IRC - New Zealand allows Unendorsed Certificates

IRC Nationals 2008 Photo: RNZYS
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Boat owners will now be able to apply for an ‘unendorsed’ IRC certificate – one where they get a rating by simply measuring the boat themselves, saving on the time and expense of weighing and measurement by an official measurer.

The use of unendorsed certificates is very common in most other countries who have used IRC, and the decision to allow unendorsed certificates will help New Zealand’s IRC fleet grow by making the process substantially cheaper and easier for the owners.

The decision was made by the IRC Owners Association which is a group of boat owners committed to generating competitive racing for IRC boats throughout the country. The Association hopes to get an increase in smaller boats using the rating rule so that divisions can be created based on boat length, which will give fairer and more rewarding racing.

The IRC Owners Association says that as a measurement based rule it rewards boat preparation and sailing ability and not rewarding mediocrity. The IRC Owners Association are committed to seeing it succeed in New Zealand and supporting the many yacht owners who have an IRC certificate.

The 2009/2010 IRC Racing Calendar is currently being planned with the National Championships being held during the Line 7 Regatta in Wellington. There will also be IRC divisions in the Auckland to Noumea race and Around North Island Race. The IRC 2009/2010 calendar will be published shortly.

IRC Nationals 2008 Photo: RNZYS
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2010 IRC Nationals Venue & Dates Announced

Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club has been awarded the 2010 IRC Nationals which will be run conjunction with the Line 7 Regatta from 12th – 14th February 2010. The Line 7 Regatta will be part of the stop over for the fully crewed Round North Island Race.

The IRC Nationals will be run in two divisions starting 5 minutes apart sailing same course. Courses will be a combination of windward leeward, triangles and harbour courses

IRC works well at club racing level

Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington was one of the early adopters of IRC and over the last three seasons it has generally worked well for the club. Because IRC is a rating rule not a performance based handicap RPNYC use it as the “top end” system.

IRC Nationals 2008 Photo: RNZYS
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The RPNYC fleet races in three divisions...

Div 1 ranges from Davidson 55 – Young 11 – Ross 10.6 - Thompson 30. - MRX
Div 2 includes Farr 1020 - Ross 930 – Young 88’s - Mull 9.5’s
Presidents Div – predominantly cruising boats

Results for Divisions 1 & 2 are calculated using IRC, PHRF and General handicap. RPNYC awards race prizes, series prizes and season championships for results under IRC, PHRF and General Handicap.

Those boats that are rated under IRC enjoy close racing on corrected time, with boats separated on corrected time by very small margins. On any given day, the winner on IRC could be a Davidson 55, Young 11, Farr MRX, Davidson 35, Warwick 10.6 Farr 1020 or Young 88.

Mike Urwin Visit

Mike Urwin – Technical Director, RORC Rating Office visited Auckland and Wellington in early May to talk to local sailors about the IRC rating system. Mike commented that the New Zealand fleet included some boats by local designers such as Elliott, Thompson and Ross that were significantly lighter in displacement than the typical European IRC fleet.

Based on the weight and hull measurements, the rating office tended to view these boats as more racer than racer/cruiser. But when he looked at the interior of some of these boats which are fitted out for cruising, he conceded that perhaps there was some room for latitude in the interpretation of racer/cruiser as it applied to NZ boats and that hull factor might improve, resulting in a corresponding reduction in the IRC TCC. So it’s important that owners/measurers submit photos of the interior to clearly identify cruising accommodations such as ovens, fridges, tanks etc rather than RORC drawing the conclusion that these boats are stripped out race boats.

Mike suggested that the other areas to look at are rig configuration. Many of the New Zealand fleet have “tweaky” rigs with small mast sections, triple spreaders, jumpers, runners and check stays. If you are getting measurable performance benefits your rig stick with it. But if not then consider removing the check stays, runners and jumpers. Each change might be worth 0.003 off your IRC TCC.

Mike also recommended that sails are re-measured regularly. Why? Because they will have almost certainly shrunk and you might find that you can take a drop in rating simply by re-measuring them. A quick check of the luff length (LL on your IRC Certificate) and the cross width (LP) compared to the measurements on the copy of the IRC certificate kept onboard will confirm if the sail has shrunk. A check with the rating office might result in a drop of 0.002 in your IRC TCC. Similar checks to the mainsail foot and hoists might reveal similar reductions, since sail area is one of the big factors in IRC.

Sail selection is another area that can have a big impact on the IRC TCC. Boats in Auckland should probably measure their biggest sails, whereas boats in windy Wellington should probably measure smaller headsails and fractional spinnakers.