IRC Gains Traction in the U.S.

If you race sailboats in the U.S., you have no doubt witnessed a parade of rating-rule acronyms in the past decade: IMS, Americap, PHRF. Now there’s a new contender in the alphabet-soup rating-rule game. IRC has been used widely in the U.K. and Europe for years, but it was introduced in the U.S. only a couple of years ago. So far the transition has been fairly smooth, with almost 600 IRC certificates issued thus far. Globally, roughly 6,800 IRC certificates have been issued in some 22 countries, with the U.K. commanding the highest total number (almost 1,850), followed by France (850+). Unlike other rating rules that typically favor one-off racers, IRC considers factors like “style” (e.g., cabins that do not define the word “spartan”), making it possible for cruiser/racers to do well under this handicap system. While the U.S. is lagging behind its European counterparts when it comes to total numbers, this system holds promise for owners of cruiser/racers who are interested in becoming more involved with the racing scene. —David Schmidt

Posted: January 15, 2008

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