A Strangely Silent US-IRC
By Kimball Livingston, West Coast Editor
How long has it been since anybody answered the phone at US-IRC? Maybe you know something I don't, but my personal count is over a month, and yes, I left messages.
Having waved the flag for IRC a time or two, and being of the opinion that racing in the USA is better off with IRC, I'm a bit perturbed at the lack of obvious momentum.
No, we don't expect the ranks of IRC-rated boats to continue growing as rapidly as they did when the rule was introduced, but it's not a good sign to go to
US-IRC.org three months into 2007 and see the web site touting IRC Rules for 2006 Explained, or 2006 Acura Key West, 2006 Acura Miami, 2006 Bayview Mackinac, 2005 Annapolis to Newport, 2005 Rolex Big Boat Series, 2005 Marblehead to Halifax . . .
You get the idea.
There's also the 2007 Gulf Stream Series on the home page, but those announcements were posted in fall, 2006.
It's not easy keeping up with these things from my cabana here on the California strand. But if, as I hear it from my friends on the Mysterious East Coast, Barry Carroll resigned from the US-IRC Management Committee a while back, wouldn't it be better to say so rather than leave it to the street to spread the word? And if not, answer the phone?
Frankly, it's unclear what the situation is. Good ole quotable Barry, who has put in great spurts of energy while working for free, is off in Argentina at the moment. Rich du Moulin, who has organized the IRC Owners' Committee and hosted its first, recent, meetings is sailing the Cabo Race. And Dan Nowlan, US Sailing, was out of the office but returned my call from his mobile and said, "I'm well aware there are rumors flying around, but in every owners' meeting I've been part of, Barry Carroll was a major player."
IRC in the USA is now administered through US Sailing in its "rule-agnostic" mode, which does have up-to-date IRC info on-site, including interim rulings on the "spinoa" debate, so it's not as though IRC has been abandoned. It's just that I have it in my mind that IRC will need more than US Sailing to make it fly.
So, I'll hope that du Moulin will emerge from deepest Baja with a report that things are much better than they appear on the surface. And on that optimistic note, I'll leave you with this view of IRC racing in 2006. Stand by . . .