleet and the importance of setting a variety of course types.

The RORC Rating Office and UNCL Centre de Calcul have a mammoth task in devising and keeping current a rating system that covers the entire IRC fleet, which ranges from 5m LOA up to the superyachts over 50m. In the words of Sir Peter Johnson, the doyen of rating systems, no rule is “fair”, nor is it trying to be perfect, but is it “practical and acceptable”? I think we would all agree that the experts produce a rule that allows us to enjoy our racing.

In the same vein, please don’t use the word ‘handicap’ when talking about IRC. Handicaps are what you bet on in horse racing, and include a jockey’s form. ‘Rating’ is what we use in IRC to assess a boat’s potential performance – the ability (or lack of ability) of the helmsman and crew is not included!

Peter Wykeham-Martin Chairman, IRC Congress

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