IRC – Growth and Continental Championships

IRC is having its most successful season yet. By 31 August, 6742 boats held current IRC certificates, 20% up on a year earlier and already more than in the whole of 2006. Growth was not confined to ‘new’ IRC countries such as Argentina, Germany, Greece, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand and Uruguay. A number of well established IRC countries are also seeing significant growth, especially Australia and the United Kingdom.

At the Annual meeting of the IRC Congress, held this year in Chania, Greece, it was decide to formalise the arrangements for holding Continental and International Regional Championships, for example a Mediterranean Championship. Organising Authorities wishing to run a Continental or International Regional Championship should apply to the IRC Committee for approval. Applications can be submitted through the RORC Rating Office at info@rorcrating.com or the UNCL Centre de Calcul at irc@uncl.com. National and local IRC Championships have been held in various countries for some years and it was confirmed that these can be approved by the local National IRC Owners Association.

The IRC Congress is open to delegates representing countries with at least 25 IRC-rated boats. 22 countries are now eligible and observers are also welcome.

Delegates considered a number of changes in the IRC rules, proposed by the IRC Technical Committee and by National IRC Representatives. Details of those approved can be found, in English on www.rorcrating.com and in French on www.uncl.com. Delegates reported that in general competitors were satisfied that IRC gave fair ratings to an amazing variety of boats ranging from 70-year-old yachts to new, and from 6 metres to 50 metres. It was agreed that, when there were sufficient entrants it was better to divide into classes of similar speed and/or similar style. There were a few comments that certain designs are unfairly or too generously treated but it was interesting that often experience in another country or in different weather or in an earlier year, led to the opposite conclusion.

The system is kept up to date by changes to the published rules and by adjustments to the secret formulae. It was confirmed that the secret nature of the rule was one of its major advantages, since it makes it more difficult for designers to find and exploit loopholes and reduces their incentive to do so because they know that any loopholes which may be found will be quickly blocked. It is this secret element which has enabled the rule, founded over 20 years ago as Channel Handicap System, to continue to grow.

Paul King (United Kingdom) was re-elected as Chairman for a second three-year term. Malcolm Runnals (Australia) and Yannis Kontaxopoulos (Greece) were electeas Vice Chairmen. Alp Doguoglu (Turkey) was elected to the IRC Committee.

It was decided to hold the annual IRC Congress in 2008 in London.