What is IRC?

The yacht Rating Rule for all

  • 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

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 2.000, 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: Round the Island Race (UK), Cowes Week, Rolex Fastnet Race, Volvo Cork Week, RORC Caribbean 600, Voiles de St Tropez, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Japan Cup, Hamilton Island Race Week, Rolex China Sea Race,  Phuket King’s Cup, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Spi Ouest France, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, Half Ton Classics Cup, Quarter Ton Cup, Marmaris Week, Australian Yachting Championships, RORC Transatlantic Race, Brisbane to Gladstone Race, IRC European Championship, Aegean 600, RORC Baltic 600, Australian Maxi Championship; and various national championships. (Event sponsors correct at publication date).

There are boats in 40 countries on all 6 continents racing under IRC.

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.

See also

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