In the first two months of this year over 1300 new IRC 2023 certificates have been issued to boats from 24 different countries, with a further 600 boats in 11 countries continuing to race in the southern hemisphere season under IRC 2022, who will revalidate at the beginning of June.
The start to the year has therefore been busy for the IRC Rating Offices in Lymington, UK and Paris, France. IRC certificates are not issued automatically to allow the owner to confirm their data annually, each one is processed on application and declaration of any changes is individually checked by the experienced technical team.
IRC is an inclusive rating rule used for both inshore and offshore racing on six continents. The currently rated fleet encompasses a huge variety of boats of all ages, shapes, and sizes. While cruiser/racers make up the majority of the fleet there are also dayboats, classic yachts, custom race boats and sportsboats enjoying regular racing. Among the currently rated boats, the lowest rated is the Devon Yawl “Eider Duck” (TCC 0.769) with the other end of the scale being the VPLP Supermaxi “Andoo Comanche” (TCC 2.047).
Jason Smithwick, Director of IRC, explains, “The IRC rating rule is used for nearly all the world’s most prestigious yacht races including the Rolex Fastnet in 2023 which is the world’s biggest offshore race. Over 500 boats are expected to be racing in IRC where the latest designs of racing boats, including the Supermaxis, will compete, but the data shows that IRC is not just for the hi-tech speed machines that are competing for line honours as well as corrected time. 70% of the current IRC certificates are for boats of 12 metres or less: the forty-foot passionate cruiser/racers are the beating heart of IRC and we enjoy looking after these boats with the same meticulous service as the rest of the IRC fleet.”
IRC data shows 66% of the boats racing in IRC are over ten years old, and a fundamental principle of the Rule is to protect the majority of the fleet while also embracing technical development and supporting new designs. IRC aims to promote the competitive longevity of race boats, which also helps to protect the environment.
Image Credit: Patric Roach & Tim Wright