An Introduction to IRC

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The Rating Rule for ALL

What is so great about it?

  • Rate your standard production cruiser/racer, classic or hi-tech racing yacht
  • Great racing inshore and offshore 
  • From small local events to major national trophies
  • Use the same rating in any event worldwide with an IRC class
  • No local handicap adjustments
  • Simple to calculate corrected time and position while on the water
  • Single number, time-on-time rating (TCC) 
  • Calculated from basic boat data and configuration details
  • Physical weighing and measurement by your local IRC measurer, if required
  • Ability to run trial ratings to test effect of proposed changes
  • Simple to amend rated data during the year
  • Progressive approach to the rating of technical developments
  • Allowances for full fitout and cruising features

OK, but please can you explain the basics...?

IRC is a rating rule
IRC is a rating rule to handicap different designs of keelboats allowing them to race together; unlike a performance handicap a rating is not altered between races according to the individual boat's performance, but is based on the physical measurements of the boat. 

Each boat’s rating (her ‘handicap’) is calculated using measurements of the boat; her length, weight, draft, rig size, sail area, and specific characteristics and features. The resulting time corrector, the boat’s ‘TCC’, is her handicap. The higher the TCC figure, the faster the boat's potential speed; IRC TCCs range from 0.750 to 1.900, with the majority of cruiser/racers between 0.900 and 1.100.

After a race, each boat’s elapsed time (the time she has taken to complete the course) is multiplied by her TCC to calculate her corrected time (her race time making allowance for the characteristics of the boat). The boat with the shortest corrected time is the winner of the race.

IRC is for keelboats of all size and shapes
IRC is aimed at a very wide range of keelboats of all sizes and shapes including modern production cruisers and cruiser/racers through dedicated one-off race boats, older cruisers and racers to classic yachts and superyachts. IRC is continually developed to encompass new developments in both cruisers and racers while at the same time protecting the interests of the bulk of the fleet.

IRC is a permissive rule
It is open to all types, sizes and ages of boats. IRC permits features such as asymmetric spinnakers, bowsprits, twin, triple, wing and drop keels, twin masts, gaff rigs, water ballast, canting keels, ‘code zero’ headsails, lateral daggerboards etc., and deals with these features as equitably as possible.

IRC is an unpublished rule
The methods and formulae used for the calculation of IRC TCCs are not published. This prevents designers taking advantage of the rule when designing new boats and very substantially increases the competitive lifetime of IRC rated boats. As a result, boats of all ages and types win races under IRC. Everything from classics through IOR designs to modern cruisers, cruiser/racers, and racers.

IRC is a simple rule
IRC is structured to be as simple as possible for both sailors and race administrators: there is no requirement for boats to be officially measured (unless required in individual countries). IRC accepts owner declaration of a boat’s measurements. All an owner needs to do is fill in the application form and send it to us. There is the option of an 'Endorsed' certificate, for which the data has been audited which may include official weighing and measurement.

IRC is popular
IRC is used for a huge number of races and regattas all over the world, and it would be impossible to list them all!   As a taster, apart from local club races IRC is used at (among many others) well known events such as: JPMAM Round the Island Race, AAM Cowes Week, Rolex Fastnet Race, Cork Week, Voiles de St Tropez, Rolex Big Boat Series, Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Rolex China Sea Race, Singapore Straits, Phuket King's Cup, Newport Bermuda Race, Spi Ouest France, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, Block Island Race Week and the RORC's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. (Event sponsors as at June 2013). 

Last year nearly 7000 boats in 30+ countries on all 6 continents held IRC certificates.

All the technical information needed to apply for an IRC certificate can be found on this website. Application forms are available from your local IRC Rule Authority.

FAQs

If you cannot find the answer to your question, please email webmaster@ircrating.org and I will reply to your question and add it to a new FAQs page. 
Jenny Howells, webmaster.
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